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There’s life left in the Mooseheart wrestling season, where two athletes are in preparation for this weekend’s Class 1A Oregon Sectional.
Oliver Wah and Jose Tovar, both juniors, qualified for the sectional at last weekend’s Aurora Central Catholic Regional. Wah finished third in the 160-pound weight class while Tovar was third at 170 pounds.
“We’ve been very successful in getting someone to sectionals over the last 10 years,” Mooseheart wrestling coach Mark Johnson said. “It’s always amazing to me. We get guys out who have very little experience. With their hard work and determination and learning the basics, they’re able to get to be successful.”
The sectional begins Friday night and concludes Saturday. Both Wah and Tovar have difficult draws in one of the state’s toughest sectionals.
In the 160-pound bracket, Wah faces Stillman Valley senior Sam Durfey, who is 24-5 and ranked sixth in the weight class by illinoismatmen.com. Two other ranked wrestlers lurk on Wah’s portion of the bracket, including undefeated Garrett Passmore (44-0), a senior from Erie, the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the class. Wah wrestled for Mooseheart in middle school, returned to the mat this year and compiled a 14-4 record.
“Learning and working hard on the basics has allowed our guys to go to sectionals,” Johnson said. “These two guys have learned the basics, and I think that’s all you need. You don’t need all the fancy stuff.”
Tovar (8-6) heads to sectionals for the second consecutive year, and faces Princeton senior Zach Bohms (23-12) in the opening round. Among ranked wrestlers in Tovar’s portion of the bracket include No. 2-ranked Lena-Winslow senior Rahveon Valentine, who is 35-2 entering the sectional.
“When you get a guy who goes back repeatedly, you hope he sees some success each time he goes back. At least he has a little better understanding what goes on at the sectional,” Johnson said.
The top four finishers in the sectional advance to the state meet. The sectional to which Mooseheart heads is traditionally one of the toughest in the state. Johnson said the competition in Oregon will be good for both Wah and Tovar.
“The fact of the matter is that when you go to our sectional, all the wrestlers are tough,” Johnson said. “If you can go to a sectional where all the wrestlers are tough and get out and head downstate, you’ve done a good job.”