John Luke Iglesias wasn’t exactly a star as a sophomore last year, although he did win 28 matches as a sophomore at Walt Whitman.
The Vikings’ wrestler got off to a good start at 195 pounds, but it was the finish that left him with a sour taste.
Iglesias went 2-2 at the county tournament, winning by first-round 7-5 decision and by forfeit in the consolation round but being pinned in each of his losses. He qualified for the Class 4A-3A regionals, but went 0-2 there.
“I didn’t finish well in the tournaments last year,” said Iglesias, now a junior. “So I talked to coach [Derek Manon] and told him I would be cleaning up my wrestling moves and being a better wrestler.”
Iglesias has kept his word, as evidenced by his 11-1 record and two tournament wins, most recently his 220-pound championship victory at the Jan. 13-14 Grapple At The Brook Springbrook Tournament.
“It’s my tournament championship ever, and I’m starting to like it,” said Iglesias, who also won the Northern Tournament, sandwiching pins in his quarterfinals and title bouts around a 7-1 semifinal victory. “I try to be a quiet leader and to lead by example. I’m working on being louder in the wrestling room, but it’s easier for me to just show people on the mat.”
After pinning his first opponent in 3:07 and defeating Seth Ellsworth of Woodbridge, Virginia, 7-2, Iglesias earned an 8-5 decision over regional runner-up Nathanial Forschner of Parkdale in the title bout.
“John Luke has won the last two tournaments in tough conditions … each finals match coming after one in the morning,” said Manon. “He’s wrestling better every time he steps out on the mat, improving on his feet as well as top and bottom. He’s a leader by example and extremely humble, but he is a fierce competitor.”
Cape Henlopen of Delaware (232.5 points) dominated the 15-team event, with Woodbridge (217 points) of Virginia being second.
Springbrook’s State runner-up Christian Balmoris (113) and teammate Sabian Barber (152) were second, and Minh-Tru Nguyen (106) and John Clifford (170) were both fourth as the Blue Devils finished fifth in the tournament.
A third-place finisher at counties who was a regional runner-up, Balmoris lost his title bout, 8-0, to regional champion Axel Giron of Parkdale in Prince George’s County.
Other tournament runners-up were Sherwood’s Chase Wilson (126), Clarksburg’s Nick Gonzalez (132) and Northwest’s Khalil Owens (182), with regional runner-up Ryan Crosby (120) of Clarksburg finishing third.
In another tournament, private schools champion Ethan Krause (145) and teammate Thomas Gates (285) finished third and fourth, respectively, at the Escape The Rock event at Council Rock High in Holland, Pennsylvania.
Krause improve to 32-2, falling, 8-4, in his semifinal to eventual champion, John Pipa of Bishop McDevitt, won his title bout, 8-7, over Jake Hinkson of North Allegheny. Krause had beaten Hinkson earlier this season.
“It’s a pretty tough tournament,” said Krause. “We both wrestled a pretty good tournament in my opinion, making it to the semifinals and being able to wrestled for third place.”