By Bob Balgemann


Two of the seven wrestlers Belvidere North sent to the Sterling sectional will move on to the state tournament in Champaign.

No Belvidere wrestler got out of the Sterling sectional. The same was true of the five North Boone competitors who reached the Byron sectional.

Blue Thunder senior Tyler Demo (18-1) marched into the sectional wrestling finals at 138 pounds, where he dropped a narrow 7-5 decision to Blaize Punke (14-2) of Washington. He opened with a 2:49 pin, and then won by a fall in just 51 seconds over Bryson Bergeron (33-5) of Peoria in the championship bracket semi-finals.

Junior Sean Lock (18-4) was awarded a first-round bye, and then reached the finals with a 1:52 pin and 7-4 decision. He lost in the championship match by a technical fall.

Overall, five of the seven North competitors qualifying for the sectional will be eligible to return next season.

Freshman Malakye Rodriguez finished his first year of varsity wrestling with a 24-9 record at 106 pounds. He was edged, 1-0, in the first round of the sectional, the lost another close one, 8-4, in the consolation bracket.

Sophomore Chris Jarka (19-13) dropped an 8-7 thriller in his opening match, and then was eliminated with a loss in the consolation bracket.

Another sophomore, Isaac Hernandez (22-17), went 0-2 at 126 pounds.

And junior Kent Myerson closed at 28-9 when he divided four matches at 145 pounds. He won his opening encounter, 10-0, and then fell by the same score in the championship bracket quarter-finals. He won his first bout in consolation competition, 10-7, but lost the next time out, 8-2.

The only other senior among sectional qualifiers was Caleb Blatchford, also 28-9. He pinned his first opponent in 5:46, then lost by decision in the championship quarter-finals. He lost his next match and was eliminated.

Belvidere sent four individuals to the sectional, with none of them advancing to state.

Senior Enrique Morales (24-13) split four matches at 170 pounds, winning by a 1:57 pin to start, the losing, then winning with another pin, this one in 5:36, before bowing out of the tournament, 8-0.

Another senior, Deon Roby, also went 2-2, at 220 pounds. He opened with a 3:39 pin, and then lost in the quarter-finals. After winning by a pin in 1:31, he lost his next consolation bracket match, 6-1.

Sophomore Glenn Winchel finished his season at 17-17 when he lost twice at 152 pounds. Junior Shamel Lesley (11-23) went 0-2 at 285 pounds.

For North Boone, seniors Kade Demann (25-5), Zach Westlund (25-6) and Paul Weiss (8-16), along with sophomore Ashtyn Gruner (3-20) and Tristan Schnulle competed in the sectional tournament.

Demann won his first match at 126 pounds, then lost his next two and was eliminated. Westlund went 2-2 at 132 pounds with his victories coming on a pin in four minutes even and a 5-3 decision.

Weiss, Schnulle, and Gruner all went 0-2 at 145, 152, and 160 pounds, respectively.

In girls bowling, Belvidere North’s string of appearances at the state bowling tournament came to an end with an eighth-place finish at the Belvidere sectional.

Belvidere North was led by junior Brynn Lambrecht with a 1,171 series, which put her in 27th place among individuals. The Lady Blue Thunder reached state in 2015 and 2016, finishing eighth last year.

Belvidere made another strong showing, but it wasn’t quite good enough to reach state. The Lady Bucs finished sixth in their sectional at Forest Hills Lanes in Loves Park. Their 5,525 series was just 20 pins shy of the last qualifying spot, fourth place.

Four of their bowlers were bunched in the final standings, within 80 pins of each other. Junior Holley Steelberg had a 1,191 series, good for 17th place among 98 bowlers. She was followed by junior Hailey Carter (1,139) in 33rd; sophomore Alexis Sherman (1,129) in 35th; and junior Hannah Lowery (1,111) in 44th.


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