LT's Calum Rogers battles Morton HS's David Roa on Feb. 4, 2023, at LTHS. | Ian McLeod

After a frustrating regular season record-wise, Lyons Township High School senior boys wrestler Roland Connelly had one more chance on Feb. 4 at the IHSA Class 3A Regional at home.

With everything on the line, Connelly won his third-place match 3-1 in overtime at 138 pounds. He’s now among 10 Lions and four champions who advanced to the Hinsdale Central Sectional on Feb. 10 with top-three finishes.

“Being able to show when it was the most important for me was really amazing,” said Connelly, whose three wins improved his record to 12-26.

Seniors Cooper King (35-4 at 195) and junior Gunnar Garelli (35-8 at 160) repeated as regional champions. Senior Calum Rogers (28-12 at 152) and freshman Griff Powell (34-5 at 106) captured their first titles.

Senior Julian Cervantes (14-8 at 182) was second and seniors Charlie Campbell (15-17 at 152) and Eric Marquez (22-15 at 170), junior Sam Costello (30-14 at 220) and sophomore Roger Martinez (20-14 at 113) were third.

One victory from advancing were fourth-place senior Logan Hiatt (11-15 at 285) and sophomores Claudio Rodriguez (23-18 at 132) and Jack Kutchek (21-17 at 120).

The overall success nearly carried the second-place Lions (198.5 points) to their first regional title since 2015. They finished just behind champion Downers Grove South (201) and ahead of West Suburban Conference Silver co-champions Downers Grove North (172.5) and Hinsdale Central (157). 

Based on seeds, the Lions were supposed to only advance seven and win three titles.  

“We needed a lot of those guys to get to those third-place matches. To even give us a chance — and it came right down to the end – was awesome, so exciting,” LTHS coach Griff Powell said. “I was so proud of the kids. We had guys unseeded ending up third and others that wrestled past their seeds too. Overall, just a great team performance.”  

Top-four sectional finishers advance to state. Garelli is the Lions’ lone returning individual state qualifier at 125. 

In a thrilling regional final between two of the state’s best, Garelli prevailed 5-1 in overtime over Downers South senior Luke Swan (31-8) after they split their previous two meetings.

King, one victory from state last year, won 3-0. Powell won 13-4 and Rogers won 8-3.

“I’m locked in and I’m going to do anything to get down to Champaign,” King said.

Rogers and Costello also were 2022 sectional qualifiers by taking third at 152 and 285. The No. 2-seeded Rogers added his name to the Vaughn Gymnasium Wall of Fame as a regional champion along with being all-conference this season for going 6-0 in WSC Silver duals.

“That was my entire goal, to win this regional title so very happy with how it went,” Rogers said. 

Connelly is among four seniors making their sectional debuts. Connelly led 1-0 before a technical foul point tied what would be his final home match. 

“It was something I was trying to keep in mind when I stepped onto the mat today. It’s becoming more surreal as time goes on,” Connelly said. 

Pinned in his title match, Cervantes only moved up to varsity after winter break because of an injury. 

“It’s been a long journey, especially senior year,” Cervantes said. “It’s really crazy because my main goal was to get varsity and here I am in finals, regionals. Going to sectionals is a big step for me.” 

In their third-place victories, Costello and Martinez recorded pins in 2:25 and 3:23, respectively. Marquez won 10-2. 

“I went over with my family and teammates and my friend’s family because I’m so close with them. I was emotional,” Marquez said. “Before, I was just doing headlocks and stuff like that. Now I’m doing more.” 

Campbell defeated Hinsdale Central senior Hunter Hamdan (14-16) for third 4-2 after beating him 5-0 in the opening round. 

“It was super nerve wracking. It would have been kind of scary to have him beat me,” Campbell said. “It was a really good finish for the win.”