By Matt Nestor
Most observers were certain the NIC-10 would take home at least one championship at the IHSA State Wrestling individual tournament.
This was not going out on too much of a limb, seeing as how wrestlers like Harlem’s Derek Elmore and Sterling Hecox and Boylan’s Blaise Butler were viewed as the tops in their class.
None of those wrestlers was able to take home a title. But the NIC-10 did win a championship, with Hononegah’s Matt Dwyer taking home the title at 215 pounds, great preparation for the Indians, who also hope to win a team title.
Dwyer, a senior, was certainly one of the top wrestlers in his class, but he was not the favorite. In the first round, he topped Rob Bain of Bolingbrook and then knocked off Laquan Hightower from O.P. River Forest.
After topping Schaumburg sophomore Josh Marchok in the semifinals, Dwyer prepared for the favorite, Dan Kiebler, of Franklin Park.
Kiebler, also a senior, was 33-1 on the season and also finished in fourth place in the same weight class the previous year. Dwyer won a tight match, however, winning a 6-5 division to win the title.
Huskies senior Hecox, wrestling at 189 pounds, also gave a great performance. He cruised to the finals, where he met Fox Lake senior Lee Munster. Both wrestlers had only lost once all year, but Hecox came up on the short end of a 5-2 decision to finish second in the class.
Josh Anthony of Harlem also had a strong showing, giving undefeated Steve Congenie of Villa Park his toughest match of the tournament before losing. Congenie ended up winning the 152-pound weight class, but Anthony did finish in third.
For Boylan’s Butler and Harlem’s Elmore, the tournament did not go as planned. Both entered the tournament as the favorite in their weight class before they fell to the eventual champions along the way.
Butler defeated Sean Kenny of Minooka to win fifth place in the 135-pound weight class, while Elmore beat Frankie Campos of Bolingbrook to win fifth at 112 pounds. Colin Dodd of Hononegah also finished sixth at 119 pounds.
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From the Feb. 24-Mar. 2, 2010 issue