The Illinois Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association (IWCOA) needs wrestling officials!
Becoming a wrestling official is a great way to support our great sport and get paid to do so. Beginning wrestling officials can schedule the days and times that they want to work. During the week, an official can make $62-$109 per day, $150-$280 on Saturday, and $150-$250 on Sunday.
For example: If you work Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday you can make $424-$748 for the week!
The IWCOA provides free training for first year officials. Please visit IWCOA.NET, choose the officials tab and then choose “Interested in becoming and Official”. Alternatively, you can scan the QR code below with your cellphone camera, complete the interest form, and we will contact you with more information.
For more information on how to become an Illinois wrestling official, visit us at https://iwcoa.net/officials/.
2023 Wrestling Clinics and Live Rule Interpretation Meetings
Sponsored by the IWCOA
The IWCOA in cooperation with the IHSA is pleased to announce 2023-24 season wrestling officiating clinics and live rule interpretation meetings that will accommodate both beginning and experienced officials. The IWCOA has a long-standing tradition of supporting better officiating throughout the state of Illinois via their wrestling officiating clinics. Each person attending any of these clinics will receive credit from the IHSA for a Level one/two clinic and rules interpretation.
All clinics require you to be an active paid IWCOA member ($35), or to pay an “at the door” fee of $50. It is preferred that you become an IWCOA member before the clinic (saves you $15) and register online at IWCOA.NET. If you choose to use paper and snail mail: memberships and pre-registrations via mail must be postmarked 5 days prior to the event (mail-in form also available on IWCOA.NET). Again, the cost will increase to $50 if paid at the event. Lifetime/Hall of Fame members are not exempt from the membership fee when it comes to clinics ($35 online and pre-registered or $50 at the door).
All clinics will start promptly at 9:00am and conclude at 1:00pm. There will be a free lunch served from 1:00pm until 1:30pm. A live IHSA rules interpretation meeting will begin at 1:30pm.
Please contact your IHSA Head Clinician, Tony Clarke (847-721-1132) or email email@example.com if you have any questions.
October 8 – Online
October 15 – McHenry High School
October 15 – Rock Falls High School
October 21 – Mt. Vernon High School
October 21 – Plainfield Central High School
October 22 – Beat the Streets Chicago
October 22 – Mascoutah High School
October 28 – Lincoln High School
October 29 – Mahomet-Seymour High School
November 4 – Naperville Central High School
November 5 – Rockford East High School
November 5 – Springfield (Southeast) High School
November 19 – Online
By Curt Herron
The LiUNA Midwest Nationals Wrestling Tournament that took place in Bloomington earlier this month featured its biggest turnout in recent years and the event that was co-sponsored by the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association again lived up to its reputation as being one of Illinois’ top tournaments for individuals of all age groups.
Nearly 1,200 competitors and 300 teams participated in the tournament, which was held for the second year in a row at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center. That total eclipses the mark of 1,125 wrestlers who were on hand for the 2015 competition, which also took place at the same venue.
There were 77 champions in the boys competition, which featured the following grade divisions: 11th and 12th; 9th and 10th; seventh and eighth; fifth and sixth; third and fourth; and first and second. A total of 30 girls won titles in their six divisions, which were the same age groups as the boys. And there were eight title winners in the Men’s College/Open Division and four champions in the Women’s College/Open Division for a total of 119 champions overall.
Around 600 of the competitors earned medals for finishes of sixth or better. A total of 422 boys were medalists in six divisions while 115 girls won medals. There were 48 medalists in the men’s college/open division and 15 in the Women’s College/Open Division.
In the overall points, Alber Athletics won with 439 points while The Compound was second with 412.5 points and PSF Wrestling Academy placed third with 361 points. ISI (188), Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders (187), St. Louis Warrior (177), Built by Brunson (149), Lincoln-Way Wrestling Club (147), Fort Zumwalt Wrestling (144), Republic West (141) rounded out the top 15 teams in the field.
Team champions and runners-up in the various Boys divisions were: Fort Zumwalt Wrestling over Quincy 66-45.5 in 11th and 12th Grade; PSF Wrestling Academy over Sterling Elite 136-54 in 9th and 10th Grade; Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders over Alber Athletics 99-97 in 7th and 8th Grade; Alber Athletics over The Compound 91.5-83.5 in 5th and 6th Grade; The Compound over Alber Athletics 121-96 in 3rd and 4th Grade; and Built by Brunson and SJO Youth Wrestling Club tying with 71 points in 1st and 2nd Grade.
The top two teams in Men’s College/Open Division were PSF Wrestling Academy over Dubuque RTC 89-59.5.
Highland Bulldog Jr. Wrestling’s August Rottmann won titles in three divisions, taking first place in the Women’s College/Open Division at 158-165, in the Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division at 151-168 and in the 9th and 10th Grade Division at 165-177.
Boys champions in the 11th and 12th Grade Division who also won titles in the competition in 2022 were Hannibal, MO’s Austin Brown (106-116), Chatham Wrestling Club’s Drew Davis (122-130), Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders’ Harrison Konder (153-162), RWC’s Nolan Mrozowski (153-161), Southstrong’s Matty Lapacek (178-192) and Rock Island Wrestling B&B’s Andrew Marquez (193-216).
Other boys who repeated as Midwest Nationals champions were Mahomet-Seymour’s Marco Casillas (9th and 10th, 151-157), Alber Athletics’ Brendan Nardin (7th and 8th, 125-139), Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders Dawson Mack (7th and 8th, 129-133), The Compound’s Cameron Ramp (5th and 6th, 66-73), The Compound’s Kellan Spisok (3rd and 4th, 77-85) and Built by Brunson’s Welles Projansky (1st and 2nd, 89-100).
Girls title winners who also were champions in the 2022 tournament were Mt. Zion Wrestling’s Sydney Cannon (9th and 10th, 110-123), Ironhawk’s Aubrie Pehrson (9th and 10th, 124-135) and Alber Athletics’ Saya Hongmoungkhoune (7th and 8th, 84-98). After winning three titles last year, The Compound’s Valarie Hamilton (138-142) won in the Women’s College/Open Division to give her six titles in the competition since 2018.
Here’s a breakdown of the champions and medalists of the 2023 Midwest Nationals. Specific information about some of the Illinois champions in the Boys and Girls 11th and 12th and 9th and 10th Grade Divisions is also included in the following summary of top-six placewinners.
Boys 11th and 12th Grade Division
Championship matches for the Boys 11th and 12th Grade Division featured five Illinois individuals who also won Midwest National titles in 2022. They were Chatham Wrestling Club’s Drew Davis at 122-130, Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders’ Harrison Konder at 153-162, RWC’s Nolan Mrozowski at 153-161, Southstrong’s Matty Lapacek at 178-192 and Rock Island Wrestling B&B’s Andrew Marquez at 193-216.
122-130 – Drew Davis, Chatham Wrestling Club
Chatham Wrestling Club’s Drew Davis won 3-2 over Carbondale Wrestling Club’s Isaac Smith at 122-130.
Davis, a senior at Glenwood. is a two-time defending IHSA Class 2A champion. He took first at 113 last season to cap a 50-2 season and finished first at 106 in 2022 when he went 19-0. In addition, he went 32-3 and placed fourth at 106 in the 2021 IWCOA Open Finals. He’s his program’s only state champion and hopes to become its first four-time placewinner this season.
“I really just came here for fun,” Davis said. “It’s the offseason, so I didn’t have to wrestle, but I wanted to. I’m going to Fargo for Freestyle and Greco. I want to win it again and just be more dominant than I was last year when I had two losses. I’ve been working hard. We were good last year and we’re hoping to be better this year.”
153-162 – Harrison Konder, Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders
Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders’ Harrison Konder won 5-0 over Dee-Mack’s Gage Sweckard at 153-162.
Konder, who will be a senior at Downers Grove North, went 41-6 in 2023 and finished fifth at 152 in Class 3A. He also went 43-5 and placed fourth at 138 in 2022 and went 20-4 and took fifth at 138 in the IWCOA Open Finals in 2021, to give him three state medals, which is now the standard for the Trojan’s program.
153-161 – Nolan Mrozowski, RWC
RWC’s Nolan Mrozowski won 5-3 over Fort Zumwalt’s Koen Erickson at 153-161.
Mrozowski, a senior at Rochester, went 42-11 in 2023 and placed fifth at 145 in Class 2A to become his school’s second medalist and its highest finisher at the state finals.
“It’s a tough tournament,” Mrozowski said. “I won it last year and I knew that this year coming back it would be tough, so it feels good. I felt that I would do good this year but thought that there would be a target on my back since I won it last year. So I knew I had to come and compete.”
178-192 – Matty Lapacek, Southstrong
Southstrong’s Matty Lapacek won by fall in 2:27 over Republic West’s Maddox Wilkins at 178-192.
Lapacek, who will be a senior at Downers Grove South, finished 36-11 after advancing to the quarterfinals at 182 in Class 3A at the 2023 IHSA Finals. In his final season, he hopes to become the fourth Mustang to win a state title and the first to do so since 2008.
“I started off pretty steady, but then in the middle of the season, I started going down,” Lapacek said. “I wrestled at Mid-States in Whitewater and didn’t do too hot. But then I started picking it up toward the end and peaked at state.”
193-216 – Andrew Marquez, Rock Island Wrestling B&B
Rock Island Wrestling B&B’s Andrew Marquez won 10-2 over unattached Jacob Ruff at 193-216.
Marquez, who will be a senior at Rock Island, went 41-6 last season and took second place at 195 in Class 2A. Beside trying to become the latest in a long list of Rocks state champions, he’s also looking to be the program’s first two-time state finalist in 35 years.
“It was good,” Marquez said. “I tried my best and my goal was not to get scored on in the whole tournament, and that happened. It just felt good. The biggest goal right now is to be a state champion and the second goal is to be All-American at Fargo. Those are the biggest two that I want.”
The other 11th and 12th grade champion who also won a title at the 2022 Midwest Nationals was Hannibal, MO’s Austin Brown, who won by fall in 3:54 over Illinois Cornstars’ Ivan Munoz at 106-116.
Other Illinois champions
136-147 – Ian O’Connor, Illini Bluffs
Illini Bluffs’ Ian O’Connor won 4-2 in sudden victory over Iguana WC’s Austin Johnston at 136-147.
O’Connor, who will be a senior at Illini Bluffs, finished 45-9 in 2023 after losing in the quarterfinals at 132 in Class 1A. The grandson of 1994 IWCOA Hall of Fame coach Pat O’Connor, who started the Illini Bluffs program, and son of current Tigers coach Shawn O’Connor, hopes to add to the program’s recent highlights by two of his teammates, two-time state champion Paul Ishikawa, who graduated, and two-time runner-up Hunter Robbins, who also returns.
“It was a good win,” O’Connor said. “I made the finals last year and lost to a kid from Normal West (Evan Wiloock) and this year made the finals again against another Normal West kid and I won this year. We’ve had a couple of good years and had Paul as a state champ this year and had four guys down to Champaign so hopefully the three that are returning will all be back next year.”
148-154 – Brady Grennan, Big Game Wrestling Club
Big Game Wrestling Club’s Brady Grennan won 6-4 in sudden victory over PSF Wrestling Academy’s Dillon Hinton at 148-154.
Grennan, who will be a senior at Newman Central Catholic, went 13-5 and took fifth place at 126 in Class 1A in 2023 after going 44-2 and finishing third at 120 in 2022 and was 27-3 and placed third at 113 in the IWCOA Open Finals in 2021. He hopes to become the program’s fourth four-time medalist and one of its numerous state champions.
“I’m excited,” Grennan said. “I came into this tournament a little heavier than I would have liked to be. Me knowing that I was the toughest guy in the bracket helped me get through it. I think it’s good just to wrestle kids that you’ve never wrestled before and against styles that you’ve never seen, it’s just good to get used to that. The plan is to win the state championship this year and hopefully I’ll get it done in my last year to do it.”
162-169 – Maguire Hoeksema, Greg Gomez Trained
Greg Gomez Trained’s Maguire Hoeksema won by medical forfeit over Elite Wrestling Club’s Niko Duggan at 162-169.
Hoeksema, a Geneva graduate, will be attending Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He went 35-10 last season but was unable to advance from the rugged Class 3A Geneva Regional, after falling in both the semifinals and in the third-place match.
“I didn’t have the best high school season since I was in a tough regional,” Hoeksema said. “I’ve just been working really hard in the offseason with Greg and my coach at Carthage, coach (Alberto) Quiros, and I’ve trained there.I’ve been working hard and have the right diet and it’s paid off. I started off a little slow, but as soon as I got my first match down, I felt confident. They were close matches but it was about who wants to fight harder in the end. My semifinals and quarterfinals were both by one point.”
232-288 – Todd Smith, Quincy
Quincy’s Todd Smith won by fall in 0:55 over Mt. Zion’s Remington Hiser at 232-288.
Smith, who will be a sophomore at Quincy, went 37-13 in 2023 but was unable to advance from the Class 3A Normal Community Sectional. He was an IESA Class AA champion in 2022. He hopes to become the fourth individual from his program to win an IHSA title and fifth overall as well as the third to be a two-time medal winner.
“This was a high-competitive tournament and high-competitive wrestlers here, especially in the 11-12 bracket that are a lot older than me,” Smith said. “I wrestled kids from Wisconsin and Michigan and there was an ISI camp here last week where I wrestled kids from all across the country.”
The other two champions in the Boys 11th and 12th Grade Division were Olympus’ Hunter Luttrell, who won by fall in 2:45 over Young Guns WC’s Ethan Monson at 131-141 and Fort Zumwalt’s Chance Cole, who won 8-2 over Sterling Elite’s Thomas Tate at 170-179.
Taking third place in the Boys 11th and 12th Grade Division were BullTrained’s Reign Creech at 106-116, Oblong’s Ian Rosborough at 122-130, Comets WC’s Cody Strope at 131-141, Decatur LSA’s Rudy Bautista at 136-147, Crystal Lake Wizards’ Cole Porten at 148-154, Murphysboro’s Liam Fox at 153-162, Omega Training’s Alessio Pezzella at 153-161, unattached Zac Ritter at 162-169, Quincy’s Owen Uppinghouse at 170-179 and Bryor Newbold at 178-192, ISI’s Jared Werner at 193-216 and Mundelein’s Abisai Hernandez at 232-288.
Placing fourth in the Boys 11th and 12th Grade Division were Elite’s Mason Jones at 106-116, Belleville Little Devils’ Tyson Seibel at 122-130, Izzy Style’s Grant Madl at 131-141, Young Guns’ Wyatt Goossens at 136-147, Gladiator Elite WC’s Caleb Ohnesorge at 148-154, Mahomet-Seymour’s Gage Decker at 153-162, GCMS’s Carson Maxey at 153-161, Oregon’s Anthony Bauer at 162-169, Alber Athletics’ Eli Larson at 170-179, FZS’s JD Dunn at 178-192, Olympia’s Nolen Yeary at 193-216 and Mahomet-Seymour’s Camden Harms at 232-288,
Finishing in fifth place in the Boys 11th and 12th Grade Division were Streator’s Nicholas Pollet at 106-116, FZS’s Nickalaus Baker at 122-130 and Zack Tihen at 131-141, Hoffman Estates’ Alazar Eyob at 136-147, Murphysboro’s Bryce Edwards at 148-154, unattached Isaac Decker at 153-162, Purler’s Nick Baer at 153-161, Fort Zumwalt’s Jeric Gumahin at 162-169, Iguana WC’s Maddox Kirts at 170-179, Danville’s Phillip Shaw IV at 178-192, Kewanee’s Alejandro Duarte at 193-216 and Fort Zumwalt’s Junior Rudd at 232-288.
Claiming sixth place in the Boys 11th and 12th Grade Division were Morris’ Brandon Anderson at 106-116, Purler’s Brayden Belding at 122-130, ISI’s Douglas Phillips at 131-141, Downers Grove WC’s Michael Schaefer at 136-147, Lincoln Community’s Jacob Lawrence at 148-154, Elk Grove Village’s Anthony Macina at 153-162, PSF WA’s Braden Johnson at 153-161, Relentless’ Nick Cheshier at 162-169, Olympus’ Brandon Burchett at 170-179, Southstrong’s Alex Auernhamer at 178-192, PSF WA’s Mason Randall at 193-216 and Nothwest Lions’ Jeffrey Harrison at 232-288.
Boys 9th and 10th Grade Division
Marco Casillas, who will be an eighth grader at Mahomet-Seymour Junior High, repeated as a champion at the Midwest Nationals after finishing first at 151-157 in the Boys 9th and 10th Grade Division.
151-157 – Marco Casillas, Mahomet-Seymour
The lone returning champion who won a title in the Boys 9th and 10th Grade Division was Mahomet-Seymour’s Marco Casillas, who won 7-3 over Quincy’s Brody Baker at 151-157.
Casillas is an eighth grader at Mahomet-Seymour Junior High. Earlier this year, he won the IESA championship at 145 in Class AA. His brother, Mateo, capped his career at Mahomet-Seymour by capturing the title at 195 in Class 2A to conclude a 54-1 season. The three-sport standout will continue his athletic career playing baseball at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
“I also won state last year,” Casillas said. “I knew that it was going to be a challenge to be against the ninth and tenth graders but I just wrestle to the best of my ability and do what I can do. I want to try to be better than him (Mateo).”
Other Illinois individuals who won championships in the Boys 9th and 10th Grade Division were:
101-106 – Augustus Swanson, Young Guns Wrestling Club
Young Guns Wrestling Club’s Augustus Swanson won by fall in 2:46 over FZS Bulldogs’ Kanyon Shurtz at 101-106.
Swanson, a sophomore at Princeton, went 43-10 earlier this year and advanced to the IHSA Class 1A Finals at 106. Swanson hopes to eventually become the seventh individual to win a title and seventh to win multiple medals for the Tigers.
108-118 – Rocky Seibel, Belleville Little Devils
Belleville Little Devils’ Rocky Seibel won 15-3 over Hammond Bishop Noll’s Francisco Rodriguez at 108-118.
Seibel, who will be a junior at Belleville West, posted a 35-6 record this year and qualified for the IHSA Class 3A Finals at 106. He hopes to become the eighth individual from the program to win a state championship.
115-128 – Bradley Ruckman, PSF Wrestling Academy
PSF Wrestling Academy’s Bradley Ruckman won by fall in 2:37 over Decatur LSA’s Clinton VerHeecke at 115-128.
Ruckman, who is a Civic Memorial junior, went 36-10 and took fourth place in Class 2A at 106 in 2023 after going 43-9 and finishing sixth at 106 in 2022. He hopes to join his 2023 teammate, Abe Wojcikiewicz, as the fifth individual from his program to win a state championship and also become their fourth three-time medalist.
“It feels pretty good, Ruckman said. “I came in here and I knew that it was going to be tough and I was hoping for first and I got it. It gives me some confidence and I believe in myself a lot. I had a pulled muscle in my back and I just wrestled through it and wrestled as hard as I could and did what I did. I hope to get a state title.”
119-122 – Ryan Hanson, McHenry Wrestling Club
McHenry Wrestling Club’s Ryan Hanson won 12-3 over Relentless’ Tyler Lockhart at 119-122.
Hanson, who will be a junior at McHenry, went 36-12 and qualified for the IHSA Class 3A Finals at 106 in 2023. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of recently-graduated teammate Chris Moore, who took first place at 170 to become their program’s first state champion.
“It feels pretty good to come in in the offseason and get some good tournaments in and good matches and get some wins,” Hanson said. “It’s good to get motivation from this to go to Fargo and go to state next year and have a good season. I tried to wrestle as smart as possible and try not to give up as many points as possible, I just wanted to wrestle smart and safe.”
125-131 – Dillon White, PSF Wrestling Academy
PSF Wrestling Academy’s Dillon White won by fall in 0:43 over Morris’ Carter Skoff at 125-131.
White, who will be a junior at Mt. Vernon junior, went 40-6 and lost in Class 2A quarterfinals at 120 to fall one win shy of a medal. He also won a Midwest Nationals title in 2015 at 47-51 in the 1st and 2nd Grade Division. He’d like to become the Rams’ eighth medal winner, third finalist and initial champion.
“It feels really good,” White said. “I had a great tournament this week. No one scored a point on me and I had all pins in the first period. It feels amazing, especially getting ready to go to Fargo, it really boosts my confidence. Alejandro Wajner, Michael Pixley and Tad Cravens all came in two years ago and really turned around our program. Before, they were going to actually shut down our program because no one was going out to wrestle any more. So they really turned our whole city around.”
133-140 – Brandon Green, PSF Wrestling Academy
PSF Wrestling Academy’s Brandon Green won by fall in 1:39 over Republic West’s Keaton Overcast at 133-140.
Green, who will be a sophomore at Roxana, went 35-5 and fell one win shy of winning a medal at 126 in IHSA 1A Fiinals. In 2022, he won the IESA Class A title at 119. He hopes to become the fourth Shells wrestler to win a title and their eighth individual to win two medals.
“In my freshman year, I slacked off a little bit, but during the summer, I’ve been training real hard,” Green said. “Going from eighth grade to freshman year, I won state, but then I just slacked off. So I got the mindset for my sophomore year and gave it more thought and ended up training real hard and it’s showing.”
140-148 – Brock Ross, Mascoutah
Mascoutah’s Brock Ross won by technical fall over Sterling Elite’s Landon Kenney at 140-148.
Ross, who will be a sophomore at Mascoutah, didn’t compete in the state series in 2023, His program has had eight medal winners, which includes 2023 Class 2A 132 champion Santino Robinson. Ross won the IESA AA title at 119 in 2022.
“I thought it was a pretty fun tournament and there was good competition here, for sure,” Ross said. “You had to wrestle hard to win and make sure that your cardio was good.”
143-156 – Zachary Montez, Blue Line Training Academy
Blue Line Training Academy’s Zachary Montez won 10-1 over Naperville North’s Tyler Sternstein at 143-156.
Montez, who will be a junior at Geneseo, finished with a 52-3 record after taking third place at 132 in the IHSA Class 2A Finals and also helped the 22-3 Maple Leafs to a fourth-place trophy in the IHSA Dual Team Finals, their third in program history and first since 2014. He also went 40-6 and took fourth place at 113 in 2022. He hopes to become his program’s third three-time medalist as well as its third individual to win a state championship.
187-207 – Maddux Anderson, Blue Line Training Academy
Blue Line Training Academy’s Maddux Anderson won by fall in 1:39 over Francis Howell Central’s Samuel Golden at 187-207.
Anderson, who will be a junior at Orion, went 40-14 and qualified for the IHSA Finals in Class 1A at 195. He hopes to become the seventh individual from his program to win a state championship.
“I thought I wrestled pretty good,” Anderson said. “Coming in here, I didn’t know what to expect since this was my first national tournament. The guys were pretty solid and a lot better than I thought they were going to be. There were kids that I wrestle all of the time but there were kids here from Missouri and Indiana that I’ve never wrestled before. This is a big accomplishment for me. Last year, I didn;t have the season that I wanted to, I qualified for state but didn’t end up placing. So taking first place at nationals is a big thing for me.”
207-229 – Ethan Miller, Westville
Westville’s Ethan Miller won 3-0 over Dubuque RTC’s Teigen Moreno at 207-229.
Miller, who will be a sophomore at Westville, went 20-9 in 2023 and lost in the semifinals and third-place match at the Class 1A Lawrenceville Regional to miss advancing to the Carterville Sectional. He ultimately hopes to become his program’s eighth medalist and third individual to win a state championship.
The top-two in round robin competition of the Boys 9th and 10th Grade Division were ISI’s Kristian Declercq over Midwest Central WC’s Gabe Marella at 81-100 and Southstrong’s Jose Cruz over Streator’s Tyler Barbee at 231-288.
Boys 9th and 10th Grade Division champions from other states included: Toss Em Up WA’s Co’ji Campbell by fall in 1:06 over Cerberus’ Daylan Sexton at 117-125; Elite Force’s Luie Acosta-Tackett 12-5 over PSF WA’s Logan Riggs at 132-140; Unattached Brayden Pillars 7-5 over Quincy’s Gunnar Derhake at 148-163; Ste. Genevieve’s Evan Winters 4-2 over Christian Brothers’ Tanner Faulkner at 163-173 and Fort Zumwalt’s Deacon Moran 7-2 over Naperville WC’s Henry Rydwelski at 171-187.
Taking third place in the Boys 9th and 10th Grade Division were Cerberus’ Zach Francis at 81-100, The Compound’s Jackson Soney at 101-106, Iguana WC’s Brady Mouser at 108-118, TJ Trained’s Harrison Dea at 115-128, Washington’s Noah Woods at 117-125, Brawlers’ Blake Arseneau at 119-122, Decatur LSA’s Garrett VerHeecke at 125-131, unattached Bodee Fathauer at 132-140, Alber Athletics’ Lucas Nelson at 133-140, Rock Island Wrestling B&B’s Antonio Parker at 140-148, Clifton Central’s Gianni Panozzo at 143-156, Oswego’s Ethan Essick at 148-163, Built by Brunson’s Charlie Cross at 151-157, Omega Training’s Michael Brannigan at 163-173, Relentless’ Cooper Bode at 171-187, Republic West’s Chase Hicks at 187-207 and Shelbyville’s Andre Townsend at 207-229.
Finishing in fourth place in the Boys 9th and 10th Grade Division were Morris’ Alex Hughes at 81-100, Washington’s Symon Woods at 101-106, PSF Matmonks’ Kayson Duffney at 108-118, Hannibal’s Austin Brown at 115-128, Sterling Elite’s Zyan Westbrook at 117-125, Lincoln-Way WC’s Carter DiBenedetto at 119-122, EBF Rockets’ Gage Spurgeon at 125-131, Metamora’s Grady Neal at 132-140 and Connor Graham at 133-140, Northwest Lions’ Evan Porter at 140-148, PSF WA’s Lyndon Thies at 143-156, Hoopeston Area WC’s Ayden Larkin at 148-163, Hurricane WC’s Michael Hodge III at 151-157, South Putnam’s Tyler Sandusky at 163-173, Built by Brunson’s Shane Onixt at 171-187, Bomber WC’s Hunter Crabtree at 187-207 and Quincy Notre Dame’s Ryan Darnell at 207-229.
Claiming fifth place in the Boys 9th and 10th Grade Division were Dixon WC’s Jack Ragan at 101-106, BullTrained’s Paxton Crane at 108-118, University High’s Joshua Butler at 115-128, Alber Athletics’ Landon Blanton at 117-125, Illinois Cornstars’ Luke Munsterman at 119-122, Olympus’ Blaine Kimery at 125-131, Elmhurst’s Robert Martinelli at 132-140, Naperville North’s Benjamin Messier at 133-140, Shelbyville Junior WC’s Nate Sanders at 140-148, Mahomet-Seymour’s A.J. Demos at 143-156, Camp Point’s Konnor Bush at 148-163, Kewanee’s Benjamin Taylor at 151-157, Ascension WA’s Payton Chanerl at 163-173, Alber Athletics’ Oliver McPeek at 171-187, Roxana’s Robert Watt at 187-207 and Gladiator Elite WC’s Bryan Madinger, Jr. at 207-229.
Placing sixth in the Boys 9th and 10th Grade Division were Monmouth-Roseville’s Caleb Dillard at 101-106, Edwardsville’s Tyler Perry at 108-118, EBF Rockets’ Brett Johnson at 115-128, Mahomet-Setmour’s Colton McClure at 117-125, Sterling Elite’s Cael Lyons at 119-122, Quincy’s Wyatt Boeing at 125-131, Corn Jerkers’ Rasiah Jones at 132-140, The Foundation’s Shay Westhoff, Jr. at 133-140, PSF WA’s Kobey Elkins at 140-148, Team 312’s Van Grasser at 143-156, Quincy’s Eli Roberts at 148-163, Gladiator Elite WC’s Caden Frey at 151-157, Team Nazar’s Landon Heitmeier at 163-173, SBS’ Zakery Wrobel at 171-187, unattached Jaylen Crowder at 187-207 and Dubuque RTC’s Elijah Leota at 207-229.
Boys 7th and 8th Grade Division
Alber Athletics’ Brendan Nardin and Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders’ Dawson Mack both repeated as champions at the Midwest Nationals after taking first at their respective weight classes in the Boys 7th and 8th Grade Division. Nardin was first at 125-139 while Mack took first at 129-133.
Championship matches in the Boys 7th and 8th Grade Division featured: Illinois Cornstars’ Jake Munsterman by fall in 2:30 over Alber Athletics’ Treyden Diduch at 63-79; RT Elite’s Shane Rochon 4-0 over PSF WA’s Cohen Sweely at 103-109; Coal City’s Cooper Morris 4-0 over Team Hammer’s Luke Cline at 109-116; Cerberus’ Blake Luttell 4-1 over Alber Athletics’ Benjamin Nadig at 116-127; Demolition’s Thomas Banas 2-0 in sudden victory over Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders’ Brady Ritter at 123-133; Alber Athletics’ Brendan Nardin 4-2 over ISI’s Aiden Quevedo at 125-139; Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders’ Dawson Mack 3-1 over Beat the Streets Chicago’s Ethan Sonne at 129-133; and Lincoln-Way WC’s Ethan Harvey by fall in 2:00 over Maritime WA’s Charles O’Malley at 139-152.
The other title matches for the Boys 7th and 8th Grade Division included: Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders’ Kaden Meyer by fall in 1:41 over Morton Youth’s Colt McKee at 152-164; Red Raiders’ Carter Hintz by fall in 1:45 over Southern Illinois Bulldogs WC’s Daniel Jackson at 165-184; Delta WC’s Jeremy Carver 6-3 over Bonhomme’s Wyatt Dannegger at 80-90; The Compound’s Mason Soney 3-1 over Lincoln-Way WC’s Brady Glynn at 89-99; and Blue Line Training Academy’s Landen Vincent 4-2 over The Compound’s Landen Lage at 96-104. Top-two finishers in round robin competition were Morris’ Malachi Congo over Clifton Central’s Josh McCurry at 187-207; Southstrong’s Christopher Cali, Jr. over unattached Christopher Damitz at 215-228; and Taylorville’s Brock Walton over Calvert City’s Prosper Livingston-Holmes at 232-261.
Claiming third-place finishes in the Boys 7th and 8th Grade Division were Englewood Live Wire’s Kamari Tate at 63-79, Aviators’ Isaac Foster at 103-109, Lincoln-Way WC’s Shane Stream at 109-116, Beat the Streets’ Midway’s Josiah Willis at 116-127, Izzy Style’s Aiden Arnett at 123-133, Young Guns WC’s Chase Krantz at 125-139, EBF Rockets’ Gage Spurgeon at 129-133, Beat the Streets Midway’s Arkhail Griffin-Edwards at 139-152, Red Raiders’ Jasper Hintz at 152-164, Maritime WA’s Rage Henderson at 165-184, United Junior High’s Vann Olcott at 187-207, Iguana WC’s Zavian Turner at 215-228, Vandalia Junior High’s Brody Jay at 236-261, Alber Athletics’ Brodey Lewis at 80-90, Hurricane WC’s Jaden Bradley at 89-99 and Caravan Kids’s Justin Forbes at 96-104.
Finishing fourth in the Boys 7th and 8th Grade Division were nWo WC’s Aden Spinelli at 63-79, TJ Trained’s Cooper Chester at 103-109, AWA’s Aidan Peters at 109-116, St. Louis Warrior’s Carson Owens at 116-127, Tremont’s Trip Pitts at 123-133, Englewood Live Wire’s Davian Hall at 125-139, Crystal Lake Wizards’ Gavin Nischke at 129-133, Patton Trained’s Benjamin Mullins at 139-152, Kewanee’s Ace LaFollette at 152-164, Coal City’s Brody Dorazio at 165-184, Mahomet-Seymour’s Ashton Lamb at 187-207, Kewanee’s Juan Zepeda at 236-261, Lincoln-Way WC’s Christian Corcoran at 80-90, Rochester’s Pierce Bultmann at 89-99 and Rock Island Wrestling B&B’s Maricio Parker at 96-104.
Taking fifth in the Boys 7th and 8th Grade Division were Natural Athlete WC’s Kevin Bisonaya at 63-79, Vandalia Junior High’s Elijah Mabry at 103-109, Fort Zumwalt’s Patrick Provost at 109-116, Izzy Style’s Brock Claypool at 116-127, Kell Bros.’ Brody Kell at 123-133, The Compound’s Brayden Manning at 125-139, Team Nazar’s Tavin Bomkamp at 129-133, Olympia’s Kaden Collins at 139-152, Mt. Zion Kids WC’s Hunter Swaggerty at 152-164, Republic West’s Ethan Montiel at 165-184, Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders’ Julian Medina at 80-90, Blue Line Training’s Rhyis Polenske at 89-99 and Hurricane WC’s Julian Hernandez at 96-104.
Placing sixth in the Boys 7th and 8th Grade Division were Mahomet-Seymour’s Myles Hartzler at 63-79, Mt. Zion’s Sammy Toth at 103-109, Aviators’ Jayden Cornell at 109-116, Yorkville WC’s Joshua Stockl at 116-127, Team Nazar’s Mason Boulanger at 123-133, Alber Athletics’ Samuel Sikora at 125-139, Downers Grove WC’s Christian Chiarelli at 129-133, Decatur LSA’s Caleb Berg at 139-152, Alber Athletics’ Noah Stout at 152-164, Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders’ Noah Greene at 165-184, Rock Island Wrestling B&B’s Angelo Parker at 80-90, Olympus’ Christopher Moore at 89-99 and Relentless’ Camden Spiniolas at 96-104.
Boys 5th and 6th Grade Division
The Compound’s Cameron Ramp won a championship at the Midwest Nationals for the third year in a row after finishing first at 66-73 in the Boys 5th and 6th Grade Division. He won titles in both the Boys 5th and 6th Grade and 3rd and 4th Grade Divisions in 2022 and 2021 in the event to give him a total of five in the past three years.
Championship matches for the Boys 5th and 6th Grade Division featured: Englewood Live Wire’s Giovanni Nix 18-5 over St. Louis Warrior’s Miguel Sanders at 59-66; The Compound’s Cameron Ramp by fall in 2:32 over Young Guns’ Colt Roeder at 66-73; The Compound’s Connor Collins 5-1 over The Compound’s Isaac Showalter at 74-78; St. Louis Warrior’s Dominick Turner 7-0 over Demolition’s Cole Lemberg at 76-82; Beat the Street Midway’s Obadiah Willis by fall in 0:53 over Alber Athletics’ Maddux Rabczak at 83-88; and Toss Em Up WA’s Kiernan Delaney 6-0 over Combative Sports’ Carl Weidner at 88-97.
Other title matches for the Boys 5th and 6th Grade Division included: Patton Trained’s Rylan Poeta 4-0 over Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders’ Lincoln Mack at 97-105; nWo WC’s Maximus Pearch by fall in 2:00 over Mt. Zion Kids WC’s Connor Misner at 106-117; and Maritime WA’s Titan Henderson by fall in 1:33 over Built by Brunson’s Owen Floral at 119-131. Top two placers in round robin were Quincy’s Harlin Derhake over Demolition’s Dominic Airoldi at 147-157; and unattached Jacob Pyles over Eureka’s Jackson Schneider at 158-165.
Third-place finishers for Boys 5th and 6th Grade Division were Southern Illinois Bulldogs’ Cobey Stulce at 59-66, St. Louis Warrior’s Cahree Smart at 66-73, ISI’s Kaden Joustra at 74-78, Purler’s Jaxon Jundt at 76-82, Alber Athletics’ Landon Jaski at 83-88, Maritime WA’s Case Simmons at 88-97, Alber Athletics’ Tavarius Briar at 97-105, Aviators’ Isaac Foster at 106-117, Jr. Pirates’ Trevor Henning at 119-131 and Lion’s Den WA’s Cameron Travis at 158-165.
Taking fourth in the Boys 5th and 6th Grade Division were Gladiator Elite WC’s Camden Chapman at 59-66, St. Louis Warrior’s Braden Edwards at 66-73, Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders’ Daniel Macatangay at 74-78, Alber Athletics’ Elijah Nadig at 76-82, Mt. Zion Kids WC’s Maison Chandler at 83-88, Oregon’s Carson Benesh at 88-97, Crystal Lake Wizards’ Mason Porten at 97-105, Ellsworth RTC’s Jase Ites at 106-117 and Alber Athletics’ Briar McPeek at 119-131.
Fifth-place finishers in the Boys 5th and 6th Grade Division were FZS Bulldogs’ Everett Hebisen at 59-66, Oak Forest Warriors’ Alejandro Gomez at 66-73, Republic West’s Matthew Anderson at 74-78, Riverdale’s Cole Smith at 76-82, Toss Em Up WA’s Diego Rea at 83-88, Region WA’s Ethan Alvarez at 88-97, Alton Little Redbirds’ Jacob Sutphin at 97-105, First There’s Jordan Bradley at 106-117 and Harvard WC’s Colton Moreno at 119-131.
Taking sixth place in the Boys 5th and 6th Grade Division were G2’s Bryce Westerberg at 59-66, Milford’s Greyson Tracy at 66-73, Dwight’s Alex Lapitan at 74-78, Ironhawk’s Nolan Pehrson at 76-82, ISI’s Hayden Bessette at 83-88, Alber Athletics’ Torin McPeek at 88-97, Southern Illinois Bulldogs WC’s Dominic Goodman at 97-105, Sparta Jr. Bulldogs’ Braxton Glodo at 106-117 and Waukegan Bulldog Elite’s Liam Scholle at 119-131.
Boys 3rd and 4th Grade Division
The Compound’s Kellan Spisok was a champion at the Midwest Nationals for the third year in a row after taking first place at 77-85 in the Boys 3rd and 4th Grade Division.
Title matches in the Boys 3rd and 4th Grade Division included: Alber Athletics’ Ethan Wagner 4-0 over Demolition’s Wyatt McClain at 52-58; The Compound’s Kellan Spisok 6-0 over The Compound’s Colton Zabinski at 77-85; Alber Athletics’ William Zapf 7-0 over Alber Athletics’ Dominic Englese at 87-96; Ringers’ Ian Weber 9-3 over Martin Mean Machine’s Landon Belka at 59-65; St. Louis Warrior’s Landon Edwards 6-0over unattached BrocLee Butman at 66-70; and St. Louis Warriors’ Cayden Mango by fall in 0:39 over Team Owls’ Treyten Embrey at 69-77.
Finishing in the top-two in round robin competition in the Boys 3rd and 4th Grade Division were Cincinnati Elite WA’s Charlie Maiani over Moline’s Noble Steen at 118-123; Taylorville’s Jack Donovan over McHenry WC’s Andrew Phillips at 127-134; and Lion Den WA’s Cameron Travis won the title at 158-158.
Claiming third place in the Boys 3rd and 4th Grade Division were The Compound’s Kayleigh Vest at 52-58, FH Jr. Viking’s Maxwell Corley at 77-85, Palmyra Youth WC’s Keynu Neiswender at 87-96, Vandalia Junior High’s Craig Jay at 118-123, Lion’s Den WA’s Scott Kilmer at 59-65, The Compound’s Kolt Palmer at 66-70 and ISI’s Gideon Ayers at 69-77.
Finishing in fourth place in the Boys 3rd and 4th Grade Division were Southern Illinois Bulldogs WC’s Degan Stulce at 52-58, Alton Little Redbirds’ Liam Darr at 77-85, PSF WA’s Matthew Smith at 87-96, The Compound’s Drake Melton at 59-65, Raise the Level WC’s Dreyden Simpson at 66-70 and Force Elite WC’s Oz Bellamy at 69-77.
Finishing in fifth place in the Boys 3rd and 4th Grade Division were St. Louis Warrior’s Chasen Burke at 52-58 and Raheem Busby at 77-85, Quincy’s Bryar Smith at 87-96, Lincoln-Way WC’s Michael Fangerow at 59-65, Toss Em Up WA’s Malik Mayfield at 66-70 and Trevian WC’s Landon Delisi at 69-77.
Taking sixth in the Boys 3rd and 4th Grade Division were Sandwich Little Indians’ Blakley Richards at 52-58, Beat the Streets Midway’s Ezekiel Willis at 77-85, Ellsworth RTC’s Jarrett Ites at 87-96, The Compound’s Jett Fenton at 59-65, Tinley Park Bulldogs WC’s Nolan Guisinger at 66-70 and Barrington Broncos WC’s Ben Gellings at 69-77.
Boys 1st and 2nd Grade Division
Built by Brunson’s Welles Projansky repeated as a champion at the Midwest Nationals after taking top honors at 89-100 in the Boys 1st and 2nd Grade Division.
Championship matches for the Boys 1st and 2nd Grade Division featured: Built by Brunson’s Anthony Ragona by fall in 0:26 over Fulton WC’s Ryland Ferguson at 50-55; Collum Trained’s Cameron Donaldson by fall in 1:44 over Lawrence County Knights’ Quinten Shaffer at 54-60; The Compound’s Jack Wachstetter by fall in 1:10 over Combative Sports’ Kal Thompson at 59-62; Force Elite’s Oz Bellamy 8-2 over PSF WA’s Sloan Sears at 62-70; Little Celtics’ Jeremiah Hosman by fall in 2:13 over Little Celtics’ William Fitzgerald at 44-49; Southern Illinois Bulldogs WC’s Thomas Reis by fall in 1:52 over Stillman Valley’s Evan Ross at 46-50; and Alber Athletics’ Phinehas Nadig 4-2 in sudden victory over Hoopeston Area WC’s Vincent Englese at 70-80.
Top-two finishers in round robin competition in the Boys 1st and 2nd Grade Division were: Belleville Little Devils’ Vaughn Seibel over Renegades’ Sam Smith at 36-40; Hoopeston Area WC’s Joseph Englese over Raise The Level WC’s Kingston Simms at 80-84; Built by Brunson’s Welles Projansky over unattached Callen Coffman at 89-100; and Belleville Little Devils’ Tyson Sebel took first place at 128-128.
Third-place finishes in the Boys 1st and 2nd Grade Division were turned in by The Compound’s Izaiah Hernandez at 36-40, Lincoln-Way WC’s Thomas Van Tilburg at 50-55, Roxana WC’s Gunner Marshall at 54-60, SJO Youth WC’s Tyson Jones at 59-62, Belvidere Bandits’ Jackson Moreno at 62-70, Gladiator Elite WC’s Jameson Chapman at 44-49, SJO Youth WC’s Carson Gallo at 46-50, Built by Brunson’s Liam Lee at 70-80, Hononegah WC’s Levi Stott at 80-84 and Dwight’s Hunter Lindsey at 89-100.
Finishing fourth in the Boys 1st and 2nd Grade Division were Legends of Gold’s Crew Bullerman at 50-55, Built by Brunson’s Lincoln Projansky at 54-60, Yorkville WC’s Asher Garretson at 59-62, St. Louis Warrior’s Cahlil Powell at 62-70, SJO Youth WC’s Axel Graves at 44-49, Alber Athletics’ Hiro Hongmoungkhoune at 46-50, Tinley Park Bulldogs WC’s Luke Schau at 70-80 and Litchfield’s Mack Younker at 80-84.
Taking fifth place in the Boys 1st and 2nd Grade Division were Sauk Valley WC’s Jack DeGroot at 50-55, SJO Youth WC’s Jack Gorman at 54-60, Palmyra Youth WC’s Ely Rose at 59-62, Fort Zumwalt’s Jax Kiethline at 62-70, Flight Company USA’s Sawyer Wankowski at 44-49, Urbana Tigers WC’s Andre McGuire at 46-50 and Petersburg WC’s Leonidas Calhoun at 70-80.
Finishing in sixth place in the Boys 1st and 2nd Grade Division were Flight Company USA’s Brodey Green at 50-55, Sauk Valley WC’s Easton Benyo at 54-60, nWo WC’s Zach Caputo at 59-62, Region WA’s Anthony Quiroz at 62-70, River Bend WC’s Graham Terry at 44-49, Yorkville WC’s Beckam Velarde at 46-50 and Belvidere Bandits’ Conrad Barber.
Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division
Highland Bulldogs Jr. Wrestling’s August Rottmann took top honors at 151-168 in the Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division to give her one of her three titles for the day with the others coming at 165-177 in the Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division and at 158-165 in the Women’s College/Open Division.
Here are the Illinois champions and results of the title matches as well as the placewinners in the Midwest Nationals Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division:
101-111 – Bailey Lusch, Unattached
Top two finishers in round robin competition for the Girls 11th and 12 Grade Division at 101-111 were unattached Bailey Lusch over Illinois Cornstars’ Averi Colela.
Lusch, who will be a senior at East Peoria, went 15-7 in 2023 and lost in the semifinals of the IHSA Finals to the eventual 105 champion, Loyola Academy’s Harlee Hiller, before taking sixth place and finishing with a 15-7 record. And she took fifth place in the initial IHSA Finals in 2022 at 105 to cap a 19-19 season. She is the fifth wrestler from her school to win two state medals and hopes to become the first Raider to be a three-time all-stater and their second state champion.
136-148 – Mannie Anderson, Conant
The top-two finishers in round robin competition at 136-148 for the Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division were Conant’s Mannie Anderson over Morton’s Faith Comas.
Anderson, a 2023 graduate of Conant, lost in the semifinals and took fifth place at 135 at the IHSA Finals to finish with a 35-6 record. She also placed sixth at 135 in the inaugural IHSA Finals in 2022 to conclude a 14-6 season.
151-168 – August Rottmann, Highland Bulldogs Jr. Wrestling
The top-two finishers in round robin competition at 151-168 in the Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division were Highland Bulldogs Jr. Wrestling’s August Rottmann over Blue Crew Wrestling Club’s Autumne Williams. The two also met up in the Women’s College/Open Division at 158-165 with Rottman taking first over Williams in the round robin competition. Rottmann hopes to join Tanner Farmer as a two-time state champion for the Bulldogs and become the first Highland wrestler to be a three-time all-stater.
Rottmann, who will be a junior at Highland, capped a 21-1 season in 2023 by capturing the IHSA championship at 170. In the inaugural IHSA Finals in 2022, Rottmann lost in the semifinals to the eventual 170 champion, Hononegah’s Rose Cassioppi, and wound up finishing third to finish with a 22-15 record. On March 5, she took second to Williams, who will be a junior at Limestone, at 164 In the 16U Division of the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals.
221-226 – Chloe Hoselton, The Compound
The top-two finishers in round robin competition at 221-226 in the Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division were The Compound’s Chloe Hoselton over unattached Peyton Kueltzo. Hoselton, who will be a junior at Prairie Central, took second place at 225 in the Junior Division of the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals on March 5.
In other 11th and 12th Grade Girls championship matches, Elite’s Paola Villarruel won by fall in 1:59 over University High School’s Allison Kroesch at 117-124. And Northwest Lions Wrestling’s Abby Chandler won in round robin competition at 196-203 over Conant’s Rye Reyes.
Taking third place in the Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division were Northwest Lions’s Sara Keeton at 101-111, Dee-Mack’s Josie Barham at 117-124, The Compound’s Jordan Bicknell at 136-148, Bolingbrook Jr. Raiders’ Cheya Bishop at 151-168 and Northwest’s Katelyn Kiefer at 221-225.
Finishing fourth in the Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division were unattached Anna Miloncus at 117-124, Cumberland’s Natalie Beaumont at 136-148 and Richwoods’ Nakiza Williams at 151-168. Taking fifth place in the Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division was Conant’s Beth Ciavarella at 117-124 and placing sixth in the Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division was Dubuque RTC’s Camryn Lippens at 117-124.
Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division
Mt. Zion Wrestling’s Sydney Cannon took top honors at 110-123 in the Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division and Ironhawks’ Abbrie Pehrson took first at 124-135 in the same division to win Midwest Nationals titles for the second year in a row.
Here’s a breakdown of the Illinois champions as well as a summary of all of the title matches and placewinners in the Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division.
98-109 – Kiely Domyancich, Illinois Cornstars
Illinois Cornstars’ Kiely Domyancich won by fall in 1:16 over Streator’s Lily Gwaltney at 98-109 in the Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division.
Domyancich, who will be a sophomore at LaSalle-Peru, became her school’s first state qualifier. She advanced to the IHSA Finals at 100 and finished with a 10-6 record in her debut season.
110-123 – Sydney Cannon, Mt. Zion Wrestling
Mt. Zion Wrestling’s Sydney Cannon won by fall in 1:29 over Ironhawk’s Mileena Notaro by fall in 1:29 at 110-123 in the Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division; Cannon also took second place in the Women’s College/Open Division at 116-127 to Young Guns Wrestling Club’s Natalie Majer.
Cannon, who will be a sophomore at Mt. Zion, capped a 45-3 season when she lost in the IHSA semifinals at 110 before claiming a third-place finish to become her program’s first state medalist. She hopes to become the fourth wrestler from her school to win a state title. Cannon also won a title at the Midwest Nationals in 2018 when she placed first at 64-71 in the 3rd through 5th Grade Division. On March 5, she took sixth at 117 in the 16U Division of the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals.
“It helps me to find what I need to work on for getting ready for Fargo and what I’m going to be using a lot more,” Cannon said. “I definitely prepared coming into this tournament with all of my practice during the offseason with my team and being able to travel and just get more competition from girls from across the country. It was nice to win my high school division and see how I’ll do next season against some of these girls. When I was younger, there were barely any girls at all, so seeing how far we’ve come in just a few years is incredible.”
136-152 – Sophie Bowers, PSF Wrestling Academy
PSF Wrestling Academy’s Sophie Bowers won by fall in 1:55 over Cumberland’s Natalie Beaumont at 136-152 in the Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division.
Bowers, who’s a junior at Vandalia, went 43-13 in 2022 and not only qualified for the IHSA Class 1A Boys Finals in Champaign but also helped the Vandals to a spot in the IHSA Dual Team Finals. She also won Midwest National titles in 2021 at 114-119 in 6th through 8th Grade and in 2018 at 73-80 in 3rd through 5th Grade.
165-177 – August Rottmann, Highland Bulldog Jr. Wrestling
The top-two finishers in round robin competition for the Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division at 165-177 were Highland Bulldog Jr. Wrestling’s August Rottmann over Dubuque RTC’s Bailey Herr.
It was one of three championships that Rottman, a junior at Highland who took first place at 170 in the 2023 IHSA Finals, won during the competition. The others were the Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division at 151-168 and the Women’s College/Open Division at 158-165, each time finishing ahead of Blue Crew Wrestling Club’s Autumne Williams.
The other championship match of the Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division was Ironhawks’ Aubrie Pehrson by fall in 3:32 over The Compound’s Avery Crouch at 124-135.
Taking third place in the Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division were RPA Florida’s Fallon Dames at 98-109, Litchfield’s Rilynn Younker at 110-123, PAC’s Karen Canchola at 124-135, Hawk Style’s Abigail Ji at 136-152 and Conant’s Anaelise Aberman at 165-177.
Finishing in fourth place in the Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division were Hustisford’s Adalyn Raue at 98-109, ISI’s Jaelyn Brumfield at 110-123, Clarke’s Eleanor Shinn at 124-135 and Glenwood’s Jenna Tuxhorn at 136-152.
Fifth-place finishers in the Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division were unattached Candace Calvert at 98-109, Sterling Elite’s Cammyla Macias at 110-123, unattached Kiana Mayne at 124-135 and Storm WC’s Taylor Owens at 136-152.
And claiming sixth-place finishes in the Girls 9th and 10th Grade Division were Streator’s Isabel Gwaltney at 98-109, Republic West’s Anna McBroom at 110-123, Conant’s Jasmine Zavaleta at 124-135 and Illinois Cornstars’ Samantha Greisen at 136-152.
Girls 7th and 8th Grade Division
Alber Athletic’s Saya Hongmoungkhoune took first place at 84-98 in the Girls 7th and 8th Grade Division to win a title at the Midwest Nationals for the second year in a row.
Finishing first or second in round robin competition in the Girls 7th and 8th Grade Division were The Compound’s Avery Crouch over Lisle’s Sophie Crescenzo at 122-130, ISI’s Allison Garbacz over Southern Illinois Bulldogs WC’s Scarlett Gentille at 135-140, Sarbacker WA’s Amelia Soltis over Highland Bulldog Jr.’s Nina Landmann at 141-155, Alber Athletics’ Saya Hongmoungkhoune over RPA Florida’s Fallon Dames at 84-98, Litchfield’s Rilynn Younker over Metamora WC’s Calliope Willman at 101-110 and EBF Rockets’ Kate Krause over Jefferson WC’s Zoe Ruhland at 115-119.
Taking third in the Girls 7th and 8th Grade Division were Aurora WC’s Valentina Barboza at 122-130, Alber Athletics’ Piper Sandell at 135-140, Lion’s Den WA’s Hannah Gonzalez at 101-110 and Zion Edmonds at 115-119. Finishing fourth in the Girls 7th and 8th Grade Division were Purler’s Reese Blount at 122-130, Toss Em Up WA’s Aaliyah Vazquez at 135-140 and 217 Elite’s Lucie Eisenbarth at 115-119. And placing fifth in the Girls 7th and 8th Grade Division was RWC’s Isabella Resendez at 122-130.
Girls 5th and 6th Grade Division
Placing in the top-two in round robin competition in the Girls 5th and 6th Grade Division were unattached Cha Cha Little over Olympia’s Chloe Collins at 68-71, G2’s Kennedy Hogan over ISI’s Kali DeClercq at 73-81, Storm WC’s Mya Owens over Petersburg WC’s Lila Calhoun at 88-92, Metamora Kids WC’s Calliope Willman over Toss Em Up WA’s Marissa Mayfield at 101-106, Kewanee’s Aaliyah Swearingen over The Compound’s Khloe Wright at 114-121 and Alber Athletics’ Piper Sandell at 135-135.
Taking third in the Gils 5th and 6th Grade Division were Concordia WC’s Lucy Hancock at 68-71, Bulls WC’s Elise Slaten at 73-81, Republic West’s Mabel Rogers at 88-92 and Heyworth’s Celie Ernst at 101-106. Finishing fourth in the Girls 5th and 6th Grade Division were Natural Athlete WC’s Elizabeth Bisonaya at 68-71, Hawks WC’s Kendra Ege at 73-81 and ISI’s Annabelle Mueller at 88-92.
Girls 3rd and 4th Grade Division
Top-two finishers in round robin competition in the Girls 3rd and 4th Grade Division were The Compound’s Kayleigh Vest over Bulls WC’s Bailey Flanigan at 53-62, Palmyra Youth WC’s Kinsley Rife over Tinley Park Bulldogs WC’s Fiona Guisinger at 69-79 and Palmyra Youth WC’s Ava Rife over RWC’s Ella Anderson at 85-102.
Taking third place in the Girls 3rd and 4th Grade Division were The Compound’s Stella Eimer at 53-62, Combative Sports’ Aubree Thompson at 69-79 and ISI’s Francesca Yurs at 85-102.
Finishing fourth in the Girls 3rd and 4th Grade Division were Renegades’ Marlee Krippendorf at 53-62, Columbus East WC’s Jody Shuler at 69-79 and Oregon’s Raya Windham at 85-102. Placing fifth in the Girls 3rd and 4th Grade Division were The Compound’s Faith Gharrett at 53-62 and Olympia’s Teagan Phillips at 69-79. And taking sixth in the Girls 3rd and 4th Grade Division was Northwest Lions’ Linzee Mason at 69-79.
Girls 1st and 2nd Grade Division
Top-two finishers in round robin competition in the Girls 1st and 2nd Grade Division were Blackman WC’s Dixie Beasley over Built by Brunson’s Adalyn Albavera at 44-54, Derby WC’s Jentry Lyden over Contenders WA’s Kennedy Wheeler at 60-64, RWC’s Aryana Resendez over Belvidere Bandits’ Ava Barber at 69-72 and Oregon’s Raya Windham at 87-87.
Taking third place in the Girls 1st and 2nd Grade Division were Shelbyville Jr. WC’s Cale Duckett at 44-54 and Dwight’s Kaylee Lapitan at 60-64, Finishing fourth in the Girls 1st and 2nd Grade Division were Conant’s Megan Goolish at 44-54 and Force Elite’s Londyn Bellamy at 60-64. And placing fifth in the Girls 1st and 2nd Grade Division were SJO Youth WC’s Kayelyn Lee at 44-54 and Lion’s Den WA’s Calli Hickman at 60-64.
Men’s College/Open Division
PSF Wrestling Academy’s Alejandro Wajner won 10-1 over Westville’s Austin Hedrick at 171-184 and PSF Wrestling Academy”s Michael Pixley won by fall in 0:54 over Morris’ Trevor Albert at 207-221.
Both of the champions coach at Mt. Vernon, along with Tad Cravens, who also competed in the Men’s College/Open Division. This past season, the Rams, with Wajner as their head coach, won their first regional championship since 1995.
July 1 was the first anniversary of the founding of PSF Wrestling. Being the top scoring teams in both the Boys 9th and 10th Grade Division as well as the Men’s College/Open Division and also having the third-highest overall total of all clubs at the Midwest Nationals were obviously notable achievements considering the brief amount of time that the club has been in operation.
The club hopes to change the mindset of athletes at southern Illinois schools that have been known for their basketball success during the winter, which certainly includes Mt. Vernon, which is one of the state’s winningest programs.
“We’re very privileged to have the opportunities that we have,” Wajner said. “All three of us wrestled in college and in high school and we’re giving every bit of knowledge that we have to these kids to make sure that they’re successful. And the fact that we’re only in year one in our academy shows that we’re just getting started. We plan on covering as many basketball courts with wrestling mats as we can and we’re going to try to get as many Southern IIIllinois kids as we can on top of that podium at state.”
Dubuque RTC’s Eli Pannell won by fall in 0:43 over Cap Daddy’s Mitch Morris at 224-296. Pannell,who won an IHSA Class 1A title while at Fulton, has competed at Wartburg College. But now he will compete at Dubuque University along with his brother Zane, a recent Fulton graduate, who also placed in the tournament.
“It’s awesome to be competing,” Pannell said. “I haven’t competed in Folkstyle in awhile. I’m pretty good at Greco, and that’s probably my favorite style. My first match was a little rough, but the ones that followed were a lot better. I’m getting better every day. We’ll both be at Dubuque and I want my brother to be a four-timer and I’m going to make sure that he does the things he needs to do.”
Other championship matches of the Men’s College/Open Division featured: Eureka’s Jake Jozwiak 5-0 over PSF Matmonks’ Cam Lee at 119-132, Iguana WC’s Savion Haywood by fall in 3:55 over PSF WA’s Jason Shaw at 135-150; Brawlers’ Anthony Rink 14-0 over Old Man WC’s Jordan Carson at 151-158; Southstrong’s Jimmy McAuliffe 13-6 over G2’s Kevin Hogan at 160-171 and Morton’s Nicolas White 3-2 over Cap Daddy’s Danny Balderas at 184-198.
Third-place finishers in the Men’s College/Open Division were FZS’s Ben Lindley at 119-132, Beat the Streets Midway’s Micah Willis at 135-150, Alber Athletics’ Caleb Nadig at 151-158, Sauk Valley WC’s Brody Ivey at 160-171, Rockford’s Jenner Hecox at 171-184, Dubuque RTC’s Porfirio Perez at 184-198, Greg Gomez Trained Philip Dozier at 207-221 and Cap Daddy’s Joey Caprio at 224-296.
Finishing fourth in the Men’s College/Open Division were One Unity WA’s Jorduan Griffin at 119-132, Comets WC’s Jason Strope at 135-150, Hurricane WC’s Blake McGee at 151-158, Morton’s Shamar Pugh at 160-171, Fort Zumwalt’s Chance Cole at 171-184, Beat the Streets Midway’s Jackson Willis at 184-198, Omega’s Geoffrey Cagle at 207-221 and Oswn’s Dylan Cooper at 224-296.
Placing fifth in the Men’s College/Open Division were North Central’s Cameron Phillips at 119-132, Elk Grove Village’s Daniel Gaskill at 135-150, Eierman Elite WC’s Wyatt Cooley at 151-158, One Unit WA’s Micah Dennis at 160-171, PSF WA’s Tad Cravens at 171-184, Dubuque RTC’s Zane Pannell at 184-198, Murphysboro’s Andrew Hopkins at 207-221 and Morton’s Myles Yorke at 224-296.
Women’s College/Open Division
Top-two finishers in round robin competition in the Women’s College/Open Division were TF South’s Dutchess King over Beat the Streets Chicago’s Mya Downs at 88-102, Young Guns WC’s Natalie Majer over Mt. Zion’s Sydney Cannon at 116-127, The Compound’s Valerie Hamilton over Young Guns WC’s Nadia Flores at 138-142 and Highland Bulldogs Jr. Wrestling’s August Rottmann over Blue Crew WC’s Autumne Williams at 158-165.
Hamilton, who will be a senior at El Paso-Gridley, is a nationally-ranked competitor who won championships in three divisions at the last year’s Midwest Nationals, 9th and 10th Grade at 130-139, 11th and 12th Grade at 130-141 and Women’s College/Open at 118-130 in addition to winning titles for grades 6th through 8th in both 2018 and 2019. She has won six titles and placed three other times in the event.
Hamilton and Batavia’s Sydney Perry met in last year’s historic IHSA title match at 145, where two of the nation’s best clashed when they were both allowed to compete in the tournament after originally being excluded. Perry, who was a champion at 145 in the inaugural IHSA Finals in 2022, captured a 7-4 victory to cap a 34-0 season while Hamilton suffered her lone loss in seven matches. On March 5, Hamilton won the title at 138 in the Junior Division of the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals.
Rottmann, a 2023 IHSA champion at 170 who went 21-1 this season and also was a third-place finisher at 170 in the IHSA Finals in 2022, is a junior at Highland. She won three titles at the Midwest Nationals, also taking first in the Girls 9th and 10th Division at 165-177 and in the Girls 11th and 12th Grade Division at 151-168.
Taking third place in the Women’s College/Open Division were Morton’s Evelyn Simon at 116-127, Badgers’ Olga Turiy at 138-142 and Young Guns WC’s Adele Senzig at 158-165. And finishing fourth in the Women’s College/Open Division were Alpha WA’s Stephanie Nadig at 116-127 and unattached Basil Kiracofe at 138-142.
By Curt Herron
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association’s 27th Annual Freshman/Sophomore State Championships was again a huge success as freshmen and sophomore boys representing 208 schools competed at the Bank of Springfield Center.
Over 2,300 boys participated in the event which covered three weekends and featured 16 regionals that fed into eight sectionals which then established the final field of state qualifiers that sought the eight medals which would be awarded at each of the 15 weight classes.
When the finals were complete, 14 schools had champions with only one having two title winners, Warren Township.
Winning titles for the Blue Devils were sophomores Justice Humphreys at 152 and Anthony Soto at 220. Warren Township, which is coached by Brad Janecek, made history this season by advancing to the IHSA Class 3A Dual Team Finals for the first time.
Other sophomores who won championships were Mount Carmel’s Kavel Moore at 106, Carl Sandburg’s Madden Parker at 113, Naperville North’s Tyler Sternstein at 120, Schaumburg’s Callen Kirchner at 126, Lincoln-Way East’s Brayden Mortell at 132, Glenbard North’s Rylan Kradle at 138, Hononegah’s Connor Diemel at 145, Plainfield South’s Colin Bickett at 160 and Lincoln-Way West’s Nathan Elstner at 182.
Freshmen who won championships were Normal Community’s Jackson Soney at 101, Joliet Catholic Academy’s Maximus Vela at 170, Marmion Academy’s Joseph Favia at 195 and Quincy Senior’s Todd Smith at 285.
Mortell led the way for Lincoln-Way East, which had the most medal winners with five, which was two more than any other team had. The Griffins qualified seven individuals for the championships. Beside Mortell, other medal winners for coach Kevin Rockett’s team were Jackson Zaeske (second at 160), Kaidge Richardson (fourth at 120), Ryan Stingily (fourth at 285) and Declan Dircks (sixth at 152).
Five teams finished with three medal winners, Crystal Lake Central (coached by Justen Lehr), Hononegah (coached by Tyler Demoss), Jacksonville (coached by Dustin Secrist), Lincoln-Way West (coached by Brian Glynn) and Marmion Academy (coached by Anthony Cirrincione). Jacksonville, which qualified for dual team state for the first time, and Marmion Academy, the runner-up to St. Charles East in Class 3A, both only had three qualifiers in the competition.
Individuals claiming second-place finishes were Washington’s Symon Woods at 101, Lockport Township’s Isaac Zimmerman at 106, Hersey’s Anthony Orozco at 113, Stevenson’s Shawn Kogan at 120, Grant’s Erik Rodriguez at 126, Belleville West’s Aiden Colbert at 132, Crystal Lake Central’s Dominic Vitale at 138 and St. Charles East’s Ryan McGovern at 145.
Others who took second place were Belleville East’s Terence Willis at 152, Lincoln-Way East’s Jackson Zaeske at 160, Lena-Winslow/Stockton’s Eli Larson at 170, Springfield High’s Keyshaun Harris at 182, Highland’s Ashton Zobrist at 195, Crystal Lake Central’s Thomas McNeil at 220 and Jacksonville’s Aiden Surratt at 285.
Finishing in third place were Oswego East’s Nico Harris at 101, Lyons Township’s Griff Powell at 106, Tremont’s Dylan Eimer at 113, Prairie Ridge’s Mikey Meade at 120, Glenbard West’s Ulises Rosas at 126, Marmion Academy’s Ashton Hobson at 132, Wheaton North’s Thomas Fulton at 138 and Yorkville’s Caleb Viscogliosi at 145.
Others who claimed third-place finishes were Mount Carmel’s Kevin Kalchbrenner at 152, Lockport Township’s Durango Valles at 160, Belleville West’s Ethan Hofmeister at 170, Pittsfield’s Tucker Cook at 182, Marmion Academy’s Mateusz Nycz at 195, Oak Park and River Forest’s Eric Harris at 220 and East Peoria’s Jose Deltoro at 285.
Finishing in fourth place were Normal West’s Ruben Rivera at 101, Cary-Grove’s Hunter Lenz at 106, Sterling’s Zyan Westbrook at 113, Lincoln-Way East’s Kaidge Richardson at 120, Granite City’s Brenden Rayl at 126, Highland Park’s Nathan Ferrari at 132, Roxana’s Lyndon Thies at 138 and Quincy Senior’s Gunnar Derhake at 145.
Also claiming fourth-place finishes were Camp Point Central’s Konnor Bush at 152, Rockridge’s Ryan Lower at 160, Clinton’s Kristian Hibbard at 170, Edwardsville’s Simon Schulte at 182, Waukegan’s Lamero Caesar at 195, Neuqua Valley’s Magomed Nurudinov at 220 and Lincoln-Way East’s Ryan Stingily at 285.
Individuals who took fifth place were Morris’ Owen Sater at 101, Crystal Lake Central’s Payton Ramsey at 106, Bolingbrook’s Jared Craig at 113, Moline’s Dominick Diaz at 120, Oswego’s Brayden Swanson at 126, Waubonsie Valley’s Elias Gonzalez at 132, Belvidere’s Dominick Girardin at 138 and Hononegah’s Maximus Haskins at 145.
Others who finished fifth were Wheaton North’s Julian Flores at 152, Lena-Winslow/Stockton’s Oliver McPeek at 160, Lincoln-Way West’s Jimmy Talley at 170, Vandalia’s Kaden Tidwell at 182, Quincy Notre Dame’s Ryan Darnell at 195, Loyola Academy’s Joey Herbert at 220 and Granite City’s Demarco Clark at 285.
Claiming sixth-place finishes were Taft’s Bernardo Roque at 101, Normal West’s Dylan McGrew at 106, Glenbard East’s Ismael Chaidez at 113, Bremen’s Elijiah Wofford at 120, Stillman Valley’s Henry Hildreth at 126, Schaumburg’s Rocco Fontela at 132, Coal City’s Mason Garner at 138 and Belleville East’s Braden Kelly at 145.
Also finishing sixth were Lincoln-Way East’s Declan Dircks at 152, McHenry’s Aiden Fischler at 160, Bloomington’s Kenner Bye at 170, Plano’s Richie Amakiri at 182, Johnsburg’s CJ Ameachi at 195, St. Charles East’s Anthony Lobrillo at 220 and Oregon’s Briggs Sellers at 285.
Finishing in seventh place were Marist’s Joseph Bronske at 101, Grant’s Vince Jasinski at 106, Oswego’s Vincent Manfre at 113, Jacksonville’s Dashawn Armstrong at 120, Deerfield’s Jack Palzet at 126, West Chicago’s Donovan Avila at 132, DeKalb’s Michael Hodge III at 138 and Marist’s Kevin Tomkins at 145.
Also taking seventh place were Civic Memorial’s Luke McCoy at 152, Glenbrook North’s Shane Onixt at 160, Naperville Central’s Henry Rydwelski at 170, Coal City’s Cade Poyner at 182, Andrew’s Joe Zimmer at 195, Wheaton Warrenville South’s Ashton Kibbe at 220 and Evergreen Park’s Jeremy Gagnon at 285.
Claiming eighth place finishes were Lincoln-Way West’s Max Munn at 101, Hononegah’s Jackson Olson at 106, Lane Tech’s Alexander Valentin at 113, Oswego East’s Noah Snow at 120, DeKalb’s Ayden Shuey at 126, Edwardsville’s Logan Hiller at 132, Brother Rice’s Jack O’Connor at 138 and Washington’s Cruise Brolley at 145.
Others who took eighth place were Hampshire’s Michael Brannigan at 152, Yorkville’s Luke Chrisse at 160, Jacksonville’s Abram Davidson at 170, Mt. Zion’s Keller Stocks at 182, Zion-Benton’s Isaiah Tellado at 195, Dundee-Crown’s Teigen Moreno at 220 and Downers Grove North’s Peter Rodriguez at 285.
Here’s a breakdown of the champions of the IWCOA Freshman/Sophomore Championships and their weight classes:
101 – Jackson Soney, Normal Community
When you’re a freshman and you have a teammate at your weight class who finishes fifth in Class 3A and posts a 51-2 record, you’re not going to get much time on the mat, but practicing against Caden Correll, who won the Frosh/Soph title at 101 last season, provided Jackson Soney with plenty of confidence that he could do just as well at this Frosh/Soph Championships, and he certainly did that.
Normal Community’s Soney, who had to deal with a serious injury last summer, won the title at 101 with a fall in 1:33 over Washington’s Symon Woods. He had three other falls, pinning Taft’s Bernardo Roque in 2:56 in the semifinals, St. Rita’s Jack Hogan in 3:46 in the quarterfinals and Triad’s William Kelly.in 0:28 in his opener and he also captured a 6-2 decision over Morris’ Owen Sater.
“I was behind Caden Correll, who took fifth at state, so I wanted to come here and win and I ended up doing it,” Soney said. “Last year, I got second at state in IESA, so this has really been a journey to get back to the state title. In the summer after the state tournament, I fractured my lower back, it’s called Spondylosis. I just want people to know that if you break your arm or your leg or hurt yourself in any way that you can always come back and achieve your goals and do whatever you want. I was out for three months in the summer and I didn’t let that stop me from being where I am right now.”
Woods, a freshman for Class 2A champion Washington who went 36-16 this season, opened the competition with wins by technical fall over Stagg’s Javier Corral, Sterling’s Cael Lyons and Quincy Senior’s Hugh Sharrow before winning 8-4 in sudden victory over Normal West”s Ruben Rivera in the semifinals.
Oswego East’s Nico Harris won a 3-1 decision over Rivera to finish third, Sater was a 13-8 winner on a tiebreaker over Roque to finish fifth and Marist’s Joseph Bronske won a 7-2 decision over Lincoln-Way West’s Max Munn to claim seventh place.
106 – Kavel Moore, Mount Carmel
With state qualifier Lukas Tsirtsis at his weight class and 113 state champion Seth Mendoza and 132 state champion Sergio Lemley in the same room along with him at Mount Carmel, which captured the 2022 IHSA Class 3A title, Kavel Moore figured to be one of the contenders for top honors at the IWCOA Freshman/Sophomore Championships at 106 and he proved to be up the challenge.
Moore, a sophomore who was a member of the 2022 title team, won an 8-5 decision over Lockport Township’s Isaac Zimmerman in the 106 finals. He opened with three-straight falls, winning in 2:51 over Naperville Central’s Austin Aguinaldo, in 3:51 over Bolingbrook’s Isaac Harris and in 1:32 over Geneseo’s Tim Sebastian before winning 8-6 in sudden victory over Lyons Township’s Griff Powell.
“I’d like to thank my parents (Robert and Kyesha), because obviously without them I wouldn’t be here,” Moore said. “But especially everyone in that room, with wrestlers like Seth Mendoza and Sergio Lemley, and obviously coach Alex (Tsirtsis), who’s always pushing me to be better and getting me in shape so that I can do stuff like this.”
Zimmerman, who went 34-15 and fell one win shy of a trip to state after getting pinned in the late going at the 3A Normal Community Sectional, helped his team to a third-place finish in the Dual Team Finals. The Porters freshman opened with a 14-2 major decision over Hersey’s Riddick Variano, won by fall in 2:05 over Monmouth-Roseville’s Caleb Dillard, won by technical fall over Glenbard West’s Carson Prunty and got a pin in 2:42 over Cary-Grove’s Hunter Lenz.
Powell took third place with a 7-0 decision over Lenz. Crystal Lake Central’s Payton Ramsey claimed a 13-11 decision over Normal West’s Dylan McGrew to finish fifth and Grant’s Vince Jasinski took seventh place with a 7-6 decision over Hononegah’s Jackson Olson.
113 – Madden Parker, Carl Sandburg
After falling one win shy of a trip to state at the 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional, Madden Parker wanted to close out his season on a more positive note when he competed in the Frosh/Soph Championships and after claiming three decisions, a major decision and a win by fall, he accomplished his goal by capturing first place at 113.
Parker, a sophomore who finished with a 35-12 record and placed seventh at 106 in last year’s Frosh/Soph tournament, captured a 4-0 decision over Hersey’s Anthony Orozco in the 113 title match. After opening with a fall in 4:17 over Deerfield’s Noah Palzet, he won a 7-0 decision over Richwoods’ Gabe Robb, claimed a 4-1 decision over Glenbard East’s Ismael Chaidez and then won an 11-0 major decision in the semifinals over Sterling’s Zyan Westbrook.
“Madden wrestled a very good tournament in my opinion,” Carl Sandburg coach Clinton Polz said. “He cleaned up a lot of the areas he needed to focus on after the regular season, and it really paid off for him these last three weeks. Madden was pretty disappointed not qualifying for the IHSA state tournament this year and felt he should have been down there. I think this last weekend was a great step in the right direction for him to not only qualify next season, but hopefully be standing on the podium, as well. Madden is a great leader in our program by example, and this was just another great example of him doing that.”
Orozco, a sophomore who went 5-5 and was a member of a Huskies team that qualified for their first trip to the IHSA Dual Team Finals since 1997, won several close matches. He claimed a 2-1 win on an ultimate tiebreaker over Tremont’s Dylan Eimer in the semifinals after winning a 7-3 decision over Bolingbrook’s Jared Craig. He also claimed a 7-0 victory over Oregon’s Jackson Messenger and won a 2-0 decision over Quincy Senior’s Wyatt Boeing in his opener.
Eimer took third place after winning 16-1 by technical fall over Westbrook. In the fifth-place match, Craig prevailed 3-2 on a tiebreaker over Chaidez. And Oswego’s Vincent Manfre finished seventh with an 8-5 decision over Lane Tech’s Alexander Valentin.
120 – Tyler Sternstein, Naperville North
Tyler Sternstein was understandably disappointed after seeing a 31-11 season end one win shy of a trip to the IHSA Finals at the Class 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional. Like many others who wanted to end on a high mark, he followed several big wins with two close decisions to capture first place at 120 at the Frosh/Soph Championships.
Sternstein, a Naperville North sophomore who was at 126 in the IHSA postseason, won 6-4 in the 120 title match over Stevenson’s Shawn Kogan after winning a 3-1 decision over Prairie Ridge’s Mikey Meade in the semifinals. He opened with a fall in 0:43 over Farmington’s Caleb Showalter, won 17-2 by technical fall over Morris’ Carter Skoff and then recorded a fall in 2:26 over Moline’s Dominick Diaz.
“I came up real short in the blood round,” Sternstein said. “So I was just trying to avenge that. Winning this championship is cool but I still want to go to the IHSA and be a champion. In my freshman year, I went 0-2, this year was the blood round, so next year the goal is to make it down and hopefully place. Our program is good and our coaches are good and they always push everyone at practice to make us all better and to keep us in shape, and I couldn’t have done it without them. Every day when we do warmups, running past their records on the wall, I want to get my name up there some day. Hopefully this boosts me for next year.”
Kogan, a freshman who won 25 matches this season, only had one match that wasn’t a decision, his opener, which he won 18-8 over Normal Community’s Carter Mayes. He followed that with a 7-3 victory over Bremen’s Elijiah Wofford, a 5-2 quarterfinals victory over Oswego East’s Noah Snow and a 3-1 win by sudden victory over Lincoln-Way East’s Kaidge Richardson in the semifinals.
Meade won a 3-0 decision over Richardson to claim third place. Diaz won by medical forfeit over Wofford to finish fifth and Jacksonville’s Dashawn Armstrong claimed a 1-0 decision over Snow for seventh.
126 – Callen Kirchner, Schaumburg
After not being to accompany his brother Caden to the IHSA Finals from the Class 3A Conant Sectional due in part to troubles that he experienced to his weight, Callen Kirchner had to settle for the next best thing, which was seeing if he could close on a good note with a title at 126 at the Freshman/Sophomore Championships.
And thanks to three falls, a win by technical fall and a decision in the finals, the Schaumburg sophomore, who went 34-7 this season, did just that, capturing a 10-5 victory over Grant’s Erik Rodriguez in the 126 title match. Kirchner advanced to the finals with a fall in 4:22 over Glenbard West’s Ulises Rosas, which followed a 17-2 victory by technical fall over DeKalb’s Ayden Shuey. After opening the event with a pin in 1:31 over Lockport Township’s Anthony Diorio, Kirchner recorded a fall in 4:35 over Granite City’s Brenden Rayl.
“I decided to go 120 at the beginning of the year and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to,” Kirchner said. “But throughout the season, I just kept gaining weight and it was getting higher and higher and it was just getting tougher to make it and at sectionals, I just couldn’t perform like myself. I didn’t get what I set out for at the beginning of the season but it’s nice to be able to come here and get a title. It’s great to one of the better guys on a team that could have made it down to team state. Me, my brother Caden and Brady Phelps have all been pushing all of our teammates to work harder and to get better. And coach (Mike) LeVanti has put in a lot of work.”
Rodriguez, a freshman who finished 36-12, earned his spot on the title mat with a 9-3 decision over Stillman Valley’s Henry Hildreth. After opening with a fall in 4:06 over Maine East’s Dulguun Nyamdavaa and then a pin in 2:13 over Naperville Central’s Vincent Bern, Rodriguez won 5-2 over Lincoln-Way West’s Jakob Siwinski.
Rosas defeated Rayl 5-2 to claim third place, Oswego’s Brayden Swanson won by fall in 3:32 over Hildreth to take fifth and Deerfield’s Jack Palzet won a 5-0 decision over Shuey to finish seventh.
132 – Brayden Mortell, Lincoln-Way East
After seeing his hopes for a trip to the IHSA Finals dashed in the Class 3A Normal Community Sectional, Brayden Mortell joined four of his teammates on the awards stand as Lincoln-Way East led all schools with five medal winners at the Frosh/Soph Championships.
The Griffins sophomore, who went 23-17 this season, captured a 5-2 decision over Belleville West’s Aiden Colbert in the 132 title match. All of his five matches were decisions, including a 5-2 win over Highland Park’s Nathan Ferrari in the semifinals and a 4-2 victory just before that over Hersey’s Rodrigo Arceo. Mortell opened with a 6-1 win over Wheaton North’s Ryan Rosch before capturing an 8-4 triumph over Hononegah’s Max Aranki.
“We’re a young team,” Mortell said. ‘We just go hard every day in practice and we have great practice partners, and we just go at it every day. And we all have the same mindset on this team.”
Colbert, a sophomore who went 27-10 and fell 2-1 to Mortell in both individuals’ first match at the Normal Community Sectional, also won all of his matches by decisions. The closest was 1-0 in the semifinals over Waubonsie Valley’s Elias Gonzalez which followed a 6-0 victory over West Chicago’s Donovan Avila. After opening with a 6-0 decision over Glenbrook North’s Ebin Fladeland, Colbert claimed a 7-1 victory over Schaumburg’s Rocco Fontela.
Marmion Academy’s Ashton Hobson claimed third place after capturing an 8-7 decision over Ferrari. Gonzales took fifth place following a 2-1 win in a tiebreaker over Fontela while Avila finished seventh after claiming a 4-3 decision over Edwardsville’s Logan Hiller.
138 – Rylan Kradle, Glenbard North
After coming up one victory shy of advancing to the IHSA Class 3A Finals from the Conant Sectional at 145, Rylan Kradle was able to conclude his season in a more positive fashion after he captured the title at 138 at the Freshman/Sophomore Championships, one year after he finished in third place at 126 in the same competition.
The Glenbard North sophomore, who went 32-17 this season, defeated Crystal Lake Central’s Dominic Vitale 5-0 in the 138 title match. He advanced to the finals with a fall in 5:19 over Roxana’s Lyndon Thies after capturing a 6-2 decision in the quarterfinals over Brother Rice’s Jack O’Connor. Kradle opened with a fall in 0:58 over Glenbrook North’s Henry Hafner and followed that victory with a 10-0 major decision over Lincoln-Way East’s Rory Moran.
Vitale, a sophomore who had a 21-14 record, opened with a fall in 2:33 over Normal West’s Logan Alvarez before winning three decisions. Those were 5-1 over Lena-Winslow/Stockton’s John Mensendike, 3-0 over Plainfield Central’s Aiden Rudman and 5-3
over Wheaton North’s Thomas Fulton in the semifinals.
Fulton took third place with a 22-6 win by technical fall over Thies, Belvidere’s Dominick Girardin won a 9-3 decision over Coal City’s Mason Garner to take fifth place and DeKalb’s Michael Hodge III was a 4-2 victor by tiebreaker over O’Connor to claim seventh place.
145 – Connor Diemel, Hononegah
After seeing his dreams of an appearance in the IHSA Finals get dashed following a narrow loss in the consolation semifinals of the Class 3A Barrington Sectional, Connor Diemel sought a better conclusion to his season at the Frosh/Soph Championships.
The Hononegah sophomore, who went 32-15, took first at 145 with a 7-0 decision over St. Charles East’s Ryan McGovern. He won a 9-1 major decision over Yorkville’s Caleb Viscogliosi in the semifinals after getting a 5-1 victory over Marist’s Kevin Tomkins. Diemel opened with two falls, winning in 2:33 over Fenton’s Omar Diaz and in 1:33 over Quincy Senior’s Gunnar Derhake.
McGovern, a sophomore who was on the Saints’ 22-1 team that made their first dual team finals trip since 2001 and won their first state title with a 28-24 victory over Marmion Academy in the Class 3A championship, won 8-3 in the semifinals over Maximus Haskins to deny an all-Hononegah title match. After winning by fall in 2:40 in his opener over McHenry’s Avian Roman and claiming a 17-1 win by technical fall over Bishop McNamara’s Ethan Pfieffer, McGovern was a 10-8 winner by sudden victory over Belleville East’s Braden Kelly.
Viscogliosi edged Derhake 5-3 to claim third place, Haskins got past Kelly 4-3 to capture fifth place and Tomkins won a 9-2 decision over Washington’s Cruise Brolley to finish in seventh place.
152 – Justice Humphreys, Warren Township
After falling one win shy of a trip to the IHSA Finals at the Class 3A Barrington Sectional, Justice Humphreys was fortunate to be able to help his team advance to the Dual Team Finals for the first time, which provided plenty of motivation for him to close out with a big effort when he competed at the Frosh/Soph Championships.
Humphreys, a sophomore who went 32-17 to help Warren Township reach the quarterfinals, where it fell to eventual third-place finisher Lockport, took first place at 152 with a 3-2 win on a tiebreaker over Belleville East’s Terence Willis to become one of the Blue Devils’ two champions, with Anthony Soto later first at 220. Humphreys won a 5-3 decision over Wheaton North’s Julian Flores in the semifinals after capturing a 14-3 major decision over Civic Memorial’s Luke McCoy. He opened the tournament with two decisions, winning 7-0 over Moline’s Deanthony Simpson and 5-3 over Oswego’s Ethan Essick.
“We had a new team and we had a couple of new freshmen,” Humphreys said. “We made school history this year and I’m just excited to see what we do next year. and in years to come. The coaches pushed everybody in the room as hard as possible and I feel like that’s something that was a key factor of our success this year, it was the coaches. I’m excited for next year because the new freshmen that’s going to come up is going to see what the program is about.”
Willis, a sophomore who finished 31-11, also lost a close match in the consolation semifinals at the Class 3A Normal Community Sectional. He earned his spot in the 152 title match with a 4-2 semifinals victory over Mount Carmel’s Kevin Kalchbrenner after capturing a 13-4 win by major decision over Olympia’s Kelton Graden. Willis opened with two major decisions, winning 18-7 over St. Charles East’s Cooper Murray and 20-6 over Crystal Lake Central’s Tommy Tomasello.
Kalchbrenner won by fall in 2:27 over Camp Point Central’s Konnor Bush to claim third place, Flores was a 6-3 winner over Lincoln-Way East’s Declan Dircks in the fifth-place match and McCoy won by fall in 3:12 over Hampshire’s Michael Brannigan to finish in seventh place.
160 – Colin Bickett, Plainfield South
While Plainfield South was able to get a state qualifier, junior Matthew Janiak, who ended up placing sixth at 195, three other individuals who had 25 or more victories couldn’t advance from the Class 3A Normal Community Sectional, with one of those being Colin Bickett.
With Rudy and Rocco Silva also being juniors, Bickett, a sophomore who went 27-13, was the only Cougar who was able to compete in the Freshman/Sophomore Championships and he made the most of the opportunity by capturing the title at 160 with a 14-7 decision over Lincoln-Way East’s Jackson Zaeske. Bickett recorded falls in his first three matches, winning in 2:11 over Maine South’s Jack Staunton, in 0:56 over Curie’s Mylan William and in 4:56 over Rockridge’s Ryan Lower. He earned his spot in the title match with a 6-4 decision over Lockport Township’s Durango Valles in the semifinals.
“The reason I wanted to compete in the Frosh/Soph tournament was I believed I could’ve accomplished more in my season and I still had more to prove to myself,” Bickett said. “Therefore, I was motivated to keep going. Winning the title felt amazing not just for me but the best part about it was having my family there cheering me on and my dad right by me coaching. From my performance it motivates me to stay on top and keep going with what I am doing. With the way I wrestled I believe I did great but there are always minor adjustments I can change to achieve perfection and I will strive for the best of my potential. My favorite part about Plainfield South wrestling is that it doesn’t feel like a chore to come to practice every day. We have fun in the practice room but we all get a lot out of it.”
Zaeske, a sophomore who finished with a 21-7 record, was unable to advance out of the Normal Community Sectional at 182. But he was able to be one of five Griffins who earned medals, which was the highest total for any team in the competition. Zaeske opened with a fall over Bartlett’s James Smrha in 2:15 and then won a 5-0 decision over Lena-Winslow/Stockton’s Oliver McPeek. After getting a win by fall in 1:21 over Glenbrook North’s Shane Onixt, he earned his spot in the finals with an 11-3 major decision over McHenry’s Aiden Fischler.
Valles won a 6-3 decision over Lower to claim third place, McPeek was a 10-4 victor over Fischler in the fifth-place match and Onixt got a fall in 4:24 over Yorkville’s Luke Chrisse to take seventh place.
170 – Maximus Vela, Joliet Catholic Academy
While his team had a banner day at the Class 2A Hinsdale South Sectional by qualifying 13 individuals for the IHSA Finals, Maximus Vela fell one victory shy of joining his Joliet Catholic Academy teammates at state but the consolation was that the freshman got to help his team contend for a state title for the second year in a row, but they fell 28-27 to Washington in the title dual meet in Bloomington.
Boosted by being on a team with seven All-Staters who placed fourth or better, which included 160 state champion Mason Alessio and 182 runner-up Nico Ronchetti, who coached him in the finals, Vela felt that he could perform well at the Frosh/Soph Championships, and he did, by taking first at 170 after capturing a 6-4 win by sudden victory over Lena-Winslow/Stockton’s Eli Larson. His largest win was a 10-2 major decision over Clinton’s Kristian Hibbard in the semifinals. Vela opened with a 6-2 win over Richwoods’ Gabriel Martinez, captured a 7-0 victory over St. Charles North’s Matthew Plumb and claimed a 9-2 decision over Rolling Meadows’ John Rappa in the quarterfinals.
“I know that a lot of guys have done really well here have also done really well in the IHSA,” Vela said. “I’m just super happy and excited that I won here and this is only one of the accomplishments that I’ll have in my career. I think personally, that we’ve barely scratched the surface as to what Joliet Catholic is going to do. We got put on the radar and now more kids that want to come and join the program. I love competing for all of them (his coaches) and they all believe in me and help out a lot. After tournaments, the coaches help each individual on what they need to work on. All of our coaches are the best. Coach (Ryan) Cumbee, coach Luke (Pascale), coach Ben Gerdes and coach (James) Lancaster, they’re all great coaches.”
Larson, a freshman who had a 38-15 record and helped the 34-6 PantherHawks to a third-place finish in Class 1A, opened with falls of 2:14 over Wheaton Academy’s Caden Smith, 0;56 over Lincoln-Way West’s Chris Yirsa and 2:12 over Trico’s Colin Hughey before winning a 9-0 major decision over Belleville West’s Ethan Hofmeister.
Hofmeister won a 16-10 decision over Hibbard to take third place, Lincoln-Way West’s Jimmy Talley won 7-3 over Bloomington’s Kenner Bye for fifth place and Naperville Central’s Henry Rydwelski won a 5-2 decision over Jacksonville’s Abram Davidson to finish seventh.
182 – Nathan Elstner, Lincoln-Way West
Despite winning close to 30 matches and helping his team to a high ranking throughout the season, Nathan Elstner fell a bit short of his goal of reaching the IHSA Finals in individual and team competitions. But the Lincoln-Way West sophomore who went 29-20 and helped the Warriors to a regional title and the opportunity to host Lockport to determine who would go to team state decided to continue his season a little longer and that paid off in the Frosh/Soph Championships.
Elstner won by fall in 0:57 over Springfield High’s Keyshaun Harris to win the title at 182. Other than a 7-0 decision in the second round over Edwardsville’s Simon Schulte, his other three victories also came by way of falls. After opening with a pin in 1:53 over Geneseo’s Aaron Betcher, he recorded a fall in 2:13 over Mt. Zion’s Keller Stocks before pinning Pittsfield’s Tucker Cook in 0:46 in the semifinals.
“We have a young team and I’m excited for these next couple of years,” Elstner said. “We have big goals for next season about getting to team state. And for individual goals, I think that we’re going to have a lot more placers. We’re starting to come up now.”
Harris, a sophomore who went 32-13 but was unable to advance from the Class 2A Highland Sectional at 170, was the lone Senator to advance to the Frosh/Soph Championships. After opening with a 6-4 decision over Dunlap’s Joe Weeks and following that with an 8-3 victory over Joliet West’s Tai’Vaughn Johnson, Harris won by fall in 4:40 over Plano’s Richie Amakiri before winning an 11-2 major decision over Vandalia’s Kaden Tidwell in the semifinals.
Cook won an 11-3 major decision over Schulte to claim third place, Tidwell edged Amakiri 8-7 for fifth place and Coal City’s Cade Poyner took seventh place after recording a fall in 1:14 over Stocks.
195 – Joseph Favia, Marmion Academy
All in all, it was a very successful freshman season for Marmion Academy’s Joseph Favia, who not only was able to go 22-11 while training with Class 3A 182-pound champion Jack Lesher but he also got to help the 18-2 Cadets advance to the Dual Team Finals where his team battled to the end before falling 28-24 to St. Charles East.
But one thing he wasn’t able to accomplish was to qualify for the IHSA Finals along with 12 of his teammates so Favia took part in the Frosh/Soph Championships and it definitely paid off as he claimed top honors at 195 after edging Highland’s Ashton Zobrist 1-0 in the title match. After opening with a fall in 1:11 over Curie’s Eduardo Seija and getting a pin in 0:31 over Oak Park and River Forest’s Carey Robinson, Favia won 3-0 over Edwardsville’s Roman Janek and then
claimed a 9-1 major decision over Waukegan’s Lamero Caesar.
“We just have the best coaching staff and the best upperclassmen,” Favia said. “And I have to give a shout out to someone that I look up to on our team, Jack Lesher, he’s a good practice partner. We’ll be back, for sure. We’re all pretty hyped and ready to get back at it. offseason wrestling and getting back into the room with our teammates. It’s going to be good.”
Zobrist, a sophomore who went 40-10 but still fell one win shy of qualifying from the Class 2A Sectional that his school hosted, earned his spot on the Frosh/Soph title mat at 195 after claiming a 4-1 decision over Marmion Academy’s Mateusz Nycz to deny an all-Cadets finals. Zobrist opened with a fall in 2:57 over Curie’s Mark Anthony Nieto, followed with a 9-1 win over Johnsburg’s CJ Ameachi and then claimed a 9-3 decision over Limestone’s Ethan Dixon.
Nycz won by fall in 4:53 over Caesar to give Marmion two of the top three medalists at the weight class. Quincy Notre Dame’s Ryan Darnell recorded a fall in 3:37 over Ameachi to claim fifth place and Andrew’s Joe Zimmer took seventh place after capturing a 4-1 decision over Zion-Benton’s Isaiah Tellado.
220 – Anthony Soto, Warren Township
Anthony Soto put the final touches on a history-making season for Warren Township when he took first place at 220 in the IWCOA Freshman/Sophomore Championships to join teammate Justice Humphreys, who took first at 152, giving their program the most champions of any of the teams in the tournament with two.
Soto, a sophomore who finished 33-12, lost by two points in the consolation semifinals at the Barrington Sectional to miss out on a trip to state. But he was able to help the 15-5 Blue Devils qualify for the first time to Dual Team State, where they fell to Lockport, who took third place. Soto captured the title at 220 with a 5-1 decision over Crystal Lake Central’s Thomas McNeil. Three of his other wins were by fall, winning in 0:44 over Oak Forest’s Andrius Vasilevskas and in 2:52 over Granite City’s Enrique Morales before adding a fall in 1:15 in the semifinals over St. Charles East’s Anthony Lobrillo. Soto, who claimed third place at 220 in the same competition last season, also had an 8-0 victory over Wheaton Warrenville South’s Ashton Kibbe.
“This was a very amazing year,” Soto said. “I didn’t expect it to go the way that it did. Going all the way to team state for the first time in our school was pretty amazing. At regional when we got the plaque, I was so happy for this team. There were a lot more kids this year in our lineup this year that were pretty good. No one really expected what we did this year. I’m very grateful to be here at the Frosh/Soph state tournament since there were a lot of good wrestlers here, especially at 220, but every weight class was good. And there were a lot more people here this year. I can’t wait to see what we do next year.”
McNeil, a sophomore who had a 19-8 record, was one of two finalists for the Tigers, joining Dominic Vitale, who took second at 138. After getting falls in 0:34 over Joliet West’s Andre De Leon and in 4:49 over Belleville West’s Shamontae Matthews, he won a 10-3 decision over The High School of Saint Thomas More’s James Schmidt before recording a fall in 0:30 over Oak Park and River Forest’s Eric Harris.
Harris edged Neuqua Valley’s Magomed Nurudinov 5-4 to claim third place. Loyola Academy’s Joey Herbert won by fall in 1:29 over Lobrillo to take fifth place. And Kibbe claimed a 4-1 decision over Dundee-Crown’s Teigen Moreno to take seventh place.
285 – Todd Smith, Quincy Senior
After being an IESA champion, Todd Smith was hoping to qualify for the IHSA Finals in his first attempt, but the Quincy Senior freshman fell a bit short in his quest to qualify from the Class 3A Normal Community Sectional and thus wanted to end his debut campaign on a high note at the Freshman/Sophomore Championships.
Smith, who went 37-13 this season, became the fourth freshman to win a title in this year’s tournament when he captured an 8-3 decision over Jacksonville’s Aiden Surratt to claim top honors at 285. After opening with a 17-2 win by technical fall over Lockport Township’s
Jake Kratz, Smith won a 6-2 decision over Niles West’s Alex Hernandez and followed with an 11-0 major decision over Downers Grove North’s Peter Rodriguez and earned his spot in the finals with a fall in 3:15 over Oregon’s Briggs Sellers.
“This is important because the Frosh/Soph Tournament kind of determines by the time you’re a junior or senior, that this might be the outcome in the IHSA,” said Smith, whose mother got to hand out the medals at 285. “We had two state qualifiers, Owen Uppinghouse and Bryor Newbold, and a ton of kids went to sectionals and we also performed great in regionals and all our tournaments were good.”
Surratt, a sophomore who went 36-14 this season but didn’t qualify for the Class 2A Highland Sectional, certainly made amends for his early postseason exit by becoming the highest of the three medal winners for the Crimsons, who finished 33-4 and advanced to the Dual Team Finals for the first time in the program’s history. He won close decisions to open the Frosh/Soph competition, winning 6-3 over Metamora’s Ty Dyekes and 1-0 over Niles Notre Dame’s Scott Cook before getting a fall in 4:36 over Waukegan’s Ivan Rogel Martinez and then won a 9-1 major decision over Lincoln-Way East’s Ryan Stingily.
East Peoria’s Jose Deltoro edged Stingily 1-0 to claim third place, Granite City’s Demarco Clark finished fifth after winning an 11-5 decision over Sellers and Evergreen Park’s Jeremy Gagnon took seventh place after recording a fall in 1:48 over Rodriguez.
By Curt Herron
SPRINGFIELD – After serving as the unofficial girls state title for several years, the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Girls Open Championship has taken on a role similar to the other competition that is held one week after IHSA competition ends, the IWCOA’s Boys Freshman/Sophomore Championships.
But unlike the Frosh/Soph competition which is open only to individuals who are freshmen or sophomores who didn’t qualify for the IHSA Finals, the Girls Open Championship is what its name suggests and state placewinners and qualifiers of any year in school compete along with those who didn’t advance to the state finals.
A total of 141 girls took part in the Open Championship which were held at the Bank of Springfield Center. Of the 14 champions, three won medals at the IHSA Finals, one fell a win shy of that achievement, five competed in that tournament and five others fell one victory short of advancing to the state finals.
Thirteen programs that featured athletes from both large and small schools who represented the north, central and southern parts of Illinois won championships but only one had two title winners, Hoffman Estates, which got consecutive titles from Sophia Ball at 130 and Abigail Ji at 135, who are both sophomores.
Juniors who won championships were Romeoville’s Josefina Orozco at 100, Minooka’s Bella Cyrkiel at 145, Granite City’s Samir Elliott at 155, Mt. Vernon’s Faith Barrett at 170, District 230 Carl Sandburg’s Janae Vargas at 190 and Curie’s Aaliyah Grandberry at 235.
The other sophomores who captured titles were Lanphier’s Ella Miloncus at 110 and Kaneland’s Brooklyn Sheaffer at 120. Freshmen who won championships were Pekin’s Tessa Donaldson at 105, LeRoy/Tri-Valley’s Jaelyn Brumfield at 115, Erie/Prophetstown’s Michelle Naftzger at 125 and Bloomington’s Alicia Swank at 140. Miloncus also won a title at 105 in last year’s competition.
IHSA medal winners who won titles were Grandberry (second at 235), Ball (fifth at 120) and Sheaffer (sixth at 120) while Ji fell one win shy of a medal at 130.
Individuals who competed in the IHSA Finals who took first were Miloncus, Brumfield, Naftzger, Cyrkiel and Barrett while Orozco, Donaldson, Swank, Elliott and Vargas all won titles after falling one win shy of a trip to Bloomington.
Thornton Fractional South had two second-place finishers, Mia Moore at 100 and A’kayla Coopwood at 135 while District 230’s Carl Sandburg got a second from Sophia Figueroa at 110 and Minooka received a second from Lanie Cecala at 140. Figueroa took first place at 110 in last year’s Open Championships.
Others who claimed second-place finishes were Edwardsville’s Madelyn Allen at 105, Burlington Central’s Victoria Macias at 115, Jacksonville’s Alexis Seymour at 120, Sterling’s SkyeAnn Munz at 125, Seneca’s Samantha Greisen at 130, Proviso West’s Jocelyn Gutierrez at 145, Auburn’s Heather Workman at 155, J. Sterling Morton’s Violet Mayo at 170, United Township’s Afi Koumasse at 190 and Westmont’s Jozie Rosenwinkel at 235.
Second-place finishers who won IHSA medals were Seymour (fourth at 120) and Macias (fifth at 110) while Greisen fell one win short of a medal at 130.
Claiming third-place finishes were Edwardsville’s Alison Kirk at 100, Morris’ Maggie Gordan at 105, Deer Creek-Mackinaw’s Samantha Lauer at 110, University High’s Allison Kroesch at 115, Thornton Fractional South’s Quincy Onyiaorah at 120, Washington’s Ahna Robison at 125 and Glenwood’s Jenna Tuxhorn at 130.
Also finishing in third place were Carlinville’s Samantha Scott at 135, Conant’s Aubrey Mueller at 140, Glenbard West’s Miyalinna DeJesus at 145, Fenton’s Sophia Sosa at 155, Oak Forest’s Riley Ensing at 170, Cary-Grove’s Denver Gier at 190 and Robinson’s Rylee Hammond at 235.
Finishing in fourth place were Beat the Streets Chicago’s Mya Downs (100), Oswego East’s QianXi Brooks (105), Pontiac’s Samantha Fellers (110), Reed-Custer’s Judith Gamboa (115), Deer Creek-Mackinaw’s Josie Barham (120), Somonauk’s Rylie Donahue (125) and Batavia’s Amelia Howell (130).
Others who took fourth place were Erie/Prophetstown’s Dena Cox (135), Glenbard West’s Nydia Jotzat (140). Plainfield East’s Kaitlyn Bucholz (145), Alton’s Elanna Hickman (155), Conant’s Anaelise Aberman (170) and Natalie Aguirre (190) and United Township’s Kirsten Kpoto (235).
It proved to be a very successful day for Hoffman Estates since another school from that community, Conant, finished with the most medal winners, with seven of the nine individuals that it sent finishing in eighth place or better.
Sterling had five medalists among its five five competitors while Minooka, Mt. Vernon and Thornton Fractional South all had four medal winners among the five individuals who they had competing and Proviso West had all three of its entrants receive medals.
Here’s a rundown of the 14 champions and the medal winners at each weight class for the IWCOA’s Girls Open Championship:
100 – Josefina Orozco, Romeoville
After falling one win shy of earning a state appearance at the rugged Schaumburg Sectional, Josefina Orozco wanted to end her season on a more encouraging note and that’s certainly what she was able to do at the IWCOA’s Girls Open Championship in Springfield.
The Romeoville junior, who was 19-8 this season and her school’s only participant in the event where she was fourth at 100 last season, pinned her way through the competition, capping things with a fall in 2:02 in the 100 title match over Thornton Fractional South’s Mia Moore. She earned her spot in the finals with a pin in 4:33 over Beat the Streets – Chicago Midway’s Mya Downs. After opening with a fall in 2:25 over URWA’s Giselle Arambula, Orozco got a pin in 2:10 in the quarterfinals over Frankfort Community’s Sophia Bechelli.
“It really benefits me,” Orozco said. “My main goal is to go downstate, but this really helps me to know where I am and know how I need to further myself. Now that I’ve placed first, I feel like I have a better chance of making my goal. I just have to push myself so that I can achieve what I haven’t done yet. This gives me a huge boost. It’s so amazing. Hopefully by showing them that I placed here it can make more girls join our team next year.”
Moore also won her first three matches by fall, pinning Conant’s Nallely Zaragoza in 0:47 in the semifinals after winning by fall in 0:50 over Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin’s Gracie Pattison and getting a fall in 4:49 over Frankfort Community’s Nikolette Ronketto.
In the third-place match, Edwardsville’s Alison Kirk won a 6-5 decision over Downs. Harvest Christian Academy’s Sam Macek took fifth place with a fall in 2:02 over Zaragoza. And Ronketto captured seventh place with a pin in 4:37 over Pattison.
105 – Tessa Donaldson, Pekin
As one of the few girls on Pekin’s team and its lone representative in the IWCOA Girls Open, Tessa Donaldson hoped to finish her season on a high note after falling one win shy of a trip to the IHSA Finals at the Richwoods Sectional. Drawing inspiration and support from her cousin, Shamon Handegan, who became Pekin’s second state finalist since 2000 when he took second place in Class 3A at 182 to Marmion Academy’s Jack Lesher, the freshman claimed top honors at 105.
Donaldson, who had a 19-15 record this season and had won only one title before in a kid’s tournament, received a bye in her opener and then recorded three first-minute falls, wrapping up the 105 title with a pin in 22 seconds over Edwardsville’s Madelyn Allen. The longest amount of time she was on the mat was 50 seconds in a semifinals win over Morris’ Maggie Gordan and she needed just 25 seconds to get a fall over Sterling’s Noelani Ibarra in the quarterfinals.
“I’d only won first place one time and that was in kid’s club,” Donaldson said. “Shamon got second at state and he’s my cousin so he’s helped me out a lot. This is my favorite place to wrestle.”
Allen, who did not compete in the state series, also got a bye in her opener before pinning Glenbard East’s Kandace Dang in 3:32 in the quarterfinals. Allen earned her spot on the 105 title mat by capturing a 4-2 semifinals victory over Oswego East’s QianXi Brooks.
Gordan pinned Brooks in 3:00 to finish in third place. Dang captured fifth place after recording a fall in 2:03 over Ibarra. And Granite City’s Briana Ramirez took seventh place after claiming a 3-1 win over Plainfield Central’s Candice Cameron.
110 – Ella Miloncus, Lanphier
After winning a title at the 2022 Girls Open at 105, Ella Miloncus decided that she’d try to duplicate that feat this season and in order to do that, she’d have to defeat another individual who also won a title at last year’s Girls Open.
The Lanphier sophomore, who lost both of her matches at the IHSA Finals and had 20 wins this season, prevailed over District 230’s Sophia Figueroa by a 4-2 decision in the 110 title match. Following a bye, Miloncus recorded a fall in 2:26 over Mt. Vernon’s Deziare Jones and then advanced to the finals with another close decision, winning by an 11-9 score over Pontiac’s Samatha Fellers in the semifinals.
“When I first started wrestling, it was very difficult, and it still is,” Miloncus said. “I was one or two marches away from state last year and that was sad, so I’m glad that I made it there this year. It didn’t feel real until I got there and once I was there, I loved the experience and I’m shooting for it for next year and for placing. I compete with boys and feel that that’s better because they’re more experienced and are stronger.”
Figueroa, a sophomore from District 230’s Carl Sandburg who went 20-12 and fell one win shy of qualifying for the IHSA finals at the Schaumburg Sectional, had four-straight closes matches. After opening with a 6-4 win in sudden victory over Bartlett’s Angelina Carpintero, Figueroa won a 3-0 decision over J. Sterling Morton’s Nayeli Rodriguez and then prevailed 4-3 in sudden victory over Deer Creek-Mackinaw’s Samantha Lauer.
Lauer took third place with a fall in 4:47 over Fellers. Rodriguez won a 6-4 decision over Carpintero to claim fifth place while Maine East’s Guadalupe Montesinos recorded a fall in 1:39 over Sterling’s Madison Wickham to finish in seventh place.
115 – Jaelyn Brumfield, LeRoy/Tri-Valley
Jaelyn Brumfield capped a successful freshman season by qualifying for the Class 1A IHSA Finals while also being a member of a team in the Class 1A Dual Team Finals on the same weekend as LeRoy/Tri-Valley made its first appearance to state since 2014. And then this past weekend, she took first place at 115 at the IWCOA Girls Open.
Brumfield, who went 12-11 while competing against boys and also a member of a state dual team that went 24-2, won a 6-2 decision over Burlington Central’s Victoria Macias in the title match. She won her other matches by fall, beating Mt. Vernon’s Jai’anna Terry in 4:45 in the semifinals, J. Sterling Morton’s Liliana Garcia in 3:43 in the quarterfinals and Conant’s Jasme’In McGee in 1:32 in her opener.
“It was very exciting,” Brumfield said of competing on the state dual team. “It was really fun to be able to wrestle with a lot of guys and it kind of prepared more than the girls to move faster and get better setups and to be stronger. So it definitely prepared me a lot for this and this was a lot of fun.”
Macias, a sophomore who went 31-9 and placed fifth at 110 in the the IHSA finals and was her program’s lone entrant both at individual state and in the Girls Open, recorded a fall in 2:03 over Reed-Custer’s Judith Gamboa in the semifinals after getting a pin over University High’s Allison Kroesch in 3:34 in the quarterfinals and a fall in 1:26 over Triad’s Abigail Schaft in her opening match.
In the third-place match, Kroesch got a fall in 2:33 over Gamboa, who took fifth at 105 in the IHSA Finals. Terry won by fall over Schaft in 1:26 to claim fifth place while Lanphier’s Anna Miloncus finished seventh after winning by fall in 0:36 over Neuqua Valley’s Sofia Gold.
120 – Brooklyn Sheaffer, Kaneland (SPAR Wrestling Academy)
After enjoying a successful sophomore season at Kaneland where she went 35-12 and finished in sixth place at 120 in the IHSA Finals, Brooklyn Sheaffer looks to move higher up the awards stand at state during the next two years. And she hopes that the title that she won at 120 in the IWCOA Girls Open provides additional motivation.
Sheaffer, competing in the Girls Open representing SPAR Wrestling Academy in Aurora, won a clash with another IHSA placewinner, Jacksonville’s Alexis Seymour, by a 6-0 score in the 120 title match. She reached the finals with a pin in 0:46 over Deer Creek-Mackinaw’s Josie Barham and also won with a fall in 4:22 in the quarterfinals over Pontiac’s Serenity DeFrees after getting a first-round bye.
“Going into state I had a really weird mindset since last year I qualified but I wasn’t able to go,” Sheaffer said. “I went in really open-minded but started out really shaky because of the nerves of being on a big stage like that. But I ended up placing and that was a big moment for me and my family. Coming into Kaneland, which was my new school, was a lot of pressure after being at Yorkville Christian. I wanted to have fun and work on a couple of things before freestyle starts. I didn’t expect to win it.”
Seymour, a sophomore who went 32-18 and finished fourth at 120 in the IHSA Finals, recorded a fall in 3:32 in the semifinals over Benton’s Mia Balota after winning with a pin in 1:32 in the quarterfinals over Robinson’s Kayden Shook-Wesley after opening with a 4-0 win over Thornton Fractional South’s Quincy Onyiaorah.
Onyiaorah, who finished with a 21-5 record after losing to eventual champion Angelina Cassioppi and Sheaffer at the IHSA Finals after beating Seymour there, claimed third place with a fall in 4:36 over Barham. Balota took fifth with a pin in 3:30 over Alton’s Aryanna Jones. In the seventh-place match featuring Sterling teammates, Gretchyn Dunbar won by fall in 0:45 over Madison Florez.
125 – Michelle Naftzger, Erie/Prophetstown
While winning 25 matches and qualifying for the IHSA Finals as a freshman, Michelle Naftzger would have liked to have won a match at state. But she got the chance to cap her successful season at the IWCOA Girls Open and made the most of it by capturing the title at 125 with a win by fall in 3:51 over Sterling’s SkyeAnn Munz.
The Erie/Prophetstown athlete who goes to Erie, was one of two Girls Open placewinners for her program, with Dena Cox taking fourth place at 135. Naftzger earned her spot in the finals with a fall in 1:26 over Somonauk’s Rylie Donahue. She also recorded first-period falls in her other two matches, winning in 1:59 over De La Salle Institute’s Iliana Heredia in the quarterfinals and getting a pin in 0:28 in her opener against Fenton’s Paula Serpa.
“This is my ninth year of wrestling but this was my first year of doing girls wrestling,” Naftzger said. “I came one match away from placing at boys IESA state, so that was kind of heartbreaking. So coming to this and making it to state were really good. Wrestling against boys was definitely really helpful preparing me for sectionals and state. Hopefully I can win some matches down there and maybe even place in the next few years.”
Munz, the top finisher of the five Golden Warriors who not only competed but all placed at the Girls Open, earned her spot on the title mat with a 9-2 decision over Oswego East’s Brooke Coy. She got a fall in 2:47 over Quincy Senior’s Maggie Quinn in the quarterfinals and a pin in 0:38 in her opener against Maine West’s Ashley Mansell.
Washington’s Ahna Robison recorded a fall in 1:48 over Donahue, who she lost to 13-8 in the quarterfinals, to take third place. Thornton Fractional South’s Jermia Moore got a pin in 0:17 over Coy to finish fifth and Heredia won by fall in 4:39 over Quinn for seventh place.
130 – Sophia Ball, Hoffman Estates
While one school located in Hoffman Estates, Conant, had the most medalists at the IWCOA Girls Open with seven, the community’s other high school, Hoffman Estates, had the most champions with two, and the Hawks teammates, Sophia Ball and Abigail Ji, were able to capture their championships one right after the other.
Ball, a sophomore who went 42-6 and had a fifth-place finish at 120 in the IHSA Finals, won the 130 title at the Girls Open with an 8-2 decision over Seneca’s Samantha Greisen. Ball earned her spot in the finals with a fall in 0:47 in the semifinals over Conant’s Ewa Krupa and also had falls in her first two matches, winning in 2:33 over Maine West’s KC Conrad in the quarterfinals and in 1:41 over Edwardsville’s Madison Aldrich in her opening match. Ji then took first place at 135.
“Our team got a lot bigger this year and we almost had all of the weights this year, I think we were missing two,” Ball said. “I want to place higher next year because I got fifth this year. I want to do a lot of offseason tournaments and stuff like that so next year I can come back and we can get better as a program.”
Greisen, who won 24 matches and fell one victory shy of a medal at 130 in the IHSA Finals, won a 7-2 decision in the semifinals over Westmont’s Mena Serna. She also beat Batavia’s Amelia Howell 18-3 by technical fall in the quarterfinals and recorded a fall in 1:38 over Maine South’s Miriana Pinto in her opening match.
Glenwood’s Jenna Tuxhorn lost 9-4 to Howell in her opener but then won five matches in a row with the last victory a fall in 0:53 over Howell to capture third place. Serna took fifth place with a fall in 0:34 over Krupa and Maine West’s Ava Reyes won by fall in 4:12 over Minooka’s Kira Cailteux to claim seventh place.
135 – Abigail Ji, Hoffman Estates
After falling one win shy of a medal in the IHSA Finals, Abigail Ji wanted to finish on a better note at the IWCOA Girls Open and did just that by following a title effort from her teammate, Sophia Ball, with a championship of her own at 135, resulting in Hoffman Estates being the only school with multiple champions.
Ji, a sophomore who went 33-8 through her close call for a medal at 130 in the IHSA Finals, won her title with a fall in 0:47 over Thornton Fractional South’s A’kayla Coopwood. She won a 7-0 decision in the semifinals over Carlinville’s Samantha Scott and got two falls before that, in 1:49 over Erie/Prophetstown’s
Dena Cox and in 2:57 over Bremen’s Amelia Quinlan in her opening match.
“Our coach (Leo) coach Clark, is a big help,” Ji said..”He’s really friendly and always nice and when he coaches, he always puts our needs first and does what’s best for us. I was glad that I made it to the second day (at the IHSA Finals) and I made it further than I did last year as a freshman. Getting first today was really great. I’m trying to work harder in the offseason so I can come back next year and place in state.”
Coopwood, one of two finalists and four medal winners for the Red Wolves, reached the title mat following a fall in 0:28 over Minooka’s Lexie Lakota. After receiving a bye in her first match, she got a pin in 1:32 over Alton’s Phuong Tran in the quarterfinals.
Scott claimed third place with a 16-2 major decision over Cox. Lakota won by fall in 3:47 over Quinlan to take fifth. And Robinson’s Rachel Richey finished in seventh place after recording a pin in 2:50 over Batavia’s Norah Stoodley.
140 – Alicia Swank, Bloomington
Instead of being dejected about falling one win shy of advancing to the IHSA Finals at the Richwoods Sectional, Alicia Swank set her sights on a better showing at the IWCOA Girls Open and the Bloomington freshman’s efforts paid off, resulting in a title at 140.
One of the three champions who had to wrestle five round-robin matches, Swank’s last four victories were falls after winning her opener by a 6-5 decision over the eventual runner-up, Minooka’s Lanie Cecala. She got pins in 3:33 over Glenbard West’s Nydia Jotzat, in 2:42 over Dundee-Crown’s Daniella Ibanez, in 1:59 over Curie’s Ayanna Mathis and in 4:01 over Conant’s Aubrey Mueller.
“This was my first year at the high school and actually doing full girls tournaments was very fun and I’m very excited about it,” Swank said. “There were maybe four of us (girls) at the beginning of the season, but it dropped down to two. But I had wrestled with boys in seventh and eighth grade and it builds a lot more strength wrestling the boys. I came in fifth at my sectional so coming here and winning this, especially when I was so under the weight of these other girls, was great.”
After losing by one point to Swank in her opening match, Cecala, who finished 22-7 this season, recorded four falls, winning in 2:06 over Mathis, in 3:56 over Jotzat, in 2:00 over Mueller and in 2:31 over Ibanez.
Mueller won three of her five matches to take third place, Jotzat went 2-3 to finish fourth and Mathis defeated Ibanez to claim fifth place.
145 – Bella Cyrkiel, Minooka
Although qualifying for the IHSA Finals for the first time, Bella Cyrkiel was disappointed that she didn’t win any matches there, so the first-year competitor in the sport hoped to end things on better note at the IWCOA Girls Open and then proceeded to do just that by taking top honors at 145.
The Minooka junior, who went 28-9 this season, was the top medalist for a team that had four. She won the 145 title with a 1-0 decision over Proviso West’s
Jocelyn Gutierrez. After getting a bye in her opener, she recorded a fall in 2:31 over Oswego’s Kaitlynn Valencia and got a pin in 2:42 over Plainfield East’s
Kaitlyn Bucholz in 2:42 in the semifinals.
“It was a really great year,” Cyrkiel said. “I feel like we had a lot of success and it feels like it’s just starting to take off. We had a lot of opportunities and I felt that coach (Paige) Schoolman was always looking for places to get us mat time and was encouraging us. After our season ended, I still wanted to be involved in wrestling for next year. So this is a big deal for me, especially after not practicing with our team for two weeks. I am so excited for next year and I think that we have big plans.”
Gutierrez, one of three Panthers who competed in the IWCOA Girls Open and all won medals, earned her spot on the title mat with a fall in 0:40 over Glenbard West’s Miyalinna DeJesus. After getting a bye in her opener she won by fall in 3:56 over Maine East’s Alena Oshana.
DeJesus won an 8-2 decision over Bucholz to finish third. Valencia claimed fifth place by medical forfeit over Oshana. Crystal Lake South’s Makayla Miranda took seventh by medical forfeit over Evanston Township’s Natalie Graettinger.
155 – Samir Elliott, Granite City
After coming up a win shy of qualifying for the IHSA Finals from the Richwoods Sectional, Samir Elliott looked for a more satisfying way to end her season by taking part in the Girls Open, where she fell in the 182 finals two years ago when the tournament was viewed as the unofficial state championship.
Falling to Fenton’s Noelia Vazquez in the 182 title match in 2021, her second appearance on the title mat turned out much better for the Granite City junior, who went 23-9 this season. Elliott won the 155 title match by fall in 1:22 over Auburn’s Heaven Workman. After getting a bye in the first round, Elliott recorded two other pins, winning in 1:00 over Oswego East’s Jessica Stover and then in 3:31 over Fenton’s Sophia Sosa in the semifinals to reach the title mat .
“It was kind of overwhelming,” Elliott said of being a two-time finalist in the competition. “I’ve learned more and grown more since then.”
Workman actually had her closest match in her opener when she captured a 2-0 decision over Minooka’s Abbey Boersma. After getting a pin in 4:33 over Metea Valley’s Sanskruti Sangalge, she earned her spot on the title mat with a fall in 3:41 over Alton’s Elanna Hickman.
Sosa edged Hickman 4-2 to claim third place, Olympia’s Jordan Bicknell won by fall in 1:13 over Dundee-Crown’s Itzel Gerardo for fifth place and Mt. Vernon’s Madison Teriet took seventh with a pin in 3:19 over Maine West’s Lillian Garrett.
170 – Faith Barrett, Mt. Vernon
Faith Barrett got to compete in three matches in the IHSA Finals but only got one win after falling to individuals who placed fifth and sixth at 170. So she decided to wrap up her season at the IWCOA Girls Open and that definitely paid off as she recorded five falls in round-robin competition to win the championship at 170.
Barrett, a junior at Mt. Vernon who went 16-7 this season competing with the boys team that enjoyed a successful season, recorded pins against Conant’s Lana Ton in 2:29, Oak Forest’s Riley Ensing in 2:10, Conant’s Anaelise Aberman in 1:50, J. Sterling Morton’s Violet Mayo in 2:54 and Proviso West’s Damiyah Nard in 0:34.
“They all pushed me to my limit, and that was great,” said Barrett of training with the Rams’ boys team. “It makes me have to work harder and be stronger. This feels really good because I put in a lot of work in the past few seasons. I think that we can get more girls and convince them to do this.”
Mayo recorded four falls and lost to Barrett to take second place. Ensing went 3-2 with three falls and placed third. Aberman finished ahead of teammate Ton for fourth while Nard settled for sixth place.
190 – Janae Vargas, District 230
Janae Vargas was one of the many individuals who saw their hopes dashed in the rugged Schaumburg Sectional, where she lost in the semifinals and in the semifinal wrestlebacks to fall one win shy of a trip to the IHSA Finals and finish with a 17-7 record.
The junior from the District 230 team, referred to as Andrew, but actually a student at Carl Sandburg, was the third and final individual who had to compete in five round-robin matches to determine the title. Vargas went 5-0 to take top honors at 190 after recording three falls while also getting two forfeit wins. She won in 1:56 over United Township’s Afi Koumasse, in 4:06 over Cary-Grove’s Denver Gier and in 3:33 over Crystal Lake South’s Kayla Hadfield and won by forfeit over Conant’s Natalie Aguirre and Kimberly Barron.
“I think that we accomplished being a big family.” Vargas said of the District 230 team. “This year shows how hard we worked. We worked our butts off and I think that we deserve the championships that we got. I want to thank all of my coaches.”
Koumasse won decisions over Aguirre and Gier and added a fall over Hadfield and a forfeit win to take second. Gier took third place with falls over Barron and Hadfield and a forfeit win while Aguirre placed fourth, Hadfield finished fifth and Barron was sixth.
235 – Aaliyah Grandberry, Curie (URWA)
Aaliyah Grandberry made history at the IHSA Finals by becoming one of just three individuals who finished second twice when she suffered her only loss in 25 matches in the 235 finals to Belleville East’s Kiara Ganey, who also beat her for a state title in at 235 in 2022’s inaugural IHSA championships.
Grandberry, a junior at Curie and the top placing individual thus far from Chicago Public Schools, hopes that with Ganey graduating that the third time could be the charm for her next season. She won the IWCOA Girls Open title at 235 after capturing an 11-2 major decision over Westmont’s Jozie Rosenwinkel in the finals after edging United Township’s Kirsten Kpoto 2-0 in the semifinals and getting a fall in 2:45 over Robinson’s Rylee Hammond in her opener after a bye .
“My coaches always tell me to win with honor and lose with grace,” Grandberry said. “That was the only loss that I took and I took that with grace because we both agreed that was a good match between us because it was totally different from last year, which was my first year wrestling. So I’m making history year-by-year and day-by-day. You’ll never know what you might be good at unless you try it. So I say try something at least once, even if it’s something different.”
Rosenwinkel won by fall in 2:36 over Evanston Townhip’s Jereni Marshall in the quarterfinals before getting a pin in 0:28 over Proviso West’s Sophia Serrano to earn her spot on the title mat,
Hammond took third place with a 5-0 decision over Kpoto, Serrano won by fall in 1:42 over Marshall to finish in fifth place and Frankfort Community’s Kaitlynn Childers recorded a fall in 1:26 over Mt. Vernon’s Addyson Barret to place seventh.
By Mike Garofola
LAKE ZURICH – A big crowd inside the Lake Zurich fieldhouse was treated to some terrific wrestling last Sunday afternoon, and when it was all over, 60 men from this sectional are on their way to Springfield and the Freshman/Sophomore State Championships at the Bank of Springfield Center.
“There were some great matches here today and I would guess that several of the wrestlers here will come home with a state medal next weekend,” Lake Zurich head coach Jake Jobst said after the final whistle brought to a close a well-run, smooth-sailing tournament.
Stevenson led the field with six headed downstate, while North Suburban Conference rival Warren Township along with Mid-Suburban League champion Hersey, and Crystal Lake Central were next in line with five state qualifiers.
McHenry was next up with four advancing while Barrington, Fremd, Grant and Zion-Benton are close behind with three headed to state.
Let’s take a look a closer look at the weight divisions:
101- Austin Phelps, Schaumburg
Austin Phelps fell short in his bid to join his brother, Brady Phelps, at the state tournament, but the Schaumburg freshmen did not miss out when another opportunity came his way.
One week after claiming a regional title, Phelps grabbed the top prize in Lake Zurich to advance to the Freshma/Sophomore State Championships in Springfield.
“Austin has quietly, and steadily begun to emerge from the outsized shadow of his big brother, and it’s been pleasant to witness,” sid Schaumburg head coach Mike Levanti, who watched the aforementioned Brady take home his second state medal from Champaign.
“(He’s) avenged several losses from early on and his confidence seems to be growing.
“You can see it in his leg attacks, which, in my opinion, has been his biggest area of improvement this season.”
After Phelps defeated Fremd’s Trentin Odachowski, 6-2 in his semifinal, he would go on to beat Stevenson’s Evan Mishels in the final, 7-3.
“Evan is one of our program’s most improved wrestlers, he shows up every day, and works hard, he’s grown both physically and technically, and it’s all coming together for him heading into Frosh-Soph state,” said Stevenson head coach Shane Cook.
Mishels won 21 during the regular season, Phelps won 20 and third-place finisher Odachowski earned 18 wins. Grant’s Larry Quirk is headed downstate after his fourth-place finish.
106- Hunter Lenz, Cary-Grove
Cary-Grove’s Hunter Lenz avenged his loss to Crystal Lake Central’s Payton Ramsey one week earlier in a regional final to garner the sectional title with a 7-4 decision.
“Adapting to high school wrestling, in addition to varsity wrestling was the most difficult thing for Hunter as a freshmen, the fight was always there for him, but he learned over the course of the season that he could not rely only on moves that worked for him in middle school,” said Cary-Grove head coach Will Petersen.
“Hunter was ready for this weekend after losing twice before to Ramsey, so he was able to keep this match close in the first period, and scoring big on the edge in the second period was the game-changer for him because he knew his opponent was not going to take his foot off the gas pedal.”
Lenz advanced after edging Grant’s Vince Jasinski 3-1 in the semifinals, while Ramsey majored Carmel Catholic’s Matthew Lucansky 14-5 to move on.
“Payton was a state qualifier as a freshmen, but in a loaded sectional at Rochelle, he came up a match short,” said Crystal Lake Central head coach Justen Lehr of Ramsey, who went 28-17 this season.
“He is a dangerous wrestler, that is a threat to win any match at any time because of his aggressive, funky, and sometimes, insanely-crazy style and you can be sure he will put the extra work in during the offseason to make sure he doesn’t fall short next year.”
Jasinski, who was a sectional qualifier this season who won 31 matches, advances to state after claiming an 18-8 major decision for third place over Hersey’s Riddick Variano.
113- Anthony Orozco, Hersey
Anthony Orozco learned plenty as an understudy at 120 pounds to his state qualifier teammate, Esteban Delgado, and the Hersey sophomore put that knowledge to good use during his 9-3 victory over Warren Township’s Evan Glowinski in the 113-pound finals..
“We have a great room, with great teammates, and an unbelievable coaching staff, so each day that I went into the room, I knew how important it was to learn as much as I could, while working with my partners like Esteban, Dan Lehman, Abdulloh (Khakimov) and Max (Mukhamedaliyev) who were all state qualifiers,” said Orozco, who went 5-5 in limited duty for head coach Joe Rupslauk.
“I am going to work even harder during the offseason to help get myself into the starting lineup, but for now, I am really excited about Frosh/Soph state,” continued Orozco, who beat Barrington’s Jimmy Whitaker, who took third, in the semifinals, Glowinski outlasted Crystal Lake Central’s Dylan Ramsey in a see-saw affair that went to the Warren sophomore by a 7-6 score.
Whitaker was a sectional qualifier for the Broncos, going 26-18 overall on the year. Grayslake Central’s Krish Sahu, placed fourth and is also headed to Springfield.
120- Mikey Meade, Prairie Ridge
A heartbreaking loss in the blood round of regionals has stayed with Mikey Meade all throughout his second postseason, leading up until Frosh/Soph regionals, and sectionals where the Prairie Ridge sophomore has recorded a pair of hard-fought decisions to win the top prize at both events to advance into the state tournament.
“Yes, that loss in the blood-round has made me work harder than ever, knowing that I would have a second chance to make it to a state tournament, so winning regionals, then today, means a lot to me,” said Meade, who was 31-17 during the regular season.
“I went back into the room, and put a lot of time in working on cleaning things up, and being a little sharper on my feet, shots, and defense, and it really helped me out these past two weekends,” said Meade, following his 3-1 victory over Stevenson’s Shawn Kogan.
“Shawn is incredibly driven, and is really a student of the sport,” said Stevenson head coach, Shane Cook.
“He is constantly asking questions and is like a sponge, if he’s able to put together a strong offseason then it is a realistic goal for him to compete in Champaign next year.”
Kogan, who won 25 during the season, was a sectional qualifier, as was Drew Fifield from Fremd, who was 30-22 for the Vikings.
Fifield would finish third ahead of Schaumburg’s Iverson Cortes.
126- Erik Rodriguez, Grant
Erik Rodriguez is part of the wrestling revival at Grant that has plenty of lower-weight potential and the Bulldogs freshmen would continue his impressive rookie season by claiming his second consecutive IWCOA title with his win at 126-pounds over league rival, Stevenson’s Val Vihrov.
Rodriguez, who registered a 36-12 overall record, which included 17 pins and a trip to sectionals, overcame a dicey first period to come back and beat Vihrov, 7-5.
“We knew we were going up against an opponent who had some great judo moves and after he got thrown at the start of the match he had to fight off his back for over a minute to stay alive, which was incredibly impressive, said Grant head coach, Mark Jolcover, who starred at Stevenson during his prep career.
“Erik has incredible maturity for being just a freshman, he’s an exceptional athlete with great wrestling skills, a top tier work ethic, and a very strong mental fortitude, which we saw when he really battled in that match and had to dig deep against a very good opponent,” continued Jolcover.
“Having high expectations for himself will only help him moving forward, and all of us are excited to have him in our program, and to see him compete proudly with a G on his chest for the next three years.”
Rodriguez defeat the eventual fourth-place medalist, Mundelein’s Ethan Banda, while Vihrov stunned the top seed and 2022 state qualifier, Schaumburg’s Callen Kirchner (34-7), who later finished third, in his semifinal match.
“Val is a first-year wrestler and new to the sport as well, but he works incredibly hard, and has little fear when taking risks to try to score points,” Cook said. “He is an exciting wrestler to watch and we are looking forward to watch him grow and develop.”
132- Rodrigo Arceo, Hersey
You could have easily substituted quotes from Anthony Orozco at 113 pounds with his teammate from Hersey, Rodrigo Arceo, following the latter’s dominating performance in the 132-pound final.
Orozco could not say enough about his teammates, workout partners, or the great vibe in the Huskies room, and, no more than 15 minutes later, Arceo would double down on how much the room has meant to him.
“There are so many great leaders in our room, seniors like: (James) Shaffer, Aaron Hernandez, Parker Sena, Ben (Erhabor) and Oleg Simakov, who all have been one of the big reasons for the success of the team, and program, and for me, all of those guys, plus the rest of my teammates are the reason that I’ve been able to be a better wrestler,” said Arceo, who won 22 matches on the year.
“I want to get better, and to be someone that can help our team next year as much as I can, so I am going to put the extra work in that needs to be done,” added Arceo after his fall at 4:50 in the finals over Rocco Fontela, who won IHSA, and IWCOA regionals this year.
“Some thrive because of their environment, and some succeed in spite of it, when Rocco selects the right muse, so to speak, his training, and performance reflect just that,” began Levanti.
“So far this spring he’s chosen correctly, and while the talent and the scrambling have always been there, he has begun to eliminate his mistakes, except in this final, and that has made all the differencen and improvement for him.”
Johnsburg’s Landon Johnson and Barrington’s George Voris are on their way to Springfield after finishing third, and fourth respectively.
138- Dominic Vitale, Crystal Lake Central
Dominic Vitale rolled over and through the competition during the past two weekends, recording a 14-0 major decision victory on his way to a regional title and then following up that with another outstanding day at Lake Zurich to capture the top prize, and a spot in the 32-man field at state.
“Dominic was a varsity wrestler last year, and took his lumps at times, but he still did a great job competing as an underclassmen at a big weight,” Lehr said. “This year he has made huge strides in terms of understanding the sport better, learning his own strengths, and realizing he can compete with other good guys.”
“I am glad that he is challenging himself to continue to grow in the sport.”
Vitale, who was a regional champion and one of 14 Tigers who advanced into the Rochelle Sectional, finished with a 21-13 record.
Grayslake Central’s William Nash IIl, who lost to Vitale 10-2 in the finals, moves on, as do Hersey’s Luke Koclanis and Fremd’s Jack Sloan. Koclanis won the third-place match with a fall in 0:57.
145- Kevin Hernandez, Mundelein
Kevin Hernandez is on his way to Frosh/Soph State for a second time after defeating McHenry’s Aiden Schuldt 11-7 to garner the 145-pound sectional prize.
“Kevin was in control of his entire finals match, and was able to finish this sectional tournament very strong,” said Mundelein head coach Craig Stocker. “He put a lot of time in on the mat throughout the offseason, and it has shown.
“Last year as a freshmen, he was not on our varsity roster, but he still managed to get himself to Frosh/Soph State, and this year, he is excited to be going back, where his goal is to get on the podium down there, which I believe he is quite capable of doing.”
The Mustangs sophomore, won 27 matches this past season, finished on the podium in nearly every tournament his club competed in, and was a sectional qualifier at Barrington, where he advanced to the third round of wrestlebacks before falling just short of the blood round.
Zion-Benton’s Tyson Poyer finished third while McHenry’s Avian Roman took fourth place.
152- Justice Humphreys, Warren Township
Justice Humphreys was thrilled to be moving on in the IWCOA postseason following his 1-0 win over Buffalo Grove’s Chris Chi in a hard-fought 152-pound final.
The Blue Devils sophomore, who wrestled at 170 for the regional champions, and won 31 matches in his first full year with the big club, beat Crystal Lake Central’s Tommy Tomasello 10-5 in the semifinals after recording a pin in his sectional opener.
“After being a part of a team that made it to dual-team state, this feels great to make it downstate,” Humphreys said.
Chi, who did not wrestle this past season for head coach George Beres, and only has competed in the IWCOA series, lost his regional opener, then caught fire according to Beres.
“Chris has just eight matches this season he does judo outside of school, but after that 13-11 loss at regionals, he’s been nearly untouchable,” said Beres.
“After that loss, he recorded back-to-back tech falls, then a pin in his third-place match, then today, he pinned his way into the semifinal against (George) Ciezak from Stevenson, who he beat in the regional final a week ago,” continued Beres. “He’s a great kid, a natural athlete, so hopefully we can keep him around next year, where he can continue to improve and have success.”
Ciezak finished third over Tomasello, who was a regional champ a week ago.
160- Aiden Fischler, McHenry
With the inspiration of the brilliant Chris Moore to follow, Aiden Fischler went on to win the 160-pound weight class following his pin over Hersey’s Connor Moga at 3:43.
“Just being around Chris was amazing, his work ethic, and dedication was something that really made a big impression on me and although there will not be another Chris Moore he was someone I looked up to,” said Fischler, who was a sectional qualifier, who went 2-2 at the Barrington Sectional.
“(Chris) brought the work up from everyone in the room so I feel real lucky to have been in the room all season long to watch what it takes to be at the level he was at,” added Fischler, who was near untouchable on his way to earning his sectional crown.
Chris Moore, who will wrestle next season at Illinois, set all sorts of records during his time at McHenry including a 99-1 overall record over his two years for the Warriors, an astounding 608 takedowns, plus 33 pins on his way to a second-place finish in 2022, and state championship recently in Champaign.
Crystal Lake Central’s Tyler Porter took third place with a fall over Bartlett’s James Smrha.
170- John Rappa, Rolling Meadows
John Rappa gave new head coach Joe Puzzo something to celebrate after the Rolling Meadows freshmen beat Jacobs’ Johnny Strauss in the 170-pound final with a 9-1 major decision.
“John has improved immensely, he understands the work ethic and dedication to continue to improve,” says Puzzo, who was head coach at Buffalo Grove in 2022 before moving over to take charge of the Mustangs program.
Rappa survived a 2-1 overtime match in his semifinal over the eventual third-place medalist, Libertyville’s Jack Treutelaar, to book his spot in the final.
“The kid from Libertyville (Treutelaar) was a defensive wrestler, which we exposed at regionals, but John was unable to get off the bottom, and he lost,” continued Puzzo.
“In that semifinal, we asked Jack to push the pace, own the mat, and move the young man, this time, Jack was not held down at all, he was relentless, and kept attacking.”
“I could have been better in my regional, so it was nice to have a second chance at (Treutelaar) and although it was a tough match, I think it really helped my confidence heading into the final,” said Rappa, who after his escape at the start of the second period, grabbed a 3-0 lead, before going on to a 5-0 advantage heading into the third period.
“Jack is resilient, and a model student athlete in the Mustang community,” added Puzzo of his rookie 170-pounder who was 14-14 during the regular season.
Strauss, who had state medal winner teammates: Dominic Ducato, and James Wright in his corner, cruised into the final with a pin at 3:55.
Treutelaar would later record a fall to defeat Palatine’s Esteban Suarez to claim third place.
182- Donald Powyer, Warren Township
Donald Powyer, who was able to get a taste of varsity wrestling for the dual team state qualifiers from Warren Township, used the experience that he gained to come away with a well-deserved sectional title at 182 pounds.
The sophomore opened tournament play with a pin in 3:00 before easing past Libertyville’s Andrew Langfeldt with a 6-5 decision to gain a berth in the final against Zion-Benton’s Francisco Yilmaz.
Once there, Powyer took the lead for good at 4-3 with a late second period takedown near the edge and would add to his lead at 6-4 with one minute left on the clock, then fought off a determined Yilmaz, whose escape with 17 seconds from time made this match close.
“I am so excited to be heading to Frosh/Soph State,” said Powyer. “I’m really lucky to be in a room at Warren that has so much talent, and one that helps all of us get better each day we go into the room,” continued the Blue Devils sophomore, who was 5-1 with the big club in his limited time with the varsity.
“I’ve got teammates like: Justice (Humphreys), Demetrius Lin, Jeremija Hixson and even our 220-pounder, Anthony Soto, to roll around with each day, so I am bound to get better and ready for next year when I look to be a starter.”
McHenry’s Ariel Montes pinned Langfeldt in the third-place contest.
195- Lamero Caesar, Waukegan
It was a case of deja vu all over again in the 195-pound weight class that was dominated by the same four men that had control in this division last weekend at the Lakes Regional.
This time, however, it was Waukegan sophomore Lamero Caesar who would come out on top following his well-executed pin at 4:50 over Warren Township’s Dylan Soto that led to his sectional title.
Caesar was third at regionals behind champion Soto and Johnsburg’s CJ Ameachi, who was second in there. He beat Ameachi in a 6-2 semifinals decision before going on to dash the hopes of Soto to win back-to-back majors.
Ameachi, who was a 1A sectional qualifier for Johnsburg with a 22-16 overall record, pinned his way into the Lakes Regional final, where he added another fall to his day over Soto.
At that regional, Caesar came back from a semifinal defeat to Soto to pin Zion-Benton’s Isaiah Toledo, who is also going downstate following his fourth place finish.
Caesar, 16-12 during the regular season, saw his season end at the Grant Regional in a blood-round loss to a hometown hero, Cameron Lattimore, who enjoyed a marvelous final year with the Bulldogs with a 35-14 record.
220 – Anthony Soto, Warren Township
It was too much Anthony Soto for the 220-pound weight class at Lake Zurich.
The Warren sophomore rolled into the final, where he recorded a 3-0 victory over Crystal Lake Central’s Thomas McNeil to earn a spot in the IWCOA Frosh/Soph State Tournament, one week after winning his last match of the regular season at the 3A DualTeam state Tournament in Bloomington.
Soto’s pin over his opponent from Lockport was just one of four victories in that state quarterfinal to give him a record of 32-12 on a season in which Soto handled the 220-pound spot for the Blue Devils all throughout, and a place in the Barrington Sectional field after finishing second at both the Lake County Invite and Grant Regional.
“Thomas (McNeil) was not on our varsity roster a year ago, but he stepped into our lineup this year, and did a great job as an underclassmen at a big weight,” said Lehr.
“H) was in a very difficult weight at the Rochelle Sectional, and I know he was disappointed in how things would shake down for him.”
“He came down to Champaign to watch the rest of his teammates to watch our state qualifiers, and I think a light came on that allowed him to see and understand that he has the ability to compete at the state level next season – and a medal at Frosh/Soph State would be a great stepping stone for him.”
The Tigers sophomore went 19-7 in his rookie year under Lehr, and followed up his elimination at sectionals with a regional title when he beat Dundee-Crown freshmen Teigen Moreno for the top prize.
Moreno was a 3A sectional qualifier, posting an impressive 33-8 record, which included a first-round loss at sectionals to Soto, who lost in the blood round to Fremd senior Casey Bending.
Stevenson’s Anthony Adams finished in fourth place to also earn a trip to Springfield.
285 – Clarence Jackson, Barrington
There was a time when the heavyweight division was made up of lumbering giants who pushed, and pulled their way to victory.
A look at the division is so much different now as the weight class is filled with the same big men,only now they possess quickness afoot, speed and plenty of agility, making this an exciting group to watch.
It’s a difficult weight class to be sure, especially for an underclassmen, and Barrington freshmen Clarence Jackson is one to watch.
Coming off his first sectional appearance, the rookie Bronco is headed downstate with back-to-back majors, the last one coming after his hard fought 4-2 decision over Waukegan’s Ivan Rogel Martinez.
“Yeah, it’s not an easy weight class to get started in, I’ve gotten beat up, and battered at times this season, but I am just loving this sport, my teammates, and coaching staff, so it’s been a great year for me,” said the affable Jackson, who is a nose tackle and defensive tackle during the fall football season.
“Clarence has come a long way fast, he’s a terrific athlete, who is like a sponge right now, and to be honest, in just his first year in the sport, he’s shown all of us that he can be a real force down the road,” said Broncos assistant, Ryan Horcher, who was a three-time state qualifier while at Dundee-Crown under Hall of Fame head coach, Al Zinke, and fourth-place state medalist his senior year.
“I feel like I am quicker, and faster than a lot of the guys I wrestle, even though I am really undersized as a heavyweight, but if I continue to put the work in during the offseason, there’s no reason why I cannot be even better next year,” said Jackson, who credit his uncle, Houston Neals, for much of his success thus far.
Jackson, who came in at 245 pounds, was 23-16 during the regular season.
Outside of runner-up Martinez, Stevenson’s Andrew Timmons took third place while Jacobs’ Max Garcia finished fourth..
By Curt Herron
HARVEY – The Thornton Township Sectional typified the other seven sectionals that the IWCOA held in order to assemble its field for its Freshman Sophomore State Championships, which take place on Saturday and Sunday at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield.
There was a mixture of individuals who fell a bit short in the sectionals of advancing to the IHSA Individual Finals in Champaign, some who didn’t get to compete much since they were on a state-ranked teams and a few who had health reasons for not seeing much action.
But whatever the reasons, getting the opportunity to enjoy one more weekend of success has definitely been a winning formula for many competitors throughout the years, and they can thank the IWCOA, which is conducting its 27th-annual tournament this weekend.
There’s a long list of athletes who just missed out on getting to state one year and then were on the awards stand the next year, thanks in part to getting valuable tournament experience at the IWCOA Finals.
While many of their teammates have turned in the singlets for the season, 480 will compete in Springfield for the chance to get to the awards stand one final time this season or just conclude a campaign where they hoped to accomplish a little more than they did.
Lincoln-Way East and Lincoln-Way West led the way for individuals qualifying for the State Finals with seven apiece while Lockport Township was next with five qualifiers and Bolingbrook, Coal City and Plainfield Central all advanced four individuals to Bloomington.
Teams that had three qualifiers were Joliet Catholic Academy, Joliet West, Minooka and Morris while Bradley-Bourbonnais, Plainfield North, Plainfield South and Seneca all advanced two to state.
Lincoln-Way East had the most champions with four while Lincoln-Way West had three title winners and Plainfield Central had two champions. Andrew, Bolingbrook, JCA, Lockport , Morris and Plainfield North also each had one individual who won a title.
Sectional champions were Lincoln-Way East’s Kaidge Richardson (120), Brayden Mortell (132), Declan Dircks (152) and Jackson Zaeske (160), Lincoln-Way West’s Jakob Siwinski (126), Nathan Elstner (182) and Brandon Bavirsha (220), Plainfield Central’s Aiden Rudman (138) and Antonio Montoya (285), Morris’ Owen Sater (101), Lockport Township’s Isaac Zimmerman (106), Bolingbrook’s Jared Craig (113), Plainfield North’s Jack Tota (145), Joliet Catholic Academy’s Maximus Vela (170) and Andrew’s Joe Zimmer (195).
Finishing in second place were Bolingbrook’s Angel Godinez (101), Isaac Harris (106) and Marcus Poe (152), Lincoln-Way West’s Jack Strezo (113) and Jimmy Talley (170), Lockport Township’s Anthony Diorio (126) and Malik Salah (220), Morris’ Carter Skoff (120), Homewood-Flossmoor’s Robye Williams (132), Bishop McNamara’s Ethan Pfeiffer (145), Plainfield South’s Colin Bickett (160), Coal City’s Cade Poyner (182) and Bradley-Bourbonnais’ Mark Argyelan (195).
Taking third place were Joliet West’s Adrian Hernandez (126), Tai’Vaughn Johnson (182) and Andre De Leon (220), Minooka’s
Anthony Frescura (132) and Ben Cyrkiel (145), Rich Township’s Davion Henry (101), Coal City’s Luke Munsterman (106), Morris’ Brandon Anderson (113), Joliet Catholic Academy’s Aurelio Munoz (120), Plainfield Central’s Matthias Hautzinger (138), Plainfield South’s Chase Pierceall (152), Lockport Township’s Durango Valles (160), Lincoln-Way West’s Chris Yirsa (170), Kankakee’s Jacob Vinardi (195) and Romeoville’s Jamir Thomas (285).
And finishing fourth were Coal City’s Rey Gonzalez (120) and Mason Garner (138), Seneca’s Landen Venecia (182) and Sullivan Feldt (195), Lincoln-Way West’s Max Munn (101), Lincoln-Way East’s Noah Ciolkosz (106), Bradley-Bourbonnais’ Cameron Borneman (113), Minooka’s Cole Spivey (126), Plainfield Central’s Jack Bowen (132), Clifton Central’s Giona Panozzo (145), Plainfield North’s Raphael Tovar (152), Lincoln-Way Central’s Aiden Hennings (160), Wilmington’s Logan Van Duyne (170), Joliet Catholic Academy’s Elijah Watt (220) and Lockport Township’s Jake Kratz (285).
Coach Kevin Rockett’s Lincoln-Way East team enjoyed another successful season by being ranked in the top-10 and giving Lockport a run for its money in the Class 3A Lockport Regional, but the Griffins fell short of the title by a 224-214 margin to the Porters. Lockport claimed a third-place finish in Bloomington, just as it did a year ago after Lincoln-Way East beat it to win its first conference title and but then the Porters defeated the Griffins to win the regional title.
Frosh/Soph sectional champions for the Griffins were Kaidge Richardson (120), Brayden Mortell (132), Declan Dircks (152) and Jackson Zaeske (160) while Rory Moran (138) and Ryan Stingily (285) took second and Noah Ciolkosz (106) placed fourth.
Richardson won a 10-1 major decision over Morris’ Carter Skoff at 120 and Mortell claimed the title at 132 by injury default after Homewood-Flossmoor’s Robye Williams didn’t compete in the finals. Dircks won 2-0 in sudden victory over Bolingbrook’s Marcus Poe in the 152 title match while Zaeske captured a 4-2 decision over Plainfield South’s Colin Bickett in the 160 finals.
Coach Brian Glynn’s Lincoln-Way West program was ranked high all season and won a regional title but fell to Lockport in the sectionals to be denied of a third trip to state, which it last qualified for in 2017.
The Warriors’ sectional champions at Thornton Township were Jakob Siwinski (126), Nathan Elstner (182) and Brandon Bavirsha (220). Lincoln-Way West also got second-place finishes from Jack Strezo (113) and Jimmy Talley (170), a third-place showing from Chris Yirsa (170) and a fourth-place effort from Max Munn (101).
“My season got cut short,” Siwinski said. “I was cutting 14 pounds a week and at regionals, I didn’t wrestle in it because I couldn’t get my weight down any more. My brother Luke wanted me to make it, too, so that we both would make it state together. And my dad, Larry, has always been there for me, so I’m happy about that.”
Lockport Township’s lone Frosh/Soph sectional champion was Isaac Zimmerman (106) while Anthony Diorio (126) and Malik Salah (220) placed second. Durango Valles (160) claimed third place and Jake Kratz (285) finished fourth.
“The thing about this is like redemption for me,” Zimmerman said. “I was winning 6-0 in the blood round (at the Normal Community Sectional) going into the third period and I got cradled and pinned. I should be able to win since I enjoyed seeing everybody on the team do well. And that was a good experience, not only just watching them perform but also to be there with them.”
The Porters took third place in Class 3A for the second straight year and for the third time overall. The program has now won five trophies since 2015 with the highlight coming in 2017 when they won the Class 3A title. Jameson Oster made an excellent debut as head coach, stepping in for his brother Josh, who led the program to its other trophies. In the Dual Team finals in Bloomington, Lockport beat Jake Oster-led Yorkville 45-16 in the first-ever meeting of two brothers in the state finals in the history of the tournament.
Plainfield Central had two champions and two other qualifiers. Aiden Rudman won a 6-2 decision over Moran at 138 and Antonio Montoya took top honors at 285 with a fall in 4:34 over Stingily, Also at 138, Matthias Hautzinger took third while Jack Bowen was fourth at 132.
“This means a lot,” Montoya said. “I just came back from almost a year off due to an injury after I broke my arm, so this was my first tournament back. I was very bummed. I’m a sophomore and I’ve been wrestling since sixth grade. It was very exciting, but I was nervous, as well. But it turned out good since I won. I’m excited about IWCOA state, and then after that, we have the offseason, and I’m going to work a lot during that time and get back to it.”
That highlighted a good debut season for coach Terry Kubski, a Wildcat alumni who’s in the school’s athletics hall of fame for being a member of its best dual team. He was in the corner when Alicia Tucker recently made history by winning the IHSA title at 155, joining Ryan Prater and Chris Traversa as the school’s only state champions.
Coal City had four qualifiers but no champions with Cade Poyner taking second place to Elstner at 182. Others who advanced for the Coalers were Luke Munsterman (106), who placed third, and Rey Gonzalez (120) and Mason Garner (138), who both took fourth.
The Coalers won their first state championship in the sport and third in any sport in school history after beating defending champion Yorkville Christian 32-31 for the Class 1A title in Bloomington. Coach Mark Masters’ Coalers, who were top-ranked all season, have won six trophies for the 2022 IWCOA Hall of Fame inductee since 2015.
Bolingbrook also had one champion and four qualifiers for first-year coach AJ Knoll, who also had a successful debut season. Winning a title for the Raiders was Jared Craig, who won a 7-3 decision over Strezo at 113. Angel Godinez (101) and Isaac Harris (106) took second prior to Craig’s title and Marcus Poe (152) also was second.
Joliet Catholic Academy had three qualifiers with Maximus Vela winning the title at 170 over Talley with an 11-1 major decision. Also for the Hilltoppers, Aurelio Munoz (120) took third place and Elijah Watt (220) finished fourth.
“I definitely enjoy competing wherever it is,” Vela said. “Every competition is just to make me better. My teammates, like state champ Mason Alessio and state finalist Nico Ronchetti are always there, pushing me to make me better. We had 11 underclassmen this year, so we’re just getting better from here.”
It was another great season for coach Ryan Cumbee’s Hilltoppers, who were the defending champions and top-ranked in Class 2A for most of the season but they lost a 28-27 heartbreaker to Washington in the state championship dual in a clash of the 2A’s top two teams.
Morris also had a champion and two other qualifiers as coach Lenny Tryner’s squad got a title win from Owen Sater at 101, when he recorded a fall in 2:35 over Godinez. Carter Skoff (120) took second to Richardson and Brandon Anderson (113) finished in third place.
Also having three qualifiers were coach Chuck Rumpf’s Joliet West team that advanced Adrian Hernandez (126), Tai’Vaughn Johnson (182) and Andre De Leon (220), who all took third. Coach Mike Kimberlin’s Minooka squad had third-place finishers Anthony Frescura (132), Ben Cyrkiel (145) and Cole Spivey (126) took fourth.
The other sectional champion was Andrew’s Joe Zimmer (195), who won with a fall in 1:23 over Bradley-Bourbonnais’ Mark Argyelan.
Thornton Township Sectional championship matches
101 – Owen Sater (Morris) F 2:35 Angel Godinez (Bolingbrook)
106 – Isaac Zimmerman (Lockport Township) D 10-4 Isaac Harris (Bolingbrook)
113 – Jared Craig (Bolingbrook) D 7-3 Jack Strezo (Lincoln-Way West)
120 – Kaidge Richardson (Lincoln-Way East) MD 10-1 Carter Skoff (Morris)
126 – Jakob Siwinski (Lincoln-Way West) F 1:52 Anthony Diorio (Lockport Township)
132 – Brayden Mortell (Lincoln-Way East) Inj. Robye Williams (Homewood-Flossmoor)
138 – Aiden Rudman (Plainfield Central) D 6-2 Rory Moran (Lincoln-Way East)
145 – Jack Tota (Plainfield North) D 4-2 Ethan Pfeiffer (Bishop McNamara)
152 – Declan Dircks (Lincoln-Way East) SV 2-0 Marcus Poe (Bolingbrook)
160 – Jackson Zaeske (Lincoln-Way East) D 4-2 Colin Bickett (Plainfield South)
170 – Maximus Vela (Joliet Catholic Academy) MD 11-1 Jimmy Talley (Lincoln-Way West)
182 – Nathan Elstner (Lincoln-Way West) F 1:40 Cade Poyner (Coal City)
195 – Joe Zimmer (Andrew) F 1:23 Marl Argyelan (Bradley-Bourbonnais)
220- Brandon Bavirsha (Lincoln-Way West) F 2:34 Malik Salah (Lockport Township)
285 – Antonio Montoya (Plainfield Central) F 4:34 Ryan Stingily (Lincoln-Way East)
By Curt Herron
A total of 480 competitors from 210 schools will compete in this weekend’s 27th annual Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Official Association Freshman Sophomore State Championships, which is on Saturday and Sunday at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield.
The top four finishers from eight sectionals that were held last weekend will take part in the tournament, which is for sophomores and freshmen who did not qualify for the IHSA Individual Finals.
Doors open on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and the opening ceremonies get underway at 10:30 a.m. The round of 16 begins at 2 p.m. and second-round consolation matches start at 6 p.m. A total of 138 girls have signed up for the event that is open to anyone in high school.
On Sunday, doors open at 9 a.m. with the quarterfinals and consolation round three matches at 10 a.m., consolation round four matches at noon and semifinals and quarterfinals consolation matches at 2 p.m. The Finals are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.
At the same time the IWCOA Girls Open Tournament will take place.On Sunday, the semifinals begin at 10 a.m. and the Finals are scheduled for 2 p.m. A total of 138 girls have signed up for the competition which is open to anyone who is in high school. At least six individuals who placed at the IHSA Finals in Bloomington are entered in the competition.
Here’s a list of all of the qualifiers for the Boys Freshman/Sophomore Championships, with their finishes at their respective sectionals listed as well as the results of all of the sectional championship matches.Evanston Sectional – IWCOA F/S State qualifiers
Oak Park and River Forest, Taft and York all had two champions at the Evanston Sectional, which featured qualifiers from the Glenbrook South and Niles Notre Dame Regionals. Oak Park and River Forest qualified six individuals for the IWCOA Frosh/Soph Finals in Springfield while Maine South and York had five qualifiers and Proviso West advanced four individuals.
Sectional champions were Taft’s Bernardo Roque (101) and David Ruiz (106), York’s Jackson Hanselman (120) and Frankie Nitti (132), Oak Park and River Forest’s Carey Robinson (195) and Eric Harris (220), Lane Tech’s Alexander Valentin (113), Deerfield’s Jack Palzet (126), DePaul College Prep’s Matthew Brendel (138), Chicago’s Van Grasser (145), Maine South’s Aidan Swenson (152), Glenbrook North’s Shane Onixt (160), Glenbrook South’s Alan Motoa (170), Evanston’s Brian Henry (182) and Notre Dame’s Scott Cook (285).
Finishing in second place were DePaul College Prep’s Dimitri Dobre (101) and Colin Bosak (106), Notre Dame’s John Greifelt (113), Maine South’s Jack Handley (120), Addison Trail’s Joshua Amorn-Vichet (126), New Trier’s Yassin Aitzemkour (132), York’s Benjamin Gorny (138), Proviso West’s Marquis Deloach (145), Glenbrook South’s Henry Downing (152),Maine West’s Peter Greco (160), Oak Park and River Forest’s Victor Vanek (170), Lane Tech’s Joaqin Gigante (182), Amundsen’s Michael Wojtach (195), Loyola Academy’s Joey Herbert (220) and Niles West’s Alex Hernandez (285).
Taking third place were Oak Park and River Forest’s Gabriel Rojas (113) and Taylor Francis (120), York’s Robert Martinelli (126) and Michael Grazzini (152), Evanston’s Chris Fargo (220) and Jeremy Marshall (285), Proviso West’s Andre Rice (101), Glenbrook South’s James Dravenack (106), Highland Park’s Nathan Ferrari (132), Deerfield’s Charlie Cross (138), New Trier’s Micah Eickbush (145), Maine South’s Jack Staunton (160), Notre Dame’s Sean Adams (170), Morton’s Lenin Conteras (182) and Leyden’s Erick Worwa (195).
Claiming fourth place were Maine South’s George Georgiev (101) and Evan Rioch (170), Proviso West’s Christian Guerrero (106) and Daniel Murillo (152), Glenbrook North’s Ebin Fladeland (132) and Henry Hafner (138), Fenwick’s Myles Moriarty (160) and Gianni Bertacchi (220), Deerfield’s Noah Palzet (113), Maine West’s Logan Battersby (120), Maine East’s Dulguun Nyamdavaa (126), Fenton’s Omar Diaz (145), Oak Park and River Forest’s Benjamin Martin (182), Elk Grove’s John Keigher (195) and Loyola Academy’s Tyler Isaacson (285).
Evanston Sectional championship matches
101 – Bernardo Roque (Taft) MD 12-0 Dimitri Dobre (DePaul College Prep)
106 – David Ruiz (Taft) F 1:18 Colin Bosak (DePaul College Prep)
113 – Alexander Valentin (Lane Tech) MD 15-6 John Greifelt (Notre Dame)
120 – Jackson Hanselman (York) F 1:45 Jack Handley (Maine South)
126 – Jack Palzet (Deerfield) D 6-2 Joshua Amorn–Vichet (Addison Trail)
132 – Frankie Nitti (York) F 2:10 Yassin Aitzemkour (New Trier)
138 – Matthew Brendel (DePaul College Prep) D 4-3 Benjamin Gorny (York)
145 – Van Grasser (Chicago) D 5-0 Marquis Deloach (Proviso West)
152 – Aidan Swenson (Maine South) D 11-7 Henry Downing (Glenbrook South)
160 – Shane Onixt (Glenbrook North) F 1:30 Peter Greco (Maine West)
170 – Alan Motoa (Glenbrook South) F 2:01 Victor Vanek (Oak Park and River Forest)
182 – Brian Henry (Evanston) F 2:23 Joaqin Gigante (Lane Tech)
195 – Carey Robinson (Oak Park and River Forest) MD 9-1 Michael Wojtach (Amundsen)
220 – Eric Harris (Oak Park and River Forest) D 4-1 Joey Herbert (Loyola Academy)
285 – Scott Cook (Notre Dame) F 1:37 Alex Hernandez (Niles West)
Granite City Sectional – IWCOA F/S State qualifiers
Quincy had three title winners while Belleville East, Belleville West and Waterloo all had two champions at the Granite City Sectional, which included qualifiers from the Althoff Catholic and Southeast Regionals. Edwardsville had the most qualifiers for the IWCOA F/S Finals with nine while Quincy had five and Waterloo had four.
Sectional champions were Quincy’s Hugh Sharrow (101), Brody Baker (138) and Todd Smith (285), Waterloo’s Konnor Stephens (106) and Jackson Deutch (160), Belleville West’s Aiden Colbert (132) and Shamontae Matthews (220), Belleville East’s Braden Kelly (145) and Terence Willis (152). Glenwood’s Kayle Blankenship (113), Warrensburg-Latham’s Kaden Roberts (120), Granite City’s Brenden Rayl (126), Jacksonville’s Abram Davidson (170), Vandalia’s Kaden Tidwell (182) and Highland’s Ashton Zobrist (195).
Placing second were Jacksonville’s Dashawn Armstrong (120) and Aiden Surratt (285),.Edwardsville’s Cameron Moerlien (132) and John Cloud (160), Triad’s William Kelly (101), Benton’s Zane Stanley (106), Marion’s Riddick Cook (113), PORTA’s Logan Baker (126), Roxana’s Lyndon Thies (138), Quincy’s Gunnar Derhake (145), Civic Memorial’s Luke McCoy (152), Trico’s Colin Hughey (170), Pittsfield’s Tucker Cook (182), Quincy Notre Dame’s Ryan Darnell (195) and Granite City’s Enrique Morales (220).
Taking third place were Edwardsville’s Tyler Perry (106), KJ Jamison (126), Logan Hiller (132), Brendan Landau (152), Simon Schulte (182), Roman Janek (195) and Dominic Dykstra (220), Warrensburg-Latham’s Charles Wittmer (101), Waterloo’s Ty Kinzinger (113), Triad’s Brody Smith (120), Marion’s Tate Miller (138), Alton’s Brayden Drew (145), Herrin’s Kolby Coffey (160), Belleville West’s Ethan Hofmeister (170) and Granite City’s Demarco Clark (285).
And finishing fourth were PORTA’s Zachary Bryant (106) and Hunter Morris (220), Cahokia’s Ja’marcus Agnew (101), Quincy’s Wyatt Boeing (113), Murphysboro’s Aiston Holt (120), Benton’s Kobe Cali (126), Belleville East’s Dewane Taylor (132), Waterloo’s Bladen Sease (138), East St. Louis’ Pierre Walton (145), Camp Point Central’s Konnor Bush (152), Glenwood’s Matthew Trapani (160), Carterville’s Jonathan Weideman (170), Springfield High’s Keyshaun Harris (182), Southeast’s Christopher Hull (195) and Beardstown’s
Chunk Dailey (285).
Granite City Sectional championship matches
101 – Hugh Sharrow (Quincy) D 7-0 William Kelly (Triad)
106 – Konnor Stephens (Waterloo) F 2:34 Zane Stanley (Benton)
113 – Kayle Blankenship (Glenwood) D 9-7 Riddick Cook (Marion)
120 – Kaden Roberts (Warrensburg-Latham) TF 5-4 Dashawn
126 – Brenden Rayl (Granite City) F 0:38 Logan Baker (PORTA)
132 – Aiden Colbert (Belleville West) D 2-1 Cameron Moerlien
138 – Brody Baker (Quincy) D 7-6 Lyndon Thies (Roxana)
145 – Braden Kelly (Belleville East) F 4:37 Gunnar Derhake (Quincy)
152 – Terence Willis (Belleville East) MD 14-5 Luke McCoy (Civic Memorial)
160 – Jackson Deutch (Waterloo) D 4-0 John Cloud (Edwardsville)
170 – Abram Davidson (Jacksonville) D 7-2 Colin Hughey (Trico)
182 – Kaden Tidwell (Vandalia) F 3:00 Tucker Cook (Pittsfield)
195 – Ashton Zobrist (Highland) Inj. Ryan Darnell (Quincy Notre Dame)
220 – Shamontae Matthews (Belleville West) D 7-3 Enrique Morales (Granite City)
285 – Todd Smith (Quincy) D 3-1 Aiden Surratt (Jacksonville)
Heyworth Sectional – IWCOA F/S State qualifiers
Fifteen different schools had champions at the Heyworth Sectional, which featured qualifiers from theClinton and Normal Regionals. Washington and Richwoods both advanced five individuals to the IWCOA Frosh/Soph State Championship that will take place this weekend at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield.
Winning sectional titles were Washington’s Symon Woods (101), Normal West’s Dylan McGrew (106), Tremont’s Dylan Eimer (113), Morton’s Caiden Robison (120), Metamora’s Connor Graham (126), Danville’s Ty Rangel (132), Pontiac’s Boden Brooks (138), Mahomet-Seymour’s AJ Demos (145), Olympia’s Kelton Graden (152), Unity’s Josh Heath (160), Clinton’s Kristian Hibbard (170), Dunlap’s Joe Weeks (182), Limestone’s Ethan Dixon (195), High School of Saint Thomas More’s James Schmidt (220) and Bloomington’s David Williams (285)
Finishing second were Richwoods’ Gabe Robb (113), Tyler Weiland (120) and Rikyis Doss (132), Bloomington’s KyVeon Chestnut (145) and Kenner Bye (170), Mt. Zion’s Kaden Becker (160) and Keller Stocks (182), East Peoria’s Chase Bancroft (195) and Jose Deltoro (285), Canton’s Dyllan Steele (101), Mahomet-Seymour’s Colton McClure (106), Hoopeston Area’s Aiden Bell (126), Deer Creek-Mackinaw’s Peyton Hixon (138), St. Joseph-Ogden’s Coy Hayes (152) and El Paso-Gridley’s Christopher Blackmore (220).
Placing third were Normal Community’s Jackson Soney (101) and Carter Mayes (120), Westville’s Gabe Kiddoo (160) and Ethan Miller (182), El Paso-Gridley’s Nolan Whitman (106), Richwoods Colton Boyer (113), Prairie Central’s John Traub (126), Monticello’s Drake Weeks (132), Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley’s Corbin Ragle (138), Washington’s Cruise Brolley (145), Morton’s Clay McKee (152), Olympia’s Cole Bauer (170), Rantoul’s Drew Owen (195), Mahomet-Seymour’s Noah Daniels (220) and Metamora’s Ty Dyekes (285).
Taking fourth place were Washington’s Wyatt Leman (182), Jacob Gauf (220) and Sean Thornton (285), Normal West’s Ruben Rivera (101) and Logan Alvarez (138), Metamora’s Zach Bumeter (106), Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin’s Landon Toellner (113), Farmington’s Caleb Showalter (120), Danville’s Josiah Williams (126), Unity’s Avery McGrew (132), High School of Saint Thomas More’s Philip Christhilf (145), University High’s Joshua Caraballo (152), Normal Community’s Victor Reyes (160), Richwoods’ Gabriel Martinez (170) and Charleston’s Marcellx Boling (195).
Heyworth Sectional championship matches
101 – Symon Woods (Washington) MFF Dyllan Steele (Canton)
106 – Dylan McGraw (Normal West) MD 10-2 Colton McClure (Mahomet-Seymour)
113 – Dylan Eimer (Tremont) D 4-2 Gabe Robb (Richwoods)
120 – Caiden Robison (Morton) D 6-0 Tyler Weiland (Richwoods)
126 – Connor Graham (Metamora) D 5-2 Aiden Bell (Hoopeston Area)
132 – Ty Rangel (Danville) F 2:33 Rikyis Doss (Richwoods)
138 – Boden Brooks (Pontiac) MD 14-6 Peyton Hixon (Deer Creek-Mackinaw)
145 – AJ Demos (Mahomet-Seymour) MD 12-4 KyVeon Chestnut (Bloomington)
152 – Kelton Graden (Olympia) D 8-1 Coy Hayes (St. Joseph-Ogden)
160 – Josh Heath (Unity) F 4:37 Kaden Becker (Mt. Zion)
170 – Kristian Hibbard (Clinton) D 9-2 Kenner Bye (Bloomington)
182 – Joe Weeks (Dunlap) D 5-2 Keller Stocks (Mt. Zion)
195 – Ethan Dixon (Limestone) F 2:27 Chase Bancroft (East Peoria)
220 – James Schmidt (High School of Saint Thomas More) F 2:24 Christopher Blackmore (El Paso-Gridley)
285 – David Williams (Bloomington) F 2:33 Jose Deltoro (East Peoria)
Lake Zurich Sectional – IWCOA F/S State qualifiers
Warren Township had three champions while Hersey had two title winners at the Lake Zurich Sectional, which included qualifiers from the Lake Zurich and Lakes Regionals. Stevenson qualified six individuals for the IWCOA Frosh/Soph Finals in Springfield while Crystal Lake Central and Hersey had five qualifiers and McHenry, Schaumburg and Warren Township all advanced four to state.
Sectional champion were Warren Township’s Justice Humphreys (152), Donald Powyer (182) and Anthony Soto (220), Hersey’s Anthony Orozco (113) and Rodrigo Arceo (132), Schaumburg’s Austin Phelps (101), Cary-Grove’s Hunter Lenz (106), Prairie Ridge’s Mikey Meade (120), Grant’s Erik Rodriguez (126), Crystal Lake Central’s Dominic Vitale (138), Mundelein’s Kevin Hernandez (145), McHenry’s Aiden Fischler (160), Rolling Meadows’ John Rappa (170), Waukegan’s Lamero Caesar (195) and Barrington’s Clarence Jackson (285).
Taking second place were Stevenson’s Evan Mishels (101), Shawn Kogan (120) and Val Vihrov (126), Crystal Lake Central’s Payton Ramsey (106) and Thomas McNeil (220), Warren Township’s Evan Glowinski (113) and Dylan Soto (195), Schaumburg’s Rocco Fontela (132), Grayslake Central’s Warren Nash III (138), McHenry’s Aiden Schuldt (145), Buffalo Grove’s Chris Chi (152), Hersey’s Connor Moga (160), Jacobs’ Johnny Strauss (170), Zion-Benton’s Francisco Yilmaz (182) and Waukegan’s Ivan Rogel Martinez (285).
Taking third place were Fremd’s Trentin Odachowski (101) and Drew Fifield (120), Johnsburg’s Landon Johnson (132) and CJ Ameachi (195), Stevenson’s Everett Ciezak (152) and Andrew Timmons (285), Grant’s Vince Jasinski (106), Barrington’s Jimmy Whitaker (113), Schaumburg’s Callen Kirchner (126), Hersey’s Luke Koclanis (138), Zion-Benton’s Tyson Poyer (145), Crystal Lake Central’s Tyler Porter (160), Libertyville’s Jack Treutelaar (170), McHenry’s Ariel Montes (182) and Dundee-Crown’s Teigen Moreno (220).
Finishing fourth were Grant’s Larry Quirk (101), Hersey’s Riddick Variano (106), Grayslake Central’s Krish Sahu (113), Schaumburg’s Iverson Cortes (120), Mundelein’s Ethan Banda (126), Barrington’s George Voris (132), Fremd’s Jack Sloan (138), McHenry’s Avian Roman (145), Crystal Lake Central’s Tommy Tomasello (152), Bartlett’s James Smrha (160), Palatine’s Esteban Suarez (170),
Libertyville’s Andrew Langfeldt (182), Zion-Benton’s Isaiah Tellado (195), Stevenson’s Anthony Adams (220) and Jacobs’ Max Garcia (285).
Lake Zurich Sectional championship matches
101 – Austin Phelps (Schaumburg) D 7-3 Evan Mishels (Stevenson)
106 – Hunter Lenz (Cary-Grove) D 7-4 Payton Ramsey (Crystal Lake Central)
113 – Anthony Orozco (Hersey) D 9-3 Evan Glowinski (Warren Township)
120 – Mikey Meade (Prairie Ridge) D 3-1 Shawn Kogan (Stevenson)
126 – Erik Rodriguez (Grant) D 7-5 Val Vihrov (Stevenson)
132 – Rodrigo Arceo (Hersey) F 4:50 Rocco Fontela (Schaumburg)
138 – Dominic Vitale (Crystal Lake Central) MD 10-2 Warren Nash III (Grayslake Central)
145 – Kevin Hernandez (Mundelein) D 11-7 Aiden Schuldt (McHenry)
152 – Justice Humphreys (Warren Township) D 1-0 Chris Chi (Buffalo Grove)
160 – Aiden Fischler (McHenry) F 3:43 Connor Moga (Hersey)
170 – John Rappa (Rolling Meadows) MD 9-1 Johnny Strauss (Jacobs)
182 – Donald Powyer (Warren Township) D 8-5 Francisco Yilmaz (Zion-Benton)
195 – Lamero Caesar (Waukegan) F 4:59 Dylan Soto (Warren Township)
220 – Anthony Soto (Warren Township) D 3-0 Thomas McNeil (Crystal Lake Central)
285 – Clarence Jackson (Barrington) D 4-2 Ivan Rogel Martinez (Waukegan)
Naperville Central Sectional – IWCOA F/S State qualifiers
St. Charles East had three champions while Glenbard North and Marmion Academy had two apiece at the Naperville Central Sectional, which included teams from the Glenbard South and Oswego East Regionals. Naperville Central had the most qualifiers for the IWCOA Frosh/Soph Finals with five while Glenbard North and St. Charles East advance four each to the finals in Springfield.
Sectional champions were St. Charles East’s Ryan McGovern (145), Anthony Lobrillo (220) and Matthew Medina (285), Marmion Academy’s Ashton Hobson (132) and Mateusz Nycz (195), Glenbard North’s Rylan Kradle (138) and Tyler Ott (182), Oswego East’s Nico Harris (101), Lyons Township’s Griff Powell (106), Glenbard East’s Ismael Chaidez (113), Naperville North’s Tyler Sternstein (120),
Glenbard West’s Ulises Rosas (126), Yorkville Christian’s Robby Nelson (152), Yorkville’s Luke Chrisse (160) and Naperville Central’s Henry Rydwelski (170).
Taking second placer were Oswego’s Vincent Manfre (113) and Brayden Swanson (126), Waubonsie Valley’s Elias Gonzalez (132) and Leonidas Hobson (285), St. Charles North’s Nathan McLoughlin (160) and Matthew Plumb (170), Geneva’s Samuel Sikorsky (101), Downers Grove North’s Tyler Tiangco (106), Glenbard West’s Alejandro Aranda (120), West Aurora’s Dayne Serio (138), Yorkville’s Caleb Viscogliosi (145), Wheaton North’s Julian Flores (152), Montini Catholic’s Jaxon Lane (182), Marmion Academy’s Joseph Favia (195) and Oswego East’s Joshua Edwards (220).
Finishing third were West Chicago’s Ryan Alvarado (113) and Avila Donovan (132), Naperville Central’s Vincent Bern (126) and William Erbeck (182), Naperville Central’s Vincent Bern (126) and William Erbeck (182), Downers Grove South’s Trevor DiNaso (101), Glenbard West’s Carson Prunty (106), Oswego East’s Noah Snow (120), Wheaton North’s Thomas Fulton (138), Larkin’s David Miranda (145), Oswego’s Ethan Essick (152), Montini Catholic’s Alexander Tack (160), St. Charles East’s Abe Leidig (170), Naperville North’s Tavfik Ibragimov (195), Neuqua Valley’s Magomed Nurudinov (220) and Downers Grove North’s Peter Rodriguez (285).
Taking fourth place were Riverside-Brookfield’s Chase Murrell (101) and Ethan Rivas (145), Naperville Central’s Austin Aguinaldo (106) and Adrian Wadas-Luis (126), Wheaton Academy’s Chasen Kazmierczak (138) and Caden Smith (170), Glenbard North’s Erick Esquivel (160) and Julian Holland (195), Naperville North’s Connor McDonald (113), West Aurora’s Evan Matkovich (120), Wheaton North’s Ryan Rosch (132), St. Charles East’s Cooper Murray (152), Plano’s Richie Amakiri (182), Wheaton Warrenville South’s Ashton Kibbe (220) and Yorkville Christian’s Garrett Tunnell (285).
Naperville Central Sectional championship matches
101 – Nico Harris (Oswego East) F 2:44 Samuel Sikorsky (Geneva)
106 – Griff Powell (Lyons Township) MFF Tyler Tiangco (Downers Grove North)
113 – Ismael Chaidez (Glenbard East) D 8-3 Vincent Manfre (Oswego)
120 – Tyler Sternstein (Naperville North) MD 12-2 Alejandro Aranda (Glenbard West)
126 – Ulises Rosas (Glenbard West) D 4-2 Brayden Swanson (Oswego)
132 – Ashton Hobson (Marmion Academy) D 4-3 Elias Gonzalez (Waubonsie Valley)
138 – Rylan Kradle (Glenbard North) Inj. Dayne Serio (West Aurora)
145 – Ryan McGovern (St. Charles East) D 10-4 Caleb Viscogliosi (Yorkville)
152 – Robby Nelson (Yorkville Christian) D 4-0 Julian Flores (Wheaton North)
160 – Luke Chrisse (Yorkville) SV 10-8 Nathan McLoughlin (St. Charles North)
170 – Henry Rydwelski (Naperville Central) D 1-0 Matthew Plum (St. Charles North)
182 – Tyler Ott (Glenbard North) F 2:46 Jaxon Lane (Montini Catholic)
195 – Mateusz Nycz (Marmion Academy) Inj. Joseph Favia (Marmion Academy)
220 – Anthony Lobrillo (St. Charles East) F 2:06 Joshua Edwards (Oswego East)
285 – Matthew Medina (St. Charles East) D 7-5 Leonidas Hobson (Waubonsie Valley)
Shepard Sectional – IWCOA F/S State qualifiers
Carl Sandburg had four champions while Marist had three title winners at the Shepard Sectional in Palos Heights, which included individuals from schools that competed in the Richards and the Sarah Goode STEM Academy Regionals. Carl Sandburg had a state-best 11 qualifiers while Marist advances eight individuals to the IWCOA Frosh/Soph Championships in Springfield.
Winning sectional titles were Carl Sandburg’s Madden Parker (113), Vince Gutierrez (132), Malic Breish (170) and Ahmad Alomari (195), Marist’s Joseph Bronske (101), Kevin Tomkins (145) and Danzel Newell (220), Mount Carmel’s Kavel Moore (106) and Kevin Kalchbrenner (152), Evergreen Park’s Genesis Ward (182) and Jeremy Gagnon (285), Bremen’s Eliijah Wofford (120), Oak Forest’s Austin Perez (126), Brother Rice’s Jack O’Connor (138) and Curie’s Mylan William (160).
Taking second place were Carl Sandburg’s Tyson Bruce (113), Connor Wholley (120), Alex Accardi (126), Ahmad Abu (138) and Adnan Askar (145), St. Rita’s Jack Hogan (101), Brother Rice’s Danny Tait (106), Perspectives’ Maurice Bush (132), Bremen’s Adrian Esparza (152), Oak Forest’s Blake Bussie (160), De La Salle’s Marquis Mays (170), Tinley Park’s Sebastian Sanderson (182), Kennedy’s Raul Duarte (195), Marist’s Daniel Mahoney (220) and Eisenhower’s Lavar Davis (285).
Finishing third were Brother Rice’s Johnny Vega (120), Kyle Fehsel (126) and Quinn Nelligan (132), Bremen’s Izaiah Gonzalez (113) and Malakai Scott (138), Evergreen Park’s Ashton Gray (145) and David Johnson (152), Chicago Hope Academy’s Ismael Martinez (160) and Roy Phelps (285), Shepard’s Yazen Ashkar (182) and Javier Young (220), Marist’s Dylan Weber (101), Carl Sandburg’s Jake Crotty (106), Mount Carmel’s Leonard Siegal (170) and St. Laurence’s Xavier Bitner (195).
And claiming fourth were Marist’s Logan Mishka (120), Ronin Haran (132) and Kyle Herzog (160), Kennedy’s Josue Tankson (106) and Christopher De Leon (285), Oak Forest’s Jason Janke (152) and Andrius Vasilevskas (220), Stagg’s Javier Corral (101), Little Village’s Jovanni Harris (113), St. Rita’s Liam Quigley (126), Carl Sandburg’s Jeffery Bellik (138), Corliss’ Deangelo Wilis (145), Universal’s Jeramey Sanders (170), Hyde Park’s Alonta Parker (182) and Curie’s Eduardo Seija (195).
Shepard Sectional championship matches
101 – Joseph Bronske (Marist) D 2-1 Jack Hogan (St. Rita)
106 – Kavel Moore (Mount Carmel) F 1:51 Danny Tait (Brother Rice)
113 – Madden Parker (Carl Sandburg) D 6-4 Tyson Bruce (Carl Sandburg)
120 – Eliijah Wofford (Bremen) MD 12-2 Connor Wholley (Carl Sandburg)
126 – Austin Perez (Oak Forest) F 2:34 Alex Accardi (Carl Sandburg)
132 – Vince Gutierrez (Carl Sandburg) F 3:47 Maurice Bush (Perspectives)
138 – Jack O’Connor (Brother Rice) D 6-2 Ahmad Abu (Carl Sandburg)
145 – Kevin Tomkins (Marist) F 2:11 Adnan Askar (Carl Sandburg)
152 – Kevin Kalchbrenner (Mount Carmel) F 1:27 Adrian Esparza (Bremen)
160 – Mylan William (Curie) D 2-1 Blake Bussie (Oak Forest)
170 – Malic Breish (Carl Sandburg) F 3:18 Marquis Mays (De La Salle)
182 – Genesis Ward (Evergreen Park) F 3:49 Sebastian Sanderson (Tinley Park)
195 – Ahmad Alomari (Carl Sandburg) F 1:16 Raul Duarte (Kennedy)
220 – Danzel Newell (Marist) D 4-2 Daniel Mahoney (Marist)
285 – Jeremy Gagnon (Evergreen Park) Inj, Lavar Davis (Eisenhower)
Sterling Sectional – IWCOA F/S State qualifiers
DeKalb and Geneseo each had two title winners to lead the way at the Sterling Sectional, which featured qualifiers from the Huntley and Morrison Regionals. DeKalb and Lena-Winslow/Stockton both had seven qualifiers while Geneseo and Hononegah both advanced five and Hampshire and Oregon are sending four individuals to state.
Sectional champions were Geneseo’s Tim Sebastian (106) and Brayden Franzen (220), DeKalb’s Hudson Ikens (132) and Jeremiah Piniera (195), Marian Central Catholic’s Austin Hagevold (101), Sterling’s Zyan Westbrook (113), Burlington Central’s Austin Lee (120), Stillman Valley’s Henry Hildreth (126), Belvidere’s Dominick Girardin (138), Hononegah’s Connor Diemel (145), United Township’s Kayden Marolf (152), Rockridge’s Ryan Lower (160), Lena-Winslow/Stockton’s Eli Larson (170), Morrison’s Donny Reavy (182) and Rock Falls’ Jacob Hosler (285).
Finishing in second place were Oregon’s Jackson Messenger (113), Andrew Young (195) and Briggs Sellers (285), Hampshire’s Aric Abbott (132), Christopher Napiorkowski (145) and Aidan Rowells (170), DeKalb’s Ayden Shuey (126) and Emerson Watson (220), Sterling’s Cael Lyons (101), Hononegah’s Jackson Olson (106), Moline’s Dominick Diaz (120), Lena-Winslow/Stockton’s John Mensendike (138), Princeton’s Casey Etheridge (152), Burlington Central’s Jonah Chavez (160) and Woodstock North’s David Randecker (182).
Taking third were Hononegah’s Trey Anderson (101), Max Aranki (132) and Maximus Haskins (145), Lena-Winslow/Stockton’s Arrison Bauer (120), Oliver McPeek (160) and Jeremiah Luke (182),
Geneseo’s Grady Hull (113) and Jacob Stahl (285), DeKalb’s Michael Hodge III (138) and Nick Waddle (220), Monmouth-Roseville’s Caleb Dillard (106), Rock Island’s Antonio Parker (126), Hampshire’s Michael Brannigan (152), Sterling’s Gage Tate (170) and Kaneland’s Jack Parker (195).
And finishing fourth were Rock Island’s Merrick Stockwell (106) and Temar Hudson (120), Lena-Winslow/Stockton’s Mauricio Glass (126) and Duncan Nevel (195), Sycamore’s Michael Olson (101), Harvard’s Reymundo Romo (113), Riverdale’s Kolton Kruse (132), Rock Falls’ Korbin Oligney (138), DeKalb’s Cam Matthews (145), Moline’s Deanthony Simpson (152), Stillman Valley’s Brock Needs (160), Woodstock’s Edgar Arana (170), Geneseo’s Aaron Betcher (182), Oregon’s Landen Elder (220) and Orion’s Noah Parr (285).
Sterling Sectional championship matches
101 – Austin Hagevold (Marian Central Catholic) F 4:25 Cael Lyons (Sterling)
106 – Tim Sebastian (Geneseo) D 9-3 Jackson Olson (Hononegah)
113 – Zyan Westbrook (Sterling) D 6-0 Jackson Messenger (Oregon)
120 – Austin Lee (Burlington Central) D 7-6 Dominick Diaz (Moline)
126 – Henry Hildreth (Stillman Valley) F 1:55 Ayden Shuey (DeKalb)
132 – Hudson Ikens (DeKalb) F 2:02 Aric Abbott (Hampshire)
138 – Dominick Girardin (Belvidere) F 1:50 John Mensendike (Lena-Winslow/Stockton)
145 – Connor Diemel (Hononegah) F 2:59 Christopher Napiorkowski (Hampshire)
152 – Kayden Marolf (United Township) D 5-4 Casey Etheridge (Princeton)
160 – Ryan Lower (Rockridge) Inj. Jonah Chavez (Burlington Central)
170 – Eli Larson (Lena-Winslow/Stockton) TF Aidan Rowells (Hampshire)
182 – Donny Reavy (Morrison) F 0:20 David Randecker (Woodstock North)
195 – Jeremiah Piniera (DeKalb) F 2:01 Andrew Young (Oregon)
220 – Brayden Franzen (Geneseo) F 2:35 Emerson Watson (DeKalb)
285 – Jacob Hosler (Rock Falls) F 0:44 Briggs Sellers (Oregon)
Thornton Township Sectional – IWCOA F/S State Qualifiers
Lincoln-Way East had five champions and Lincoln-Way West had three title winners as both qualified seven individuals to teams at the Thornton Township Sectional in Harvey. Plainfield Central had two champions and four qualifiers, Lockport advanced five competitors and Bolingbrook and Coal City also qualified four individuals to the IWCOA Fros/Soph Finals in Springfield.
Sectional champions were Lincoln-Way East’s Kaidge Richardson (120), Brayden Mortell (132), Declan Dircks (152) and Jackson Zaeske (160), Lincoln-Way West’s Jakob Siwinski (126), Nathan Elstner (182) and Brandon Bavirsha (220), Plainfield Central’s Aiden Rudman (138) and Antonio Montoya (285), Morris’ Owen Sater (101), Lockport Township’s Isaac Zimmerman (106), Bolingbrook’s Jared Craig (113), Plainfield North’s Jack Tota (145), Joliet Catholic Academy’s Maximus Vela (170) and Andrew’s Joe Zimmer (195)
Finishing in second place were Bolingbrook’s Angel Godinez (101), Isaac Harris (106) and Marcus Poe (152), Lincoln-Way West’s Jack Strezo (113) and Jimmy Talley (170), Lockport Township’s Anthony Diorio (126) and Malik Salah (220), Lincoln-Way East’s Rory Moran (138) and Ryan Stingily (285), Morris’ Carter Skoff (120), Homewood-Flossmoor’s Robye Williams (132), Bishop McNamara’s Ethan Pfeiffer (145), Plainfield South’s Colin Bickett (160), Coal City’s Cade Poyner (182) and Bradley-Bourbonnais’ Mark Argyelan (195).
Taking third place were Joliet West’s Adrian Hernandez (126), Tai’Vaughn Johnson (182) and Andre De Leon (220), Minooka’s Anthony Frescura (132) and Ben Cyrkiel (145), Rich Township’s Davion Henry (101), Coal City’s Luke Munsterman (106)
Morris’ Brandon Anderson (113), Joliet Catholic Academy’s Aurelio Munoz (120), Plainfield Central’s Matthias Hautzinger (138),
Plainfield South’s Chase Pierceall (152), Lockport Township’s
Durango Valles (160), Lincoln-Way West’s Chris Yirsa (170), Kankakee’s Jacob Vinardi (195) and Romeoville’s Jamir Thomas (285).
Finishing fourth were Coal City’s Rey Gonzalez (120) and Mason Garner (138), Seneca’s Landen Venecia (182) and Sullivan Feldt (195), Lincoln-Way West’s Max Munn (101), Lincoln-Way East’s Noah Ciolkosz (106), Bradley-Bourbonnais’ Cameron Borneman (113),
Minooka’s Cole Spivey (126), Plainfield Central’s Jack Bowen (132),
Clifton Central’s Giona Panozzo (145), Plainfield North’s Raphael Tovar (152), Lincoln-Way Central’s Aiden Hennings (160),
Wilmington’s Logan Van Duyne (170), Joliet Catholic Academy’s
Elijah Watt (220) and Lockport Township’s Jake Kratz (285).
Thornton Township Sectional championship matches
101 – Owen Sater (Morris) F 2:35 Angel Godinez (Bolingbrook)
106 – Isaac Zimmerman (Lockport Township) D 10-4 Isaac Harris (Bolingbrook)
113 – Jared Craig (Bolingbrook) D 7-3 Jack Strezo (Lincoln-Way West)
120 – Kaidge Richardson (Lincoln-Way East) MD 10-1 Carter Skoff (Morris)
126 – Jakob Siwinski (Lincoln-Way West) F 1:52 Anthony Diorio (Lockport Township)
132 – Brayden Mortell (Lincoln-Way East) Inj. Robye Williams (Homewood-Flossmoor)
138 – Aiden Rudman (Plainfield Central) D 6-2 Rory Moran (Lincoln-Way East)
145 – Jack Tota (Plainfield North) D 4-2 Ethan Pfeiffer (Bishop McNamara)
152 – Declan Dircks (Lincoln-Way East) SV 2-0 Marcus Poe (Bolingbrook)
160 – Jackson Zaeske (Lincoln-Way East) D 4-2 Colin Bickett (Plainfield South)
170 – Maximus Vela (Joliet Catholic Academy) MD 11-1 Jimmy Talley (Lincoln-Way West)
182 – Nathan Elstner (Lincoln-Way West) F 1:40 Cade Poyner (Coal City)
195 – Joe Zimmer (Andrew) F 1:23 Marl Argyelan (Bradley-Bourbonnais)
220- Brandon Bavirsha (Lincoln-Way West) F 2:34 Malik Salah (Lockport Township)
285 – Antonio Montoya (Plainfield Central) F 4:34 Ryan Stingily (Lincoln-Way East)
By Curt Herron
BLOOMINGTON – Last year’s initial IHSA Girls Individual State Finals set an extremely high bar that any longtime competition would be ecstatic to see after 11 of its first 14 champions were nationally-ranked and two second-place finishers also were ranked among the nation’s best.
While the second IHSA Individual Finals didn’t quite achieve those lofty standards, it wasn’t very far off and it definitely still featured a much larger gathering of some of the nation’s best in their sport as compared to almost any other IHSA championship competition.
Nine individuals who were ranked in the top 30 at their weights in the most recent National Wrestling Hall of Fame, USA Wrestling and FloWrestling National Girls High School Rankings captured state championships at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington while three others took second place, with one of those being top-ranked, while one took third, one was fourth and another took sixth.
The top-10 nationally-ranked champions were Freeport”s Cadence Diduch at 125 (No. 1 at 127), Belleville East’s Kiara Ganey at 235 (No. 1 at 225), Batavia’s Sydney Perry at 145 (No. 2 at 144), Glenbard North’s Gabriella Gomez at 115 (No. 4 at 112) and Boylan Catholic’s Netavia Wickson at 135 (No. 8 at 138).
Others who were ranked among the nation’s best who won state titles were Hononegah’s Angelina Cassioppi at 120 (No. 13 at 117), Edwardsville’s Mackenzie Pratt at 140 (No. 19 at 138), Loyola Academy’s Harlee Hiller at 105 (No. 25 at 106) and Homewood-Flossmoor’s Attalia Watson-Castro at 130 (No. 27 at 132).
The other five state champions were Bartlett’s Emma Engels at 100, Grant’s Ayane Jasinski at 110, Plainfield Central’s Alicia Tucker at 155, Highland’s August Rottmann at 170 and Homewood-Flossmoor’s Ini Odumosu at 190.
Individuals who repeated as IHSA champions were Cassioppi, Diduch, Ganey, Gomez, Perry and Watson-Castro. Three of the champions also took first place in the IWCOA Girls State Finals in 2021, Diduch, Ganey and Perry.
Records of the state champions were Perry (34-0, 1.000), Gomez (33-0, 1.000), Diduch (11-0, 1.000), Watson-Castro (38-1, .974), Pratt (30-1, .968), Rottmann (21-1, .955), Ganey (18-1, .947), Tucker (34-2, .944), Odumosu (36-4, .900), Jasinski (21-3, .875), Hiller (32-5, .865), Cassioppi (27-6, .818), Wickson (19-5, .792) and Engels (37-12, .755).
Champions who were second a year ago were Wickson and Pratt.
Biggest improvements in placements for champions were Tucker from not qualifying, Engels from one win shy of a medal, Odumosu from fifth, Jasinski from fourth, Hiller from third and Rottmann from third.
Homewood-Flossmoor was the only team to have two champions. Schools that captured their first state championships were Bartlett, Boylan Catholic, Edwardsville, Grant, Highland, Loyola Academy and Plainfield Central.
Individuals who were ranked in the top-20 nationally who took second place were El Paso-Gridley’s Valerie Hamilton at 145 (No. 1 at 138), Lockport’s Claudia Heeney at 125 (No. 14 at 127) and West Chicago’s Jayden Huesca-Rodriguez at 190 (No. 20 at 200).
Others who took second place were Oak Forest’s Alexandra Sebek at 100, Anna-Jonesboro’s Zoee Sadler at 105, Lincoln-Way Central’s
Gracie Guarino at 110, Joliet Township’s Eliana Paramo at 115, Yorkville’s Yamilet Aguirre at 120, El Paso-Gridley’s Savannah Hamilton at 130, Canton’s Kinnley Smith at 135, Goreville’s Alivia Ming at 140, Moline’s Maryam Ndiaye at 155, Joliet Township’s Nydia Martinez at 170 and Curie’s Aaliyah Grandberry at 235.
The marquee championship match between individuals ranked first and second in the country at 145 nearly didn’t happen. At first the IHSA didn’t allow Valerie Hamilton or Perry into the tournament because of other competitions that they participated in. But the Board of Directors allowed both to enter and Perry got a late takedown and nearfall to rally for a 7-4 victory to capture her second state title.
The title matches were very competitive with a win by sudden victory, six other decisions, three major decisions and four falls.
Some of the closest tiles matches were Jasinski 2-0 in sudden victory over Guarino at 110, Tucker 3-1 over Ndiaye at 155, Perry 7-4 over Valerie Hamilton at 145, Engels 4-0 over Sebek at 100 and Ganey 6-1 over Grandberry at 235 in a rematch of last year’s finals at 235.
Champions of the first IHSA finals who weren’t able to repeat were Alton’s Antonia Phillps, who took third at 145, Unity’s Lexi Ritchie, who was fourth at 155 and Huesca-Rodriguez, who was second at 190. Ritchie was ranked 22nd nationally at 152. Second-place finishers from the initial finals who won titles were Pratt and Wickson.
Individuals who claimed second-place finishes for the second year in a row were Guarino (13-1) at 110 and Grandberry (24-1) at 235. Both suffered their first losses of the season in the finals, as did Lockport’s Heeney (42-1), El Paso-Gridley’s Valerie Hamilton (6-1) and West Chicago’s Huesca-Rodriguez (18-1).
Third-place finishers were Huntley’s Janiah Slaughter at 100, Lake Forest’s Annika Cottam at 105, Mt. Zion’s Sydney Cannon at 110, Red Bud’s Avery Smith at 115, Bowen’s Monica Griffin at 120, Lakes’ Ava Babbs at 125 and Colinsville’s Taylor Dawson at 130.
Also taking third place were District 230’s Alyssa Keane at 135, Schaumburg’s Valeria Rodriguez at 140, Alton’s Phillips at 145, Palatine’s Jasmine Hernandez at 155, Zion-Benton’s ILeen Castrejon at 170, Minooka’s Jaiden Moody at 190 and Urbana’s Jurdan Tyler at 235.
Here’s a look at this year’s IHSA champions and the other medalists at their weight classes:
130 – Attalia Watson-Castro, Homewood-Flossmoor
With the IHSA Individual Finals beginning its championship matches at 130, Attalia Watson-Castro realized that she had the opportunity to accomplish something that was special by becoming the first two-time IHSA champion, and although a bit apprehensive, she was still determined to cap her career in style, and she did just that.
The Homewood-Flossmoor senior, who was ranked 27th nationally at 132, became the first two-time IHSA champion when she won the 130 title match with a 9-3 victory over El Paso-Gridley’s Savannah Hamilton, who was also someone that was on a mission since she didn’t want to be first individual in state history to finish second twice.
Watson-Castro (38-1) capped a two-year run where she went 55-2 and added to a 4-0 title win at 135 a year ago over Boylan Catholic’s Netavia Wickson. Her run to become the first of the Vikings’ two champions began with a 5-2 decision over Hoffman Estates’ Abigail Ji, was followed by a 6-0 quarterfinals win over Cumberland’s Natalie Beaumont and her second-straight trip to the title mat was set up by a fall in 2:54 over Kankakee’s Alejandra Cornejo.
“It means a lot,” Watson-Castro said of being the first two-time IHSA champion. “It was actually a lot of time and effort that I didn’t think that I was going to put into it, especially after wanting to quit the sport. I’m kind of happy that I stuck through it and was able to be the first two-time champ. I’m happy that they started off at 130. I was very nervous, because I was like, ‘why 130?’, last year we started at 45 and we could have gone somewhere around there.
“I’m not really a fan of the high school season because it’s Folkstyle and I really love Freestyle. So I was debating quitting Folkstyle season and just focusing strictly on Freestyle to get ready for after high school. But after coming in and helping out the new girls that wanted to try the sport, it was like, I couldn’t let it go because it was something that I started, especially with being our first state champ last year. I was like, I just have to keep going.”
Hamilton (21-11), along with her sister Valerie, became the second sisters to compete in title matches at the same finals. She hoped to improve on last year’s 6-2 loss to Alton’s Antonia Phillips in the 140 title match. The Titans sophomore got a pin in 1:25 over Bolingbrook’s Katie Ramirez-Quintero in the quarterfinals and won a 10-2 major decision in the semifinals over Collinsville’s Taylor Dawson
Dawson (34-5), a sophomore who was second to Yorkville’s Natasha Markoutsis a year ago at 125, took third place with a fall in 3:03 over Cornejo (18-15), a senior who fell one win shy of a medal last year. One week later, Dawson had another third-place finish, this time at 132 in 16U in the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals in Omaha, Nebraska. In the fifth-place match, Morton sophomore Karen Canchola (26-7) won 2-0 over Glenbard West senior Khatija Ahmed (25-11), who also fell one victory short of a medal a year ago.
135 – Netavia Wickson, Boylan Catholic
Though it might sound like a broken record, as the old sayings go, persistence pays off and also the third time’s the charm and that certainly proved to be the case this season for Netavia Wickson.
The Boylan Catholic junior, who was ranked eighth nationally at 138, finally saw her quest for a state championship come about after turning in an impressive performance by capturing a 9-1 major decision over Canton’s Kinnley Smith to win the championship at 135. Last year in the initial IHSA Finals, she placed second to Homewood-Flossmoor’s Attalia Watson=Castro at 135 and in 2021 in the IWCOA Girls Finals, she finished second to Glenwood’s Maya Davis.
Wickson (19-5) was dominant throughout the two-day event, earning her spot on the title mat with a win by technical fall in 4:33 in the semifinals over District 230’s Alyssa Keane. She only needed 0:40 to record a fall in the quarterfinals over Riverside-Brookfield’s Danely Villagomez and just a bit more than that, 0:43, to get a pin over Auburn’s Jadyn Perry in her opening match.
“It feels great because I worked really hard and I train and train and I’m almost pushing myself to my best,” Wickson said. “I knew that I had to avenge something here today. This season I wrestled all boys, except for sectionals and state. I feel good wrestling the boys this year because it really helps me to motivate myself and it gets me to be prepared for right now. I was just thinking that I had to push myself to always wrestle my best and get as much points as I can on the board. Just push through and fight to the end.
“It feels great to know that they’re finally appreciating and putting us out there and giving us something for our own, instead of having something that’s kind of lower. It feels good to have a name out there for us and that we can work to have a name for ourselves.”
Smith (24-5), a sophomore who was making her initial trip to state, pinned her way to the title mat. She got a fall in 5:49 in the semifinals over Conant’s Mannie Anderson and that followed another pin in 3:31 over Thornton’s Jalah Wilson in the quarterfinals.
Keane (32-5), a sophomore who qualified for state a year ago for the District 230 team that features athletes from Andrew, Carl Sandburg and Stagg, claimed third place with a fall in 2:44 over Vandalia’s Lauren Dothager (15-8), a junior who was fourth at 125 a year ago and second at 126 to Downers Grove South’s Sharon Leon in the 2021 IWCOA Finals. In the fifth-place match, Anderson (35-6), a senior who placed sixth in both 2022 and 2021, won an 8-6 decision over Macomb sophomore Kelly Ladd (32-8), who also lost to Anderson in her final match last year in her state debut.
140 – Mackenzie Pratt, Edwardsville
After falling to Cadence Diduch in the 120 title match at the first IHSA Finals in 2022, Mackenzie Pratt was determined to not have a similar outcome happen when she met up with Alivia Ming in the 140 finals.
Edwardsville’s Pratt (30-1), a sophomore who was ranked 19th nationally at 138, recorded a fall in 1:07 over Goreville’s Ming in the 140 title match. A year ago, Pratt pinned her way to the championship match at 120 but dropped an 11-0 major decision to Freeport’s Diduch for her only defeat in 13 matches.
The Tigers’ standout actually had a little drama on her hands in her second run to the title mat, claiming a 5-3 win over Schaumburg’s Valeria Rodriguez in the semifinals after winning by fall in 1:10 over Galesburg’s Annalisa Gibbons in the quarterfinals and opening the competition with a pin in 1:16 over Dundee-Crown’s Perla Lomeli.
“It feels amazing and exciting,” Pratt said. “And it’s like my dream came true because I never would have imagined me being a state champ. I’ve always joked about it, like ‘oh, I’m going to be a state champ one day,’ but I never actually thought that it would happen. There was a lot of good competition this season, especially on the Missouri side. It’s very exciting because when I first started, there weren’t as many girls as there are now.”
Ming (36-13), a junior who took fourth at 135 in the first IHSA Finals, earned her spot on the title mat with a fall in 0:47 over Richmond-Burton’s Jasmine McCaskel in the semifinals. She also had pins in her other two matches, winning with a fall in 5:15 in the quarterfinals over Niles West’s Al Ghala Mariam Al Radi, who she lost to in last year’s third-place match.
Rodriguez (37-2), a junior who took third place at 155 a year ago and was sixth at 160 at the IWCOA in 2021, captured third place with a 2-1 decision over junior McCaskel (16-3). And in the fifth-place match, senior Al Radi (31-3), who placed third at 135 a year ago and fourth at 138 in the IWCOA, won by fall in 2:57 over Oak Forest senior Sabrina Sifuentez (30-10), who also qualified for the first IHSA Finals.
145 – Sydney Perry, Batavia
In an instant classic that will certainly go down as one of the most impressive matchups in the history of the IHSA finals, the clash between two of the nation’s best, juniors, Sydney Perry and Valerie Hamilton, looked like it might not even take place at all.
After El Paso-Gridley’s Hamilton (6-1), top-ranked nationally at 138, and Batavia’s Perry (34-0), ranked second in the nation at 144, were both originally ruled to be out of the tournament by the IHSA, the organization reconsidered and allowed for the two to be back in the competition and the crowd at Grossinger Motors Arena got to see a real thriller in the 145 title match, with Hamilton taking a 4-2 lead into the last minute of the third period before Perry, who was trailing for the first time all season, was able to get a takedown to tie it at 4-4 and then came up with a late nearfall to capture a 7-4 victory.
It was the third state championship for Perry, who captured last year’s first IHSA title at 145 with a fall over West Aurora’s Dyani Rivera to cap a 21-0 season. As a freshman, the Bulldogs standout recorded a pin over Yorkville’s Natasha Markoutsis to claim the IWCOA’s 132 title. Perry reached the title mat with three wins by technical fall, beating Stevenson’s Sajra Sulejmani in 2:10 in the semifinals, winning in 3:37 over Olympia’s Jordan Bicknell in the quarterfinals and in 3:05 in her opener with Oak Forest’s Maya Corea-Funes.
“It’s great,” Perry said. “Illinois has great girls wrestling programs all over, so it’s kind of nice to have girls like Gabby Gomez here, and having all of the top girls here and having some great finals matches. It was definitely tough because I had just come from Sweden. And then I got disqualified and yada yada yada. I just thought out the plan for me and if I’m not supposed to wrestle at state, then I’m not supposed to wrestle at state, but I got in and we wrestled.
“I was keeping my eye on the prize. I train so much for this stuff, so it just kind of feels great to just go out and wrestle. You have six minutes and it’s like nothing else matters in the world. It’s just a match with you and your opponent. I actually feel pretty comfortable in that position andI kind of just trust myself. So I’m kind of used to it.”
Hamilton earned her spot in the title match after capturing a 4-0 decision in the semifinals over Alton’s Antonia Phillips, who was last year’s first IHSA champion at 140 after she defeated Valerie’s sister Savannah 6-2 in the finals. In the quarterfinals, Hamilton won by technical fall in 3:12 over Barrington’s Kaia Fernandez and she opened with a fall in 2:13 over Charleston’s Mackensie Williams.
“My friend got a video of me coaching her in the semifinals match,” Valerie Hamilton said of her and her sister Savannah in the finals. “It’s pretty cool that me and her made it to the state finals together, so I’m pretty happy about that. For big things like this, I like to take it as a normal tournament, like a little kids club. Even at Worlds, I still put it as a little tournament. It was definitely difficult getting in here and as we were allowed to wrestle, it was like a little breather for us.”
Phillips (34-7), a senior, bounced back from her loss to Hamilton to claim third place with a fall in 1:26 over Sulejmani (23-4), a junior who took fifth at 145 at last year’s first IHSA finals and also placed fifth at 145 in 2021 at the IWCOA. In the fifth-place match, Fernandez (18-5), a senior who competed in last year’s finals, won by fall in 1:33 over Goreville sophomore Mikah Merrill (33-18) who also got to compete in the initial IHSA Finals one year ago.
155 – Alicia Tucker, Plainfield Central
With several veterans of state tournaments in the bracket at 155, it’s unlikely that too many considered that first-time state qualifier Alicia Tucker was a candidate to capture a state championship.
But that was alright with the Plainfield Central sophomore, who was making her initial state tournament after failing to qualify from the Naperville Central Sectional a year ago. While champions at the IHSA and IWCOA finals such as Jasmine Hernandez, Lexi Ritchie and Maria Ferrer were taking their places on the steps of the awards stand, Tucker stood at the top after winning a dramatic 3-1 decision over Moline’s Maryam Ndiaye in the 155 title match. Tucker got a reversal in the final seconds to wrap up her championship.
Tucker (34-2) advanced to the championship mat with a fall in 5:42 in the semifinals over Peotone’s Kiernan Farmer. In the quarterfinals she recorded a fall in 1:15 over Larkin’s Ferrer and in her opening match she won with a pin in 4:22 over Paris’ Gabbie Collins. One week later, she added to her already impressive resume by claiming a fourth-place finish at 164 in 16U at the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals that took place in Omaha, Nebraska.
“As I was getting those points, I looked up at the clock, it went one and then zero,” Tucker said. “It was the most exciting moment of my life. There’s been lots of practices and staying after school and just those long hours. I also have to say that my coaches, Terry Kubski and Kyle Hildebrand, are a really big help.
“Winning conference was definitely a turning point for me. Going out before the match, I was a little nervous, because I had never wrestled this girl before. But after it ended, I was just really excited. It was such a surreal experience and I almost didn’t know what to do with myself.”
Ndiaye (19-5), a junior who also was a first-time state qualifier, recorded a fall in 1:46 to defeat Palatine’s Hernandez in the semifinals. She opened with a 7-0 decision over Marion’s Haylie Nappier-Feth and then won a 9-1 major decision over Phoenix Military Academy’s AJ Grant in the quarterfinals.
Hernandez (36-2), a senior who won an IWCOA title over J. Sterling Morton’s Hilda Gonzalez at 145 in 2021 and then went 29-1 and lost for the only time ar state last year, took third place after winning a 20-9 major decision over Unity junior Richie (22-3), who won the first IHSA title at 155 over Richwoods’ Jaida Johnson and also placed second at 152 in the IWCOA to Richwoods’ Arei Johnson. Ritchie, who was ranked 22nd nationally at 152, lost a 3-2 decision to Farmer in her opener and then won four matches in the consolation bracket.
Ferrer (31-7), a senior who won the IWCOA title at 170 in 2021 over Oak Park and River Forest’s Tiffany White and took fourth at 170 a year ago, took fifth place with a fall in 1:38 over junior Farmer (16-12), who dropped a 13-3 major decision to Ritchie when the two met up again in the consolation semifinals.
170 – August Rottmann, Highland
After taking third place at 170 at last year’s inaugural IHSA Finals as a freshman, August Rottmann set her sights on finishing higher up on the awards stand at that weight, and that’s just what she did by winning a state championship at 170. And just one week after that special accomplishment, she continues to make a name for herself.
Rottmann, a sophomore from Highland, capped a 21-1 season by recording a fall in 5:10 over Joliet Township’s Nydia Martinez in the 170 title match. She was one of the seven sophomores who won titles. She followed up on her IHSA championship by taking second place at 164 in 16U at the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals in Omaha, Nebraska. She lost by fall in 2:00 to her Team Illinois teammate Autumne Williams in the championship match.
After opening with a fall in 0:36 over Crystal Lake Central’s Mailei Hudec, Rottmann captured decisions in her next two matches, winning 7-0 over West Aurora’s Ionicca Rivera in the quarterfinals and 6-1 over Oak Park and River Forest’s Trinity White, a two-time medalist who took second in 2021, to advance to the title match.
“It was a big difference,” Rottman said compared to 2022. “And it really gave me an extra push to get it done. I wish I could have said that I was a champion in the first year, but the second year is good. It feels really good right now but it probably hasn’t kicked in fully yet. And it’s nice to say that I’m the first girl from Highland to win a title. I was the only girl last year and I’m bringing more girls in every year.
Martinez (31-5) joined teammate Eliana Paramo (115) as a finalist and was one of three medalists for a program featuring athletes from Joliet Central and Joliet West. The senior advanced to the 170 title match with a 13-9 decision in the semifinals over Zion-Benton’s ILeen Castrejon, who took second at 170 a year ago, and winning in the quarterfinals by fall in 1:13 over Richwoods’ Jaida Johnson, a state runner-up last year at 155 who finished third at 170 in 2021, who was unable to medal this season.
Castrejon (17-8), a junior who lost to Hononegah’s Rose Cassioppi in last year’s initial IHSA title match at 170, claimed third place with a fall in 1:46 over White, a junior who took fifth last year at 170 in the IHSA Finals and was a runner-up to Alton’s Khaila Hughes at 160 in the IWCOA finals in 2021. In the fifth-place match, District 230 senior Mickaela Keane (33-7), who fell one shy of a medal a year ago, won 6-4 in sudden victory over Rivera (27-7), a junior who also was one victory away from earning a medal at the first IHSA Finals.
190 – Ini Odumosu, Homewood-Flossmoor
With two nationally-ranked competitors at 190, the prognosis for Ini Odumosu advancing to the title mat or winning a championship seemed to be a bit of a longshot, but when you have a teammate like Attalia Watson-Castro pushing you, it makes everyone much better.
Odumosu closed out a 36-4 campaign by handing West Chicago’s Jayden Huesca-Rodriguez, the first-ever IHSA champion at 190 who was ranked 20th nationally at 200, her first defeat in 19 matches when the Homewood-Flossmoor junior recorded a fall in 2:14 to join two-time champ Watson-Castro as title winners, making the Vikings the lone team in the competition with multiple champions.
Odumosu, who lost to Huesca-Rodriguez in the semifinals and then placed fifth at 190 a year ago, earned her spot on the title mat with a fall in 3:54 in the semifinals over West Aurora’s Brittney Moran, who was ranked 28th nationally at 200. After opening with a fall in 1:34 over Joliet Township’s Alexa Latham, Odumosu recorded a pin in 5:10 over Wheeling’s Jasmine Rene in the quarterfinals.
“I’m very excited,” Odumosu said. “After our boys wrestled (at state), I was like, ‘the girls have to bring it home.’ And then Attalia won, it was like. ‘oh, my gosh, it’s up to me, I’m going up there, I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do and I went up there and it felt so surreal. After I heard
the ref hit the floor, I looked at my coach and I’m like, ‘did that just happen?’ And I was screaming my lungs out and I was like, this is so exciting. It did feel real for a few seconds.
“I want to say that Attalia is my inspiration in this sport. She actually kind of took over our practices and she had us conditioned, and I can last six minutes, and last year I could not do that. I really thank her for the things she’s done, and not only for me, but for all of the other girls on my team. She’s like the strongest driving force that our team has. She told us that we are here to win, we’re not just going to go on the mat and win once in a while. We call her coach T.”
Huesca-Rodriguez, a junior who won the IHSA title at 190 a year ago by technical fall over J. Sterling Morton’s Diana Rodriguez, advanced to this year’s title mat following a fall in 2:52 over Lakes’ Josie Larson in the semifinals. After opening with a pin in 3:33 in her first match, Huesca-Rodriguez collected another fall, this one in 1:33 in the quarterfinals, over Minooka’s Jaiden Moody.
Moody (24-13), a senior who qualified for state last year at 140, took third place with a 5-4 win on a tiebreaker over Rene (18-10), who’s a freshman. And in the fifth-place match, Larson (15-4), a sophomore who also qualified for state but didn’t place last year, won with a fall in 3:31 over Moran (28-5), a sophomore who also took sixth last year.
235 – Kiara Ganey, Belleville East
As a three-time state champion who won the first two IHSA titles at 235, Kiara Ganey has established a legacy for competitors at the highest weight class that will undoubtedly last for a long time.
The Belleville East senior, who’s also the nation’s top-ranked individual at 225, capped off her career in historic fashion, becoming one of six who’ve captured titles at the first IHSA tournaments. For the second year in a row she faced Curie’s Aaliyah Grandberry on the 235 title mat and the Curie junior was able to keep the final outcome to a decision, which Ganey won by a 6-1 score. Her IWCOA title in 2021 was at 195 and was determined in a round-robin fashion.
Ganey who finished 18-1 this season after going 15-0 a year ago, opened the tournament with a fall in 0:19 over ROWVA’s Patience Riggs and then won another decision, this time 11-5 over Oak Park and River Forest’s Sarah Epshtein in the quarterfinals before advancing to the finals for one last time with a fall in 1:42 over Urbana’s Jurdan Tyler.
“It’s amazing,” Ganey said. “I’ve been wrestling since seventh grade, and you know, it was just me and the boys. So to see what it is now and to be a part of that, it’s awesome to know that me and all of these other girls have helped this new generation of girls wrestling in the the state of Illinois. And to get it approved, is just amazing and hopefully next year there’s regionals and when we get bigger, the classes.
“It just feels amazing to know that I helped these future little girls’ dreams come true in the future. Especially last year and this year, we have some great leaders. Half of the national dual team is here, and that shows girls that you can take it to the next level, you just need to work hard. We have great leadership here and coaches, too. It’s an amazing environment and an amazing state. “
Grandberry (24-1), a junior who suffered her lone defeat in the finals match, also suffered her only loss in 12 matches a year ago to Ganey in the 235 finals. The highest place winner among athletes from the Chicago Public Schools, Grandberry recorded a fall in 2:15 in the semifinals over Rickover Naval Academy’s Jasmine Mejia, won a 6-1 decision in the quarterfinals over Unity’s Phoenix Molina and opened with a pin in 27 seconds over Conant’s Rye Reyes.
Tyler (14-8), a junior who was making her first state appearance, won by fall in 3:48 in the third-place match over Epshtein (34-6), a junior who placed fifth at 235 a year ago. And Mejia (14-5), a sophomore who made her first trip to state, finished in fifth place after recording a fall in 3:07 over District 230 sophomore Emma Akpan (21-8), who qualified for the second time.
100 – Emma Engels, Bartlett
When someone accomplishes something special for the first time in the largest district in the state outside of Chicago, it’s a big deal. And that’s what Emma Engels did by becoming the first girl to win an IHSA wrestling title from a School District U-46 school when she took top honors at 100 at the IHSA Finals.
The Bartlett sophomore, who finished with a 37-12 record, captured a 4-0 decision over Oak Forest’s Alexandra Sebek in the 100 title match. While the average number of losses by IHSA champs in two years is under three, Engels showed once again that it doesn’t matter how many defeats you have during a season, how well you perform on the final weekend is all that really matters.
Engels performed well throughout the two days at Grossinger Motors Arena, opening with a fall in 3:08 in her opener against LaSalle-Peru’s Kiely Domyanich and then capturing an 8-0 major decision over Rickover Naval Academy’s Mia Vazquez in the quarterfinals. She won another major decision in the semifinals, beating East Aurora’s Kameyah Young 16-5 to earn her spot on the title mat. It was a great finish for an athlete that fell one win shy of a medal a year ago.
“It feels really great,” Engels said. “It’s really cool how much it’s grown over the past two years and also from this year to last year. I wrestled her before so I knew that I had to watch the arm bar so I knew on the bottom I needed to keep my arms in and just keep moving”
Sebek (41-7) had an impressive debut season and was one of only two freshmen who reached the title mat. She opened with a fall in 2:00 over Mt. Vernon’s Hannah Younger and then won a 9-6 decision over Batavia’s Lily Enos in the quarterfinals. The Bengals freshman earned her spot in the 100 title match by winning a 10-2 major decision over Huntley’s Janiah Slaughter.
Slaughter (27-5), one of three freshmen place winners at the weight class, took third place with a fall in 0:57 over sophomore Young (32-4), who qualified for state last year. And in the fifth-place match, Enos (44-13), another freshman, won by fall in 4:33 over Joliet Township sophomore Chloe Wong (32-8), who also advanced to last year’s first-ever IHSA tournament.
105 – Harlee Hiller, Loyola Academy
Harlee Hiller entered the IHSA Finals with impressive credentials and definitely lived up to those by taking top honors at 105 over Zoee Sadler in an excellent example of athletes who had to compete against boys for most of the season.
The Loyola Academy sophomore, who was ranked 25th nationally at 106, capped off a 32-5 season by capturing an 8-1 decision over Anna-Jonesboro sophomore Sadler. It was Hiller’s second appearance at state and she took third place at the same weight a year ago after losing by sudden victory in the semifinals to the eventual champion, Glenbard North’s Gabriella Gomez.
Hiller, who gets to practice against the Ramblers’ Class 3A state champion at 120, Massey Odiotti, collected falls in her first three matches, winning in 2:33 over East Aurora’s Ixzayana Cruz in her opener, getting a pin in 0:56 in the quarterfinals over Belleville East’s Alexcia Hardin and then earning her spot on the title mat with a fall in 5:38 in the semifinals over East Peoria’s Bailey Lusch.
“I think it was great preparing for the boys, because no one was stronger than them, so I was just completely ready” Hiller said. “I just felt like I wanted to go as hard as I could. I think it’s so fun since every year there’s more girls and you can see how fast the sport is growing, it’s pretty crazy. I really want to have a good girls team and I feel like that’s my goal.
“This was just so much more exciting and the Grand March was so cool since I’ve never really done anything like that before. I started my freshman year and now I’m a sophomore. But I did judo for 10 years. Judo is not a sport in high school, so it was cool to be part of a team.”
Sadler (41-6), whose brother Drew (51-3) also placed high at state, finishing third in Class 1A at 106, was making her state debut. The pair helped the Wildcats to win a regional title and took part in the dual team sectional. After winning by fall over Elgin’s Mali Patino in 1:13 in her opening match, Sadler won by technical fall in 5:48 in the quarterfinals over Grant’s Snow Khi and then claimed an 8-5 decision in the semifinals over Lake Forest’s Annika Cottam.
Cottam (20-6), a senior who took second place to Lane Tech’s Natalie Cortes in the IWCOA in 2021, claimed third place with a 7-2 decision over Glenbard North freshman Nadiia Shymkiv (30-3), who had a great debut season after emigrating from Ukraine. In the fifth-place match, Reed-Custer junior Judith Gamboa (27-17), a state qualifier last season, won by fall in 4:29 over junior Lusch (15-7), who finished fifth at 105 a year ago after losing to Hiller in the quarterfinals.
110 – Ayane Jasinski, Grant
After placing fourth a year ago at 100, Ayane Jasinski looked for bigger things this season in the state finals. And the same could be said for Gracie Guarino, who took third at 106 in 2021 at the IWCOA and finished second a year ago at 105. But that said, there were plenty of other competitors at 110 that also had similar motivation.
When the semifinals were concluded, the competitive weight class came down to a matchup of juniors between Grant’s Jasinski and Lincoln-Way Central’s Guarino. Through six minutes that featured no scoring, the outcome went to overtime. In the sudden victory, Jasinski was awarded a takedown, to the delight of the Bulldogs and to the dismay of the Knights, and thus wound up as a 2-0 victor in what is the only championship match that has exceeded regulation time.
Jasinski (21-3) earned her spot in the title match after capturing a 3-2 decision over Morris’ Ella McDonnell. She also had a tight match in the quarterfinals, winning a 3-1 decision over Richwoods’ Kyley Bair. She got a fall in 3:37 over Bartlett’s Angela Carpintero in her opener.
“This was actually my comeback since last year I took fourth and I really wanted to get higher on the podium,” Jasinski said. “(The Grand March) That was like one of the most amazing feelings ever and it was like all of that work finally showed. She has a really good shot, so I had to look out for that. I may not be the best on my feet but I really hammer on top. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a state champion, and I’m the first-ever girls state champ, so I’m making history at my school. It’s really important since the sport is growing and growing and everyone is getting better.”
Guarino (13-1), who suffered her first loss of the season, was hoping for a different outcome in the finals than she had a year ago, when she fell 5-3 to Glenbard North’s Gabriella Gomez at 105. Guarino advanced to the title match with a fall in 3:30 over Mt. Zion’s Sydney Cannon. She also recorded a pin in the quarterfinals in 3:13 over Evanston Township’s Ariana Flores and she opened the competition with a win by technical fall in 3:26 over Lanphier’s Ella Miloncus.
Cannon (45-3) completed a great debut for a freshman by claiming third place with a 10-0 major decision over junior McDonnell (33-13), who also took fourth place a year ago. For fifth place, Burlington Central sophomore Victoria Macias (31-9), who took fourth a year ago, won with a fall in 0:42 over Homewood-Flossmoor sophomore Nina Hamm (31-14), who also qualified for state last season.
115 – Gabriella Gomez, Glenbard North
Two IHSA Finals in the books and two titles won thus far. Being a four-time state champion is one of the many goals for Gabriella Gomez and she capped a perfect 33-0 season with a title at 115.
The Glenbard North sophomore, who is ranked fourth nationally at 112, captured a 12-3 major decision in the 115 finals over Joliet Townhip’s Eliana Paramo. It was a much-less dramatic title match than she had last year when she beat Lincoln-Way Central’s Gracie Guarino 5-3 for the championship at 105. She joined Cadence Diduch (125) and Sydney Perry (145) as one of three unbeaten champions.
Gomez advanced to the title match following an 11-3 major decision in the semifinals over Sandwich’s Ashlyn Strenz. After opening the competition with a victory by technical fall in 3:55 over Evergreen Park’s Carmela Woods, Gomez got another win by technical fall in the quarterfinals in 4:30 over Beardstown’s Daisy Gil.
“I think that this sport can only get bigger,” Gomez said. “A ton of new girls are going to try it and we have a good class coming in with these freshmen and a lot of freshmen won so I feel that women’s wrestling is going to keep growing and growing so I’m happy to be part of it and I feel that we can go a long ways with this. I think the tournament definitely should be Freestyle, because I know that a lot of girls want to go on to college and succeed there, and they’re only wrestling Freestyle. So if we stick to Freestyle for this state tournament then women’s wrestling is only going to grow bigger and bigger.
“You don’t want to make excuses. I can train anywhere, I’ve trained in my basement, I’ve trained in my garage, I’ve trained outside in a parking lot. Having that mindset of being able to do what you want to do and you have to succeed with it. So I feel that if we have coaches that really want to help grow the sport, they should go look at Freestyle tournaments, since there’s nothing much different. I’m happy to be a part of the sport and that I started when I was eight. Now my next goal is to be a four-timer or a three-timer.”
Paramo (37-5), a junior who is one of two Joliet Township athletes to reach the title mat, placed fifth a year ago at the same weight class and was making her third state appearance. After opening with a fall in 3:25 over University High’s Allison Kroesch, Paramo claimed a 5-3 decision over Lockport Township’s Liz Ramirez in the quarterfinals and won by fall in 5:37 in the semifinals over Red Bud’s Avery Smith.
Smith (21-8), a junior who placed fourth at 120 a year ago, took third place this year after claiming a 6-2 decision over junior Strenz (25-16). Maine South senior Angela Lee (28-4), who qualified for state for the first time, claimed fifth place with a fall in 3:33 to over Round Lake sophomore Ireland McCain (23-10), who took fifth at 120 last year.
120 – Angelina Cassioppi, Hononegah
Angelina Cassioppi moved up a few weights from 100, where she won a state title as a freshman. But the new setting was no problem for her as she used two falls, a win by technical fall and a decision to capture her second IHSA championship in two attempts,
The Hononegah sophomore, who finished with a 27-6 record, is ranked 13th nationally at 117. She only needed 1:32 in the 120 championship match to record a fall over Yorkville’s Yamilet Aguirre to cap her successful two-day showing at Grossinger Motors Arena.
After opening the competition with a win by technical fall in 2:10 over Lake Park’s Valeria Malinowski, Cassioppi followed with another victory by technical fall, this time in 3:38 over Thornton Fractional South’s Quincy Onyiaorah in the quarterfinals. She secured another trip to the title mat with a 6-1 win over Hoffman Estates’ Sophia Ball.
“It was great,” Cassioppi said. “I went in fairly confident and I knew that if I just went and worked my offense that I would do pretty good. It is really fun. Last year was great since me and my sister (Rose) both won it, so it was good that I could carry it on. It’s great that each year there’s going to be more and more competition, so that’s really
exciting. It’s nice to be a part of the start since you get to watch it all develop and really take off.”
Aguirre (37-4), a junior who placed fourth at 115 a year ago, earned her spot in the 120 finals with a fall in 4:33 over Bowen’s Monica Griffin. After winning an 8-0 major decision over Fremd’s Zuri Sarmiento in her opener, Aguirre captured a 3-1 win by sudden victory over Richwoods’ Isabella Motteler in the quarterfinals.
Griffin (26-4), a senior who placed third at 115 a year ago, took third place again, this time recording a fall in 1:51 over Jacksonville sophomore Alexis Seymour (32-18), who fell one win shy of a medal last year. In the fifth-place match, sophomore Ball (42-6), who missed a medal by one win last year, won with a fall in 5:49 over Kaneland sophomore Brooklyn Sheaffer (35-12), who made her state debut.
125 – Cadence Diduch – Freeport
The second of two clashes of individuals who were both ranked in the country for state championships capped a successful second edition of the IHSA Finals with Cadence Diduch facing Claudia Heeney in a matchup at 125 that like the first one between Sydney Perry and Valerie Hamilton at 145 was between unbeaten competitors.
But unlike the drama of the earlier clash that went down to the wire, this one was more methodical as Freeport junior Diduch, who’s top-ranked nationally at 127, improved to 11-0 after winning her third title and repeating as an IHSA champion following a 12-2 major decision over Lockport Township freshman Heeney, who was ranked 14th in the nation at 127 and suffered her first defeat in 43 matches.
Diduch, who beat Edwardsville’s Mackenzie Pratt 11-0 to win the first IHSA title at 120 a year ago, also took first place in 2021 at the IWCOA when she won 5-2 over Batavia’s Taylin Long at 113. The Pretzels standout advanced to her third state finals with a fall in 3:54 over Charleston’s Alaynia Bryant. After opening with a win by technical fall in 3:12 over Fenton’s Roxanna Patino, Diduch won a 17-3 major decision over Schaumburg’s Madeline Zerafa-Lazarevic.
“It shows how dominant girls wrestling is in our area and I’m glad that my area can be known for having strong girls wrestlers,” Diduch said of the Rockford area having three state champions. “We have a lot of good women’s wrestlers and it’s always nice to have a partner that you know is good and will push you to be a better wrestler.
“I’m really excited because this year our sectional was way more packed than last year. To me, I’m really excited because that shows that a sport that I put a lot of time and effort is also going to grow and will help me to become a better wrestler because I’ll have more opponents in the area than I can wrestle with. I’m really excited to see where this sport can go from here.”
Heeney won her 42nd-straight match with a fall in 5:07 over Lakes’ Ava Babbs in the semifinals. The Porters standout kicked off her first state visit with a fall in 3:40 over Warren Township’s Justyce Sieber and then won a 14-2 major decision over Sherrard’s Bri Bynum.
“I put in a lot of hard work and have high expectations,” Heeney said. “I was ready to go. We had drilled together with each other at Gomez Wrestling. I felt I was mirroring myself out there and it was a lot of fun. I’m proud of the year I’ve had but not satisfied.”
Babbs (22-5), a junior who fell one win shy of a medal a year ago, recorded a fall in 4:49 over Camp Point Central freshman Amber Louderback (30-26) to finish in third place. Sophomore Zerafa-Lazarevic (32-7), who also came up one win short of a medal last season, claimed fifth place due to a disqualification.
By Mike Garofola.
BLOOMINGTON – Whatever the price of admission, it was well worth the cost to enter the doors of the Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington last Saturday.
After the IHSA Class 1A Dual Team State Finals between Coal City and Yorkville Christian thrilled the big crowd with a one-point finish, followed by yet another one-point decision from the 2A combatants, Washington, and Joliet Catholic Academy, there was hardly enough oxygen remaining in the building to survive the drama of the Class 3A State Finals.
In a high-energy and emotionally-charged final between rivals and state powers St. Charles East and Marmion Academy, it would be St. Charles East who would lift the championship trophy, much to the delight of its orange shirt crowd, who would rise from their chairs in unicent to to wildly cheer when AJ Marino recorded his decisive 15-5 major decision in the final match to give the Saints a hard-fought 28-24 victory over the Cadets.
“We talked as a team for the past month about how it was going to come down to each and every point counting in the final results, and that’s exactly what happened in our quarterfinal opener on Friday, and again with Marmion Academy in the final,” said Saints head coach Jason Potter.
“Our goal right from the start of this season was to position ourselves in a spot where we could qualify as many of our guys to Champaign, and, of course, advance into dual team state where we felt we could compete for a state title,” said Cadets head coach, Anthony Cirrincione, whose men did just that by sending 12 to the individual state tournament, and overwhelmed Downers Grove South in its dual team sectional to earn a berth into the last eight standing in 3A play.
A look back to 24 hours prior to the Saints’ victory will show perhaps the real story of the tournament for Potters’ club who were in the fight for their lives in a quarterfinal contest with another high-profile opponent, Mount Carmel, who had the eventual champs chasing the Caravan right up until the final two bouts of the match.
“Wow,” was the first response from Potter, who one day later would wipe his brow and then shake his head when asked about the Mount Carmel contest.
“It felt like a final all throughout, (we) actually won just six of 14,” continued Potter. “(Mount Carmel) on paper, was a bad matchup for us, so we knew it would take an entire team effort to get the job done.
“Avoiding bonus points against some of the best guys in the country, much less the state, was an incredible task to ask of our guys but they seized upon the moment, our guys fought to avoid giving bonus points away, and the other guys did well to capture bonus points for the cause.
“We obviously were in trouble, and running out of time, but Brandon (Swartz) came through with a big win at (195) and when (Christian) Wilson kept his loss to just a decision, it set up an opportunity for us to win with Austin (Barrett) and (Dom) Munaretto coming up.”
To set the stage for the Swartz, Barrett, and Munaretto heroics: after the Caravan dynamic duo of Colin Kelly and Rylan Breen added seven points to the scoreboard with their respective 17-7 major over Lane Robinson, and 6-0 win over Brody Murray, it gave the Caravan an 11-point advantage at 27-16.
Swartz would save the day for the Saints with his 11-0 major over Michael Baca to draw his teammates closer at 27-20 and neutralize William Jacobson’s 9-4 decision one match later over Christian Wilson at 220.
“Mount Carmel was a great team, and we all knew we had to be at our best in order to advance, and for me, to have maybe the biggest match of the year in this quarterfinal, I knew that I had to go out and get a bonus point win to help keep us in the match,” said Swartz.
That junior Swartz came through when called upon is a testament to having good health, while feeling your best, both mentally and physically after coming back from an injury.
“I had a sports hernia, which really set me back but during these last few weeks of the season, I’ve been feeling really well and peaking at the right time also,” said Swartz, who finished the year at 23-13.
Austin Barrett (41-10) and 106-pound state champion Dom Munaretto (54-0) got pins in the final two matches to give the Saints a 32-30 victory, which sent them into their semifinal with Yorkville.
“Mount Carmel, Marmion, and us were the top three teams all year in 3A, so when we saw it was Mount Carmel in our quarterfinal on Friday, we all kind of figured it would be a toss-up as to who would move on,” admitted Barrett, who will play football next fall at Indiana University.
“It would come down to bonus points and although we only won six matches, we only gave up one bonus point loss, and that’s how you stay close to great teams, and win in the end,” opined Barrett, whose pin at 2:48 set the stage for his rookie teammate who needed just 1:42 to close out the Caravan.
The smashing success of Marmion Academy, and the Saints in their respective semifinals, made it clear as to who were the rightful participants in-this, the 39th dual-team state tournament.
The Cadets, after their 36-31 win over Hersey in its tournament opener, sent off a stubborn Lockport club, 36-30, scoring the last 17 points to dash the hopes of the Porters of advancing to the championship meet for the second time.
Teddy Perry jump-started the Cadets’ strong finish with a tech fall at 220, followed by back-to-back pins from heavyweight Sean Scheck and freshman Nicholas Garcia at 106.
“We came here to get in the final so all of us knew we had to go all out right from the start of the tournament in order to achieve that goal, and have the chance to become state champions,” said Perry, who finished a marvelous career with a 43-8 record this season, which included majors at the CCL and regional tournaments.
The Cadets senior will attend the University of Chicago in the fall, where he will continue his wrestling career, while also managing the difficult academic life of pre-Med.
While the Cadets were polishing off No. 8 Lockport, the Saints, with a new lease on life, came out of the blocks with the wind in their sails, racing out to a 32-3 advantage over No. 9 Yorkville, en route to an impressive 44-25 victory.
“We were more like ourselves in that semifinal with Yorkville (again) a very good team, but one that we felt if we competed at a level that we know we can, would end up in our favor,” said Potter.
Once the final was set in stone, all it took was the shrill whistle from the referee to start, what would be a classic contest – one that clearly defined wrestling – which many outside of the sport believe is just an individual sport, and not one where tactics play a big role in the eventual outcome, where, particularly in a final between two evenly-balanced clubs are fully aware of what one or two points either way can decide the outcome.
Both sides had one mission, to claim the big trophy for the first time for their storied programs.
The final began at 126 pounds, and while many thought the opener would feature the 126-pound state final from a week ago, Ben Davino vs. Jameson Garcia, tactics proved otherwise.
Davino (54-0) recorded a pin, as expected, however the Saints junior was hit for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after his victory to erase one of the six points that he earned.
Garcia (44-5) answered with an 11-6 decision over Ethan Penzato, an important result that kept the Saints advantage to 5-3.
“Though Penzato lost his match, the fight he showed to avoid bonus points against a nationally-ranked, and three-time state finalist was impressive, and, in the end, helped us win this thing,” said Potter.
The Saints (22-1) were back on its front foot, using a 14-10 victory from state runner-up Tyler Guerra (49-6) over Brody Kelly, followed by a major decision win by 145-pound state champion Jayden Colon (44-5) over Santino Scolaro to increase the lead 13-3.
Cirrincione would correctly point out the valiant efforts from both Kelly and Scolaro to stay away from techical falls and pins would help the cause.
Senior Tegan Chumbley (21-18) recorded an important win over Gavin Connolly, using a nearly two-minute second period ride to insure his 2-1 triumph.
Collin Carrigan (27-8) who fought all throughout the weekend in Champaign, only to come up short in his bid for a state medal in the 152-pound weight class, did all that he could to add extra points to the Cadets side of the scoreboard, only to have Anthony Gutierrez, who placed sixth, concede to a 10-7 result.
This see-saw battle would continue with the Saints’ duo of: Lane Robinson (39-17) and Brody Murray (40-7), both state medal winners a week ago, giving their club six points after their tight, tense decisions over Michael Phillips, and freshmen, Joey Favia at 170, and 182.
“I am beyond proud of Lane, who, from the very start was a young man who we all knew would be special, he was great in the room, got through some early season struggles, and had a tremendous finish to his season,” said Potter.
“We received so many great efforts from guys who were battling state medal winners, which helped us stay close before our upper weight guys could take over,” said Cirrincione.
Jack Lesher (37-6), the state champion at 182, would provide the inspiration for a 12-0 run from the Cadets, with teammates Teddy Perry, and Sean Scheck helping their club to overcome a 19-9 deficit.
“For some of us, this was the very last time to be wrestling, so we were ‘all in’ for this final, with a shot at history for the Marmion Academy program,” said Perry.
When Scheck (38-9), who third at state at 285, used a takedown with 30 seconds left to outlast Austin Barrett 6-1, it marked the second time in a week the senior beat Barrett, with the first coming in the wrestleback semifinals.
“Austin is one of my favorite stories this season because he was a big-time football recruit who fell in love with our sport, and despite people telling him to forgo wrestling to focus on football, he continued to work hard, and took a lot of pride in knowing he is a very good wrestler, who will now have a great collegiate career in football,” Potter said.
The Cadets fans, despite watching their short-lived 21-19 lead disappear after their club gave Dom Munaretto a forfeit win at 106, sensed the chances for their heroes were to rise with freshman Nicholas Garcia (32-6) facing the Saints’ Wrigley Schroeder.
A super quick takedown from Garcia thrilled the Cadets’ faithful, believing a pin would eventually come from the rookie sensation, but Schroeder defended with all his might, conceding a penalty point for stalling, while crafty enough not to allow his opponent to turn him to his back.
The 6-0 victory drew both clubs level at 24, with AJ Marino waiting patiently in the wings against Donny Pigoni.
“Wrigley has been a part of our lineup for years, and is the youngest of three who have wrestled for us,” said Potter. “(Wrigley) did a great job of staying focused when his individual goals were not met for the season to win some big matches to help us get here, and against Nicholas, although not 100 percent healthy, fought hard to avoid bonus points to put us in position to win this final with just a decision.”
Marino (43-10), who was third a week ago in Champaign, and figured this contest would come down to his result – was pacing like a caged lion in anticipation of his match with Pigoni, and when called to the mat, the Saints senior raced to the table as if hurled through the air via catapult.
“I was just awful in my 8-6 loss in our semifinal against Yorkville, it made me so upset, that I went back to the hotel and just screamed while in the shower to let all of my emotions out for good (knowing) that I had one more chance coming to make a difference tonight,” admitted Marino, who moved with his family from Texas during the offseason.
“We didn’t know what to expect from AJ, but I am very proud of the growth he has shown, both on the mat, and as a person,” Potter said.
“He thrived in pressure situations, and there could not have been any more pressure on him when this final came down to his match – likely the biggest pressure cooker he’s ever been involved in, he believed in himself, and took care of business.”
Indeed. Thirty seconds into this 120-pound contest, Marino registered a takedown, then went about adding points through takedowns that brought a chorus of two’s from the Saints faithful, who stayed on their feet all throughout an impressive second period of scoring, right up until the final whistle with a 15-5 score in favor of Marino, who lept into the arms of Potter.
“I had so many tears of joy when I got that big hug from Potter,” admitted Marino, who was nearly crushed by his teammates after his win gave the Saints a 28-24 victory, and its first-ever state title.
“This was an amazing night for St. Charles East wrestling, one that we have pointed towards from the first day we got together,” began Potter.
“We always thought we had a chance, and the turning point in the season for us came when we lost to Joliet Catholic Academy, that loss drove home the point that every point counts in a dual, and everyone needed to do their job, just as they did this weekend.”
“We couldn’t sit back and count on our superstars to bail us out, and from the loss to JCA, the focus, and drive took off, and we began to build confidence as the season went on.
“(Marmion) has so much talent, and an unbelievable coaching staff that put together a game plan that kept us at bay, and after we got our emotions back in check, it became as tight, and intense of a final that everyone expected so hats off to Anthony, his staff, and team, especially a young man like Jameson Garcia, who gave it all that it had tonight.”
“With regards to Jameson, replacing him will be impossible,” began Cirricione.
“He has every quality you want in a young man, and more, he had great success here with us, and will continue to do so when he moves on to Harvard.”
“The program will move forward, and other men will carve out their own paths to becoming the great wrestler like Jameson is, and was.”
Cirrincione will look to replace just a handful of seniors in addition to Garcia, Tyler Aters, Michael Phillips, Scolaro, Chumbley, Perry and Scheck, but the man in charge of the Cadets will have plenty of marvelous men back to lead the way.
“Of the next group of guys, Jack Lesher is our undisputed leader. He was our vocal leader all throughout the season, and is one of the best young men you will ever come in contact with.”
Donny (Pigoni) and Collin Carrigan will continue to lead with their relentless dedication to the sport, they have tunnel vision with regards to their goals of becoming great at wrestling.”
“Nicholas (Garcia) is already carving his own path to glory, and is a different kind of competitor, doubt him, and doubt his will at your own peril. He can rise to the occasion like few I’ve witnessed.”
Cirrincione and his staff would not use the absence of the injured Zach Stewart (32-6) at 120, who may have made a difference if the talented freshman was able to compete.
“Zach is another kid that just loves to wrestle, and he will become a star very soon as well,” Cirrincione said. “Losing him at the end at state was a real disappointment for all of us, especially Zach, and do we believe the dual might have had a different outcome if he competed. well, that is irrelevant.”
“We came out and competed and fought until the very end, we just fell a little short, but man, did our guys compete!”
The Cadets (18-2-0) who would trade the top spot in the IWCOA polls all season long with the Saints, brought home their fifth state trophy in their ninth trip, with the last coming in 2019 when current assistant, Nathan Fitzenreider, led the club to a third place finish with an overall record of 22-3-0.
“The seniors that will graduate made their presence felt, and that presence will remain as our programs continue to improve, it’s a family here, and all these boys will be a part of each others’ lives forever, that’s what makes Marmion wrestling so special,” said Cirrnicione.
The driving force behind much of the success at Lockport Township for several years has come from the Oster Family.
Brothers Jake, Jameson and Shayne Oster collected eight state medals from 2004-2016 at Lockport Township, which included one individual title for each one, so, perhaps it was only fitting it would be an all-Oster meeting when the Porters and Yorkville met in the center circle for the third place match.
Jameson, the new man in charge of his alma mater, defeated Jake, the head coach at Yorkville, 45-16, to claim the Porters’ fifth state trophy, while Yorkville earned its sixth in program history, but first as a 3A team.
It was the first time in state history that teams led by brothers met in the state finals. A year ago, the Porters, who were then coached by older brother Josh, defeated Yorkville in the sectional, in the first time in state history that squads that were led by brothers squared off to see whose team would go to state.
“This wasn’t about an Oster vs. Oster dual, or family bragging rights, it was a match between two programs that had a very successful year, with both having very good rosters who worked hard to earn state trophies,” said Jameson Oster, who won a Class 3A title in 2009 at 119 to finish with a 41-6 record.
“I was really excited to have our guys wrestling Jameson’s team, they were a little better than us to go home third overall, but I am really proud of my team for the season they’ve had, and happy for Lockport as well,” said Jake Oster, who won a Class AA title in 2004 at 112 to finish with a 40-2 record.
Both clubs would easily advance to Bloomington with lopsided sectional victories, Lockport Township won 42-22 over Lincoln-Way West while Yorkville dispatched Edwardsville 35-23.
“It’s been an interesting year for us to say the least, the boys overcame some adversity, but kept their heads down, stayed the course to get themselves here this weekend, so, obviously, I am really proud of the effort put forth by these guys,” said Jameson Oster, who watched Brayden Thompson, No. 1 in the nation at 182, transfer to Stillwater High in Oklahoma just after the new year.
“It was such a hectic season for us, but this was a very good team, that had a great season, and although we did not get into the state final, I am very proud of our third place finish, and it’s something we should all be happy with,” opined senior, Logan Swaw, who fell short in his bid to win a state title to Conant’s top-ranked Ethan Stiles in the 160-pound final.
The Porters senior finished his brilliant career with a 48-2 overall record, and will continue on to the University of Illinois.
“The fit here at Illinois is with (Michael) Poeta, and the proximity to home, plus knowing the field that I will go in (Kinesiology) is something I will thrive in (here) at Illinois because of the excellent program they have,” said Swaw, who hopes to be a Physical Therapist one day.
“(It) was a great finish to our season,” said Jake Oster. “The guys worked really hard this season, we had a very good start to the year, struggled a little just before the new year, but bounced back to finish strong to get to team state, and it was really fun having our guys go against Jamesons’ at Lockport.”
The Foxes won 14 of their first 15 dual meets and then dropped four straight to state powers Marmion Academy, Lockport Township, DeKalb and St. Charles East, before winning out to advance to state.
“We have a lot of young guys on the team who really stepped up to do well on the varsity this season,” said Hunter Janeczko, who finished 24-6 and was one of just three seniors on the big roster.
All of the lower weights for the Foxes are either freshmen or sophomores, including sophomore Jack Ferguson (43-12), who was one win away from placing in Champaign.
“The goal is always to be on top of the podium in Champaign, and although I fell short, I feel like I helped Ben (Alvarez) as much as I could to win his state title at 220,” said Janeczko, whom Alvarez (42-2) heaped plenty of praise onto the shoulders of his teammate as a big reason for his state title. Janeczko finished fourth at 195 while sophomore Luke Zook (44-8) was third at 170 to give the Foxes three state medal winners.
Despite seeing the end to their seasons come far too soon, the performances of Hersey, Mount Carmel, Warren Township and York during this season hints of a continued bright future for all four clubs.
Perennial state power Mount Carmel, which, as noted, came ‘this close’ to advancing into second-day action. With 10 of its starting lineup back next season, there’s little doubt that head coach Alex Tsirtsis will conjure up another magnificent season, which should include plenty of team, and individual hardware.
“The coaching staff (here) is the absolute best, and with so many guys back, there’s no doubt in my mind that Mount Carmel wrestling will be a power next year,” said four-time state champion Sergio Lemley (37-1), who will wrestle in the fall at the University of Michigan.
The Caravan (10-4-0) who were the No. 3 team before the state series began, will have five returning state medal winners back, beginning with state champ Seth Mendoza (39-2) and followed by a terrific group of teammates.
State runners-up Edmund Enright (21-4), and Colin Kelly (28-3) will challenge for the big prize, as should Damian Resendez (24-12) and Rylan Breen (25-11), who both earned fifth place state medals while freshmen Liam Kelly (26-14) fell one win short of a medal.
As young as Mount Carmel was, so was coach Brad Janeceks’ club from Warren Township.
The Blue Devils (15-5-0) who cruised into their first dual team state appearance in program history, did so with a starting lineup made up of just two seniors, and a pair of ultra-talented freshmen who made their mark during their rookie campaign.
Aaron Stewart (45-2), who at various times in the year was near, or on top of the 152-pound weight class, made a strong push towards winning it all in what was a first class 16-man field, until claiming third overall.
Another freshman, Royce Lopez (39-13), a state qualifier at 160, lost in the quarterfinals of wrestlebacks and was unable to join Stewart on the podium.
Sophomore Jonathan Marquez (106, 34-10) advanced to state as did senior Evan Onstad (32-7) who manned the spot at 138 all season long.
“What a great room to be a part of this year, with the new guys that came in, and the unbelievable coaching staff we have, it was no surprise to me that we had the success this season,” said Onstad.
Mid-Suburban League champion Hersey (12-5) advanced to its first dual team appearance since 1997 when Rick Mann brought the Huskies to the event.
The Huskies needed to get past long-time league rival Prospect in the dual team sectional to book their place, and did so for the second time this season.
Coach Joe Rupslauk’s Huskies will lose a pair of four-year veterans, Aaron Hernandez and Oleg Simakov, who were both state qualifiers and have been key figures in the revival of a program that when both were freshmen, was unable to field a full starting lineup.
Of the seven who qualified to state, five will return, Daniel Lehman, Abdullaokh Khakimov, Esteban Delgado, Max Mukhamedaliyev and Anthony Cambria, who combined for nearly 200 victories this season.
The future looks bright for the York Dukes (24-10), whose exciting 38-32 win over Schaumburg in sectionals ensured the program’s first ever state dual-team appearance.
In that contest, the upper weight strength of: Evan Grazzini (195), Austin Bagdasarian (220) and Dominic Begora (285) would score the last (15) points to help the coach Nick Metcalf’s Dukes overcome a 32-23 deficit to dash the hopes of the Saxons of their first trip downstate.
Bagdasarian will return for the Dukes, as will Danny Decristofaro (170, 43-9) and the dynamic duo of Zach Parisi (44-6) and Sean Berger (40-4), who finished fourth in state at 132.