WIN’s Dec. 5 High School Notebook

Updated: December 5, 2012

By Rob Sherrill

Over the winter season, WIN’s long-time high school editor Rob Sherrill will be providing a weekly update on the high school wrestling scene.

One in five ranked wrestlers competing in Ironman

Of the 280 ranked high school wrestlers in the Nov. 28 issue of WIN, just over one in five — 57 — are in the field in the Walsh Ironman Invitational at Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, this weekend.

Zahid Valencia, top ranked by WIN at 113 pounds after beating Charles Tucker of New Jersey in last summer’s Cadet National freestyle final, will be in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio this weekend for the Walsh Ironman.

Six of the 57 are ranked No. 1 at their weight classes: Zahid Valencia (113) of Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, Nathan Tomasello (120) of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy — which is located just across the street from Walsh Jesuit — Zain Retherford (138) of Benton (Pa.), Bo Jordan (160) of St. Paris (Ohio) Graham, Domenic Abounader (182) of Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward and Kyle Snyder (220) of Olney (Md.) Good Counsel.

Jordan is part of a 160-pound class which is loaded at the top. No. 2 Israel Martinez of Lemoore (Calif.) and No. 3 Josh Llopez of Leonardtown (Md.) St. Mary’s Ryken could square off in a great semifinal to meet Jordan in the final. It would be their second meeting in six weeks. Martinez scored a 9-4 victory in the finals of the Super 32 in October.

The weight classes with the most ranked wrestlers: 152 and 182, each with seven. The 138-pound weight class has six. All have at least three except 195 and 285.

 All he does is catch touchdowns…

That’s what they said about Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter.

They may be saying the same thing about another football player who roams the gridiron in the same city in which Carter played: double Cadet Nationals champion Lance Benick.

Lance Benick, who pinned Landon Peliham of Michigan in 40 seconds during their 2012 Junior National Greco final at 195 pounds last summer, spent this past fall leading Totino Grace High School to a Minnesota state football championship.

Benick’s high school, Fridley Totino Grace in Minneapolis, completed a 13-0 season and won the Class 5A state title, its seventh state crown since 2003. Benick, a sophomore tight end, opened the scoring in the Eagles’ 49-21 state championship victory over Owatonna by hauling in a 32-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback A.J. LaPanta. It was Benick’s only reception of the game, but it sparked the Eagles to a 42-7 lead after three quarters.

In the state semifinals the previous week, Benick caught a 54-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, sealing Totino Grace’s 23-0 victory over Bemidji. Once again it was Benick’s only catch of the game.

Now Benick will turn his attention to winning a second straight Class 2A state wrestling title at 195. He won at 182 last year.

Illinois heavyweights meet early

Chicago Marist, which began the season ranked No. 14, already has two losses. Does this remove the Redhawks from Top 25 consideration? Hardly.

In the ultimate match of the Marist Thanskgiving Duals Nov. 24, Oak Park-River Forest, which started the season No. 3, got a pin from freshman Kamal Bey (160) to clinch a 26-25 victory. The match, which ended in a 7-7 split, produced more than a six-point difference only once — on Andre Lee’s 7-5 overtime victory over state placewinner Josh Pruitt at 195, which gave the Huskies a 6-0 lead — until Bey’s pin. Mark Duda’s 11-6 decision over Matt Rundell at 120 in a battle of state runners-up gave Marist its biggest lead, 13-9.

Last weekend, it was No. 10 Lombard Montini doing the honors, turning back Marist 31-27 en route to sweeping a quad at Chicago Mount Carmel. Cadet Nationals finalist Nick Lukanich (106) won to give Marist a 3-0 lead, but Montini won the next eight matches for a 28-3 cushion. Montini also beat Machesney Park Harlem, 38-24 and the host school, 49-18.