Things may not have unfolded exactly as they had hoped, but when you win a title and advance 11 individuals from the state's toughest regional, you can't complain too much.
That's how Carl Sandburg's wrestlers chose to look at Saturday's Class 3A Lockport Regional, where the state's top-ranked team prevailed over a field that featured four other ranked teams.
The Eagles won three titles and had four runners-up to help them compile 230.5 points, which proved to be more than enough to capture their seventh regional title in the past eight years.
Host Lockport edged Lincoln-Way Central 190.5-190 for second place while Lincoln-Way East beat out Providence Catholic 144.5-142 for fourth place in the 11-team competition.
The Eagles received titles from Dan Argueta (140 pounds), Brandon Lopez (171) and Chris Lopez (285), while John Pellegrino (119), Colin Holler (135), Mitch Cook (152) and Kyle Hughes (160) took second place.
Claiming third-place finishes for coach Eric Siebert's championship squad were Jim Panozzo (112), Dan Garcia (125), Scott Redman (130) and Nick Fishback (145).
In the finals, Argueta beat Lockport's Chris Tragos 7-2, Brandon Lopez won by default over Lincoln-Way Central's Brett Ditchman, and Chris Lopez claimed a 5-2 win over Andrew's Cory Chojnowski.
It was the second regional titles for the three Eagle champions. In addition, Argueta earned his fourth trip to sectional competition.
"This regional was the toughest in the state, so all of us knew we had to come out and wrestle hard and I think we did that," Brandon Lopez said. "We're happy we had a lot of placers and guys in the finals."
Lincoln-Way Central qualified eight individuals for the Granite City Sectional, while both Lincoln-Way East and Providence will send five individuals to the sectional.
Capturing championships for Lincoln-Way Central were Tyler Price (103) and Tom Gross (160). It was the second regional title for both individuals.
Joey Nelson (112), Robbie Mikenis (125), Mick Korte (130) and Ditchman (171) took second for the Knights, while Matt Schneider (152) and Luke Fisher (215) were third.
Price claimed an 8-4 title win over Lockport's Brian Rossi, while Gross pulled out a 6-5 victory over Sandburg's Hughes in the finals.
"I was sick all week so I had to tough it out in this tournament," Gross said. "It was good to win the last match so I get the bye in the first round of sectionals and that puts me in a better position."
Lincoln-Way East received a title from Kyle Langenderfer (135), while Wally Piech (145) and Joe Allegretti (215) were second and Chris Graf (189) and Nicky Allegretti (285) took third.
In a clash of returning state place-winners in the 135 finals, Langenderfer captured an 11-2 win over Holler. The two split a pair of one-point point decisions when they met up last month.
"The finals match was obviously a confidence boost for me," Langenderfer said. "The snow set us back, but we had a couple of good practices late in the week and that set us up for a good day today."
Providence's champions were Eddie Klimara (125) and Edwin Cooper (145). It was the fourth regional title for Cooper and the third for Klimara.
Finishing in third place for the Celtics were Joe Fulco (119), Mike Togher (135) and Vince Ambrose (171). Togher is also a four-time sectional qualifier.
Klimara beat Lincoln-Way Central's Mikenis by technical fall in 5:16 in his title match, while Cooper claimed a 14-6 decision over Lincoln-Way East's Piech in the finals.
"I have to just keep working hard and going after it knowing that next week is going to be a little bit tougher," Cooper said. "Staying focused was the key, and I went out and wrestled as hard as I could."
Winning titles for Lockport were Jameson Oster (130), Shaun'Qae McMurtry (152), Brad Johnson (189) and Shaquille McMurtry (215), while Travon Zabala (112) and Carlos Garcia (119) won titles for Joliet Central.
The rest of the teams in the competition were Joliet Central (83), Joliet West (80), Andrew (59), Romeoville (53), Lincoln-Way North (27) and Crete-Monee (23).
Joliet West had two qualifiers—runner-up Matt Koran (189) and third-place finisher Jim Spangler (140)—while Andrew's lone qualifier was runner-up Chojnowski (285).
Romeoville and Lincoln-Way North also had one qualifier, who took third. Naquan Hardy (103) advances for the Spartans, while A.J. Vargas (160) moves on for the Phoenix.