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Wrestling Wins Program's First City Title

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Taft wrestlers and coaches posing with their personal and team awards after Day 2 of the City Championships.

Taft wrestlers and coaches posing with their personal and team awards after Day 2 of the City Championships.

Taft wrestlers and coaches posing with their personal and team awards after Day 2 of the City Championships.

Alex Burstein, Reporter

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     Taft wrestling lived up to their motto showing “no mercy” en route to the program’s first city championship in school history.

     After qualifying all 14 wrestlers Saturday, the Eagles won the overall team championship and individual championships in three weight classes. Julian Valtierrez won at 106, Amarri Arguelles won at 113, and heavyweight Piotr Krupa brought home championships for Taft. The Eagles ended the day with a very impressive three first place finishers, three second place finishers, five third place finishers, and one 5th place finisher.

     “You know when we wrestle like that we can certainly contend for a regional title,” said Coach Brad Engel.

   Taft led in four of the five major team categories that were tracked: Most Pins Least Time, Most Pins/Tech Falls Least Time, Most Total Match Points, and Largest Speed-Place Difference. That is four of the five major categories, all controlled by Taft. Taft led all day including a 12.5 point lead after round 1 and a 100.5 poit lead before consolation finals.

     “I look forward to watching all of them. We have got so many young guys. We’re only losing three seniors from our starting lineup, so there is a lot to look forward to for the future of Taft,” said Coach Engel.

     The returning champions all hope to place in state going forward. Taft is going to keep on practicing with the city title belt under their name as they prepare for their next challenge, IHSA Regionals.

     After the big win, the team really feels as if they have a chance heading into regionals, sectionals, and state. The other three city champions feel the same way as well, hoping to bring home some individual and team accolades. All three of the champions, Krupa, Arguelles and Valtierrez had about the same thoughts, each wanting to do really well in regionals and sectionals to set up a path to possibly reach state individually.

The three city champions felt accomplished after winning.

“I felt really energetic and happy and I also felt like I had something to prove so I felt like I deserved it,” said Arguelles.

Saturday Feb. 3 the wrestling team had regionals where they took 3rd place overall.

“I think we wrestled well I think we wrestled about as well. I mean there was a couple of kids that I thought could’ve gotten through to sectionals. I think overall we needed some help from the other schools in beating Maine South and we didn’t get any. I think we did about as good as would’ve been expected. Would’ve been nice to see some guys step up but it wasn’t overall bad,” said Engel.

Every Coach hopes that all their members will advance to state, but it is not an easy accomplishment.

“The real measure is how many people we get to state because ultimately that’s the biggest thing we do. Try to send people to state. So this weekend is going to play a big role in that,” said Engel.

This past Saturday the wrestling team went on to IHSA sectional tournament where Piotr Krupa took 3rd place and advances to state championships.

Coach Engel and Piotr will be going to the University of Illinois for the state tournament.

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