Undersized heavyweight Jon DelBrugge pinned Mike Krason in 2:54 to lift unranked Glenelg to a 37-26 upset of 15th-ranked Atholton for the Gladiators' first Class 2A-1A South region crown last night.
The host Raiders trailed 31-22 after decisions by Glenelg's sixth-ranked Eric Hufnagel (160 pounds) and Mike Chase (189). But Atholton was within 31-26 after a major decision by Noah Smith (215) and needed a pin at heavyweight to win the match.
But it was Glenelg's DelBrugge, a first-year wrestler, who was in the pinning mood.
"I didn't go after him right away," said DelBrugge, a senior who lost earlier this year in a dual-meet loss to the Raiders (16-3). "I lift weights all year round, and I think I'm stronger than most of the guys I wrestle."
Glenelg will meet an opponent to be determined in Saturday's state semifinals at Hammond.
DelBrugge, who was told to "stay off his back" by coach Rob Bowman, was joined in the winning column by his first cousin, Bobby Kuczarski (135), whose pin gave the Gladiators (13-3) a lead they would never relinquish.
DelBrugge shared the win with Kuczarski at a difficult time in their lives, having recently experienced the death of their grandmother, Judith DelBrugge, who succumbed to cancer.
"I lived with her until I was 8 years old," said DelBrugge, who wears her initials on his right biceps, along with a tattoo of a cross dedicated to her. "I pray every night, and I talk to her before every match."
Atholton won three of the first four bouts for a 13-6 lead, getting a pin from Ryan Conroy (125), a major decision from Jeff Zillmer (112) and a decision by Robbie Eloshway (103). But the Gladiators had gotten a pin from David Brindza (119) and never trailed again after going ahead 19-13 on Kuczarski's pin, a major decision by Shea Conway (130) and a decision by John Regan (140).
The Raiders' Josh Burke (145) edged Matt Bichner 7-6 on a takedown with 10 seconds left. But Atholton still trailed 25-22 after trading pins by Glenelg's Danny Bianco (152) and Atholton's Nick Colabucci (160).