WRESTLING: Bradley-Bourbonnais sends three wrestlers to sectionals
BRADLEY — The progress of Bradley-Bourbonnais wrestling came full circle on Saturday as it hosted a Class 3A Regional.
Although they didn’t have as much success as they might have liked, the Boilers still walked away with two regional champions, as Austin Spacht (113) and Anthony Mancilla (120) stood atop their respective weight classes.
“Two years ago, we had no qualifiers and only won five matches all season,” Bradley-Bourbonnais coach Mike Spiwak said. “Just between those two guys, they won five matches today. It’s nice that a seventh of the weight classes is represented by us. This is huge for the program.”
Spacht won his matchup in convincing fashion, defeating Johnny Burks from Lincoln-Way West by a 9-0 decision.
“I’ve wrestled him ever since seventh grade, so I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Spacht said. “He knows my best moves and vice versa, but I think I just performed better than he did.”
For Spacht, it marks his 22nd pinfall victory of the season. Being a regional champion is something he’s proud of, but he has bigger goals in mind.
“I knew I already qualified for sectionals, but winning regional was pretty cool,” Spacht said. “I just wrestled the match the best I could and let whatever was going to happen happen. But now, it’s on to next week and getting ready for stiffer competition. As long as I keep doing what I do, I think I have a good shot at winning state.”
For Mancilla, his match came down to the wire against Andrew Burkeybile, of Moline.
Mancilla scored a takedown for a 2-0 lead before an escape made it 2-1.
He scored another takedown in the third round before another escape made it 4-2.
“I knew that as long as I kept moving, I was going to win that match,” Mancilla said. “I kept telling myself that I had to give it everything I had. I didn’t want to look back once the match was over and think that I could have done more. I just had to keep pushing myself.”
After the referee called a stalemate with 25 seconds left, Mancilla dialed in and held off to claim the crown.
“It’s a great feeling,” Mancilla said. “I got a boost of confidence watching Austin’s match just before and seeing him win. It felt awesome to win; I did it for my family and my team.”
However, they weren’t the only ones to advance to sectionals.
Trevor Conroy found himself in a third-place match at 145 against Normal’s Anderson Ryan. Conroy said the match was over before it started.
“I was staring at the kid before the match, and I could easily tell he was a little scared,” Conroy said. “Right there, that gave me confidence. I thought about all the hard work I’ve put in, and I told myself that there was no way this kid has worked harder than I have. I wasn’t going to let him win.”
Conroy was proven right, as he pitched a shutout with a 6-0 victory and moved on.
“It’s my senior year, so I had to go all out,” Conroy said. “I’ve never made it out of regionals before, so I’m pretty pumped. Usually, I’ve messed up in someway that stopped me, but it’s on to sectionals, and I’m excited.”
Spacht, Mancilla and Conway advance to Joliet Central for a Class 3A sectional Saturday.