PARK FOREST – The Morris wrestling team got regional championships from Robby Bates (195) and Bryce Claypool (145) on Saturday at the Class 2A Rich East Regional.
Bates, a senior, improved to his record by 33-1 by pinning Joliet Catholic Academy's Aidan Watkins in 1:50 in the semifinal match and pinning Julian Imoniruwe of Rich East in the title bout.
"This was my third step toward winning a state title after winning the Illini Classic and a conference championship," Bates said. "My goal is to win a state championship, nothing less. I got sixth last year at state so I got a taste of what it means to be a state champ. Now this year, I want to win it all with nothing short of that. Sectionals will be very tough, but I know I have the mindset to go on and win there in order to complete my dream."
Claypool, a junior, upped his mark to 27-9, beating JCA's Jacob Mumm by fall in 5:42 in the semifinal and getting in pin in 1:50 over Rich East's Dacell Velez Rey in the title match.
"I just went out there today and I didn't care who anybody was because all I wanted to do was win a regional championship for my team and move on to sectionals," Claypool said. "I'm really pumped up seeing that this is my first regional title and I'm anticipating a first round bye next weekend at Rochelle, so I hope that sets me up for another strong performance that can get me to state."
Also advancing to this weekend's Rochelle Sectional for Morris were Bobby Griffin (2nd, 170), Nolan Washburn (3rd, 113), and Julian Gonzalez (3rd, 132).
Class 1A Wilmington Regional: Coal City won the team title and advanced 12 wrestlers to this weekend's Chicago Bowen Sectional. Winning titles for the Coalers were Evan Rivera (106), Zach Finch (126), Lane Kutemeier (132), Connor Huston (138), David Papach (160), Ashton Harvey (170), Daniel Jezik (195), Gage Leake (220), and Logan Miller (285). Taking second were Mataeo Blessing (113), Gabe Ludes (145), and Dane Dearth (182).
Class 1A Plano Regional: Seneca advanced 10 wrestlers to the Oregon Sectional. Joey Hatz was the lone title winner for the Irish at 152, while Luke Sangston (106), Jaden Casey (113), Ben Virgo (120), Owen Feiner (126), Isaac Marques (160), Gavin Robertson (170), Nathan Elliott (195), and Gavin Mason (220) all took second. Brett Yegge (138) finished third.
Class 3A Moline Regional: Minooka won the team title and advanced 10 wrestlers to the Quincy Sectional. Indian champions were Michael Carey (126), Jack McClimon (152) and Drew Gutknecht (220). Taking second for Minooka were Joe Cecala (113), Michael Ruettiger (132), Jake Mensik (145), Anthony Sartori (160), Donald Dorich (170) and Jake Shipla (285), while Nathan Berta (120) finished third.
Joliet Central Regional: Minooka won the team title with a six-game score of 6,146, while Morris was third with 5,531. Both teams advance to Saturday's Plainfield North Sectional. Scoring for Minooka were junior Kiara Backstrom (1,292), senior Alyssa Ritchie (1,283), sophomore Bri Gillson (1,212), junior Jenna Newton (1,184), and junior Megan Gillson (1,175). Leading the way for Morris were senior Angel Heck (1,216), senior Hannah Barth (1,127), senior Meganne Johnson (1,102), junior Kaileah Sasser (1,101), and senior Jennifer Arteaga (985).
Sandwich 56, Morris 41: Colin Cummings led Morris (11-12, 4-6) with 15 points in the Interstate Eight Conference loss, while Jack Walker had 13 points and Barry Amiano had seven points and took a charge.
Southwest Prairie Conference: Morris finished seventh at the championships Saturday at Oswego East. Top finishers for the Redskins were Cameron James and Hershcel Su. James finished on the podium with a sixth place in the 100-meter freestyle (51.57) and an eighth in the 100 breastroke (1:06.46). Su also got on the podium in the 50 freestyle (24.15).