Efficient Marist cruises to another ESCC title
Notre Dame senior Gino Orlandi (left) wrestles Nazareth junior Mike Moran in the 285 lb. heavyweight class of the East Suburban Catholic Conference 2012-2013 Varsity Wrestling Championship at Notre Dame College Prep in Niles on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 25, 2013 10:12PM
NILES — Marist’s dominance at the annual East Suburban Catholic Conference tournament continued on Friday, even though the Redhawks wrestled shorthanded.
Despite missing a pair of returning state place-winners in Mark Duda and David Kasper, the Redhawks sent all 12 of their wrestlers to the title mat and had six champions en route to winning their 31st ESCC team title in the last 33 years.
Marist posted a 226-164 edge in team points over second-place Notre Dame. St. Patrick placed third with 105 points.
“We’ve struggled to put back-to-back rounds together in tournaments this year, so that was a goal for us today,” Marist’s Pete Andreotti said. “Coach (Brendan Heffernan) challenged us to wrestle hard in both rounds, and I think we all wrestled really good.”
Andreotti (29-2) won his second ESCC title and was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler after posting a tech. fall win on the title mat at 160 pounds against a solid wrestler in host Notre Dame’s Joe Cortese (19-4).
Also winning titles for Marist were Nick Lukanich (106 pounds), Nick Gasbarro (126), Mario Leveille (132), Alex Benoit (170), and Tom Howell (220). Leveille and Benoit are also two-time ESCC champions.
The night’s only three-time conference champion was St. Patrick senior Steve Galliardo (37-0), who won the title at 138 pounds in a 9-7 decision against Marist’s Mat Sears.
“This is my third week down at 138, and I’m still adjusting to it, but (Sears) is a tough kid,” said Galliardo, who led 7-2 after two periods before Sears turned up the heat. “I feel a lot stronger at 138 and I’m ready for a tough regional and sectional.”
Also winning their second conference crowns were Notre Dame’s Roark Whittington (145) and Jimmy Gallardo (113), while teammate Sean Heneghan (152) used a third-period takedown to win a 3-2 title-mat decision over Marist’s Ken Condon.
“I like to think that I broke him and made him shoot a bad shot,” Heneghan joked. “I blocked, spun around, and scored on him.”
Fourth-place Carmel had a pair of conference champs in Jake Morgan (120) and Jake Cochrane (285), and fifth-place Nazareth had the night’s other two champions in Aeneas White (182) and Pat Vitek (195).
White won by first-period fall against Marist’s Ethan Benoit.
“(Benoit) started real strong and he kind of scared me with how fast he shot on me,” White said. “Then he hit a duck-under and I wasn’t ready for that either, so I kind of went with a desperation throw and it landed.”
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper on Thursday to read more about the Notre Dame and Nazareth wrestling teams.