The Aces finished the Feb. 11 Class 1A Regional Wrestling Tournament with an impressive showing, coming in fourth out of a nine team field. Walther Christian took first, followed by DePaul College Prep and Sullivan–all teams who entered the tournament with a full line-up, including heavyweights. The regional tournament is annually held on a Saturday night so that the Aces can participate after Shabbat. The boys spend that Shabbat together in a hotel near Melrose Park, complete with a Torah and a wrestling-friendly meal plan.
That night, four long years of working out and drilling in the wrestling room paid off for senior Yosef Marcucci (145- pictured above) when he ascended to the top of the medals podium at the February 11 Class 1A Regional Wrestling Tournament at Walter Christian Academy in Melrose Park. Marcucci drew the second seed in the tournament as a result of a regular season loss to Walther’s Aaron Rieger. In the semi-finals, Marcucci took on previously undefeated Thang Khup of Sullivan H.S. Marcucci took him down early in the first period and continued to rack up points until finally earning the pin with :23 seconds left in the third period. He then moved on to the finals for a rematch with Rieger. Rieger entered the match with an outstanding record of 21-9. The match turned out to be a wild affair, featuring numerous takedowns by Marcucci and furious counters by Rieger. The score was tied, 5-5, at the end of the first period. Marcucci led by two at the end of the second period. Finally, with less than a minute to go, Marcucci was leading 13-12. He scored a decisive reversal and put Rieger on his back. The referee slapped the mat, signifying a fall with :06 seconds remaining on the scoreboard clock. It was Marcucci’s first regional title, and it was well deserved.
Junior Binyomin Krohn (152) took second place, following a tense 3-1 decision in the semi-finals against Ben Hartman of DePaul College Prep. Krohn lost to the eventual champion from Walther in the final. It marked the first tournament medal in Krohn’s career.
Senior Captain Daniel Karesh (160) fought back from a knee injury suffered earlier in the week to claim the bronze medal in his weight class. Karesh pinned wrestlers from Guerin Prep and Sullivan along the way. Junior E.J. Halpert also battled his way onto the medals stand with a third place finish at 170 lbs. He pinned Sullivan’s Murta Kamil in the second period to claim his medal. Freshman Noi Cohen (106) bounced back from a semi-final loss to the eventual champion from Walther to also take third place. Cohen cruised through the consolation bracket with first period pins of opponents from Rochelle Zell Jewish High School and Sullivan H.S.
Freshman Ronen Lavi finished fourth in a stacked field at the 126 pound weight class. sophomore Meir Cohen (132), junior Yitzchak Nadoff (138), and junior Matan Auerbach took fourth in their respective weight classes. Freshman Enon Gurvich (113) took fifth in his weight class.
The Walther Christian Regional Tournament is the only regional tournament in the state conducted on Saturday night–in order to accommodate Ida Crown and to permit its hard working wrestlers to have a shot at state qualification glory.