By Marty Farmer
Oak Park and River Forest High School wrestler Eddie Bolivar extended an impressive Huskies' streak at the Class 3A Individual State Tournament. The Indiana-bound senior won the 132-pound weight class state title at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Saturday, making it the eighth straight individual state tourney that OPRF has produced at least one champion. Over the past decade, the Huskies have produced 18 individual state champs.
After a runner-up finish last season (16-1 tech fall loss against Montini's 3-time state champ Real Woods), Bolivar took the final step with a 7-5 decision victory against Libertyville's Danny Pucino in the title bout this weekend. Bolivar (43-3) won his other three matches by decisions, a pair of 8-3 scores against both Jake Harrier of Jacobs and Alex Lalezas of Mount Carmel. In the semifinals, Bolivar edged Montini's Dylan Burnoski 2-0.
The biggest news for OPRF other than Bolivar was the absence of Jake Rundell. The junior, who won a state championship last year at 106, was the top-ranked wrestler in the 113-pound class and the favorite to win another state title.
However, Rundell was hospitalized due to an infection. Although he is reportedly feeling better, his status is uncertain for wrestling in the IHSA Dual Team State Tournament, which begins with sectionals on Tuesday, Feb. 19 and ends with the state tourney on Saturday, Feb. 23.
In addition to Bolivar's stellar performance, five other OPRF grapplers medaled at state. Ashford Hollis (285-pound class) earned third, while Josh Ogunsanya (126) and Joe Chapman (152) both placed fourth in their respective classes. Nico Bolivar, Eddie's younger brother, took fifth at 120 and Daemyen Middlebrooks earned sixth at 182.
Hollis (37-6), also an OPRF football standout who will attend the Air Force Academy next fall, advanced to the semifinals with a pair of pins before dropping a 5-2 decision in the semifinals against Aydin Guttridge of Rockford East. Hollis bounced back by beating Plainfield South's Andrew Bejarano in a 5-2 decision to finish third.
With the exception of facing Anthony Molton (Lockport), Ogunsanya (35-8) won four matches including two pins in his bracket. However, Molton defeated Ogunsanya by decisions in the third-place match and quarterfinals.
Chapman (39-9) notched victories via a fall, major decision and decision en route to fourth place at 152. Chapman's effort marked an improvement from last year's sixth-place showing at state.
After losing his opening match, Nico Bolivar (42-9) showed his mettle by winning four of five bouts. Bolivar's most dramatic victory occurred against Danny Curran of DeKalb in the fifth-place match, a sudden victory at -1 (6-4).
Middlebrooks (33-12), another key contributor on the OPRF football team, took home his first state medal.
"I was thinking about the wrongs things going into state last season," Middlebrooks said. "This time, I tried to keep things simple and just focus on wrestling one match at a time."
The senior started strong at 182 with falls against Trevor Swier (Montini) and Jacob Cronk (Lincoln-Way West); however, he lost his remaining three bouts to come in sixth.
Torry Early (38-10) and Danny Lingen (20-9) also represented the Huskies at state. Early split four matches to finish eighth at 138 and Lingen lost both of his bouts at 170.
"I think as a team we performed great," Hollis said. "Placing six out of eight we brought (to state) was awesome. I am very excited to wrestle in the state team duals. I would love to end this season by showing everybody how well we can compete as a team."
Answer Book 2018
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