Lane Completes Three-Peat at CPL Boys Wrestling Championships

Photos by Mike Clark and Keyshawn Aytch

By Mike Clark

Davian Hall came into last weekend’s Public League boys wrestling finals unbeaten and unseeded.

The Simeon freshman is still unbeaten.

Hall won five straight matches — including two pins, a technical fall and a 17-9 major decision over Hubbard’s top-seeded Fabian Salazar in the finals — en route to the 138-pound title. Along the way, he also defeated No. 2 seed Vince Ramirez of Little Village 9-4 in the semifinals and No. 3 seed Cesar Mucha of Lane by fall at 1:22 in the second round. 

“It’s crazy,” Hall said after moving to 12-0 on the season. “This is so fortunate, it just happened. I’m at a loss for words, for real.”

Hall got started in wrestling with the Englewood Live Wire feeder program at Ogden Park four years ago and had some success at the youth level. But this is arguably the best result of his young career.

He also plays football and has run track. What does he like about wrestling?

“The physicality,” Hall said.

Now he’s looking forward to making a splash in the IHSA state series, where he might move down to 132 pounds.

While Hall’s win was a surprise, the tournament went mostly according to form. Lane won its third straight Public League title and 24th overall, beating runner-up Taft 288-190. Little Village (176) was third, Curie (128.5) took fourth and Mather and Perspectives tied for fifth at 126.5.

Lane had a meet-best five winners, including three wrestlers in Illinois Matmen’s Class 3A state rankings: honorable mention Alex Valentin (35-4) at 113, No. 6 Robert J. Zavala (37-4) at 126 and No. 4 Fernando Lopez (22-2) at 150.

Valentin has a familiar opponent in the title bout, winning 9-2 over Kennedy’s Victor Alvarado (25-2), who is honorable mention in Class 2A.

The pair met in the city semifinals two years ago and in the finals last season.

“It’s a pretty good rivalry between us,” Valentin said. “He pushes me to be the better wrestler. I see him working in the offseason, he sees me working in the offseason and we really respect each other.”

Zavala, who won a 15-0 technical fall against Hubbard’s Alex Carranza in the finals, appreciates having such a deep wrestling room at Lane. The Champions had Public League finalists at every weight from 106 to 132.

“At the lower weights and middle weights, we have a lot of really good competition,” Zavala said. “It’s really good, iron sharpens iron.”

Lopez was dominant with three first-period falls and a 19-4 tech fall in 2:00. Now he’s ready to turn his focus to the state series. 

“Definitely want to place, even win it,” Lopez said.

Also taking firsts for the Champions were Larry Posey (15-7) at 132 and Julian Hutchinson (10-1) at 285.

The individual hardware was nice, but the team title also was meaningful for Lane.

“It’s definitely important,” Lopez said. “Everybody on the team, even those who couldn’t win their brackets or those who didn’t place — everybody contributed. You all work together in the same room so it’s something nice for the whole team.”

Taft had one champ: Bernardo Roque (30-4), who beat Lane’s Coles 9-7 in the 106 final. 

It was Roque’s first win in the head-to-head series.

“For the past two years straight I’ve been facing him and it didn’t come out right,” Roque said. “But I let it engrave in my head and I worked and thought about it every day when I came to practice.”

The rivalry has elevated his own wrestling, Roque said.

“When I started to break in practice, I was like, ‘He wouldn’t be gassed right now,'” Roque said. “‘So why are you gassed?’ So I just kept on working.”

Curie was the only team other than Lane with multiple champs, getting firsts from Victor Quiroz (15-7) at 144, Damond Butler (15-3) at 157 and Mylan Williams (15-4) at 165.

Also winning titles were Perspectives’ Donald Bunton Jr. (12-0) at 120, Mather’s Jacob Scott (24-3) at 175, Class 1A honorable mention Calvin Savage (29-1) of King at 190 and Phoenix’s Kaleb Abney (29-5) at 215.

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