CHAMPAIGN—Eric Tannenbaum doesn't wrestle with the past. Wrestling in the present is hard enough.
The Naperville North senior 152-pounder won his third Class AA state championship before 10,379 fans at Assembly Hall on Saturday with a 12-5 decision over Rockton Hononegah's David Dwyer to raise his career record to 174-1, the best winning percentage in Class AA history. His six takedowns in the title match gave him a state-record 1,008 for his career.
Tannenbaum, whose teammates Nick Fanthorpe (103) and Brian Dyer (135) also won state titles with perfect records, didn't give a thought to that lone loss two years ago when Providence's Matt Kucala pinned him in the 125-pound finals.
"You have to put stuff past you," said Tannenbaum, who is 42-0 going into Tuesday's team dual sectional at Glenbard North. "To be honest, it's not like before that match I wasn't working as hard as possible. After the match I was working as hard as possible as well. It was one match. No big deal."
Naperville North coach Tom Arlis now has 12 state champions in his 12 years. This is the first time Tannenbaum and classmate Dyer, who won his first title two years ago, had won titles in the same year.
"You come down here and dream of things like that," Arlis said. "What are the odds of having three wrestlers come down here, win state championships and end up undefeated. It's unbelievable."
Fanthorpe, 43-0, started the Huskies' parade with a 5-1 victory over previously undefeated Jimmy Kennedy of Grant. The Naperville North sophomore's win helped calm Dyer's nerves. He defeated Lyons Township's Andrew Lukanich 3-2 for the title and a 43-0 record.
"It put me at ease when I went out on the mat," Dyer explained. "I was nice and calm when I went out there.
Lincoln-Way East's Tony Pretto, a state champion two years ago, won the 112-pound title with a 17-8 victory over Downers Grove South's Mark Lenkowski. Pretto, who missed almost all of last season with a shoulder injury, finished with a 41-0 record.
Mt. Carmel seniors Charles Lloyd (130) and Bryan Harney (160) won their second straight championships. Lloyd (44-0) was a 5-2 winner over Ottawa's Casey Carrino, while Harney edged Lincoln-Way Central's unbeaten Dan Finney 5-3 in overtime.
Glenbard North's 140-pound Tyler Williams (45-0) and Moline's 125-pound A.J. Lavender (19-0) each won their first titles, as did Providence's Zach Berman (43-0 at 119) and Rockton Hononegah's Grant Miller (44-0) at heavyweight.
Williams, who had placed in the three previous state tournaments, was a 6-4 winner over Thornton Fractional South's Jason Besse. Lavender didn't start wrestling this year until he got doctor's clearance in January because of concussions. He defeated Glenbard North's Joe Gomez, a former champion, 7-4.