Barrington wins own Moore-Prettyman Invitational for first time since 2019

By Mike Garofola – For the IWCOA

BARRINGTON – What a sensational opening weekend for Dan Keller and Barrington wrestling. 

Keller tasted plenty of success during his short stay at Prospect, leading the Knights to their first-ever IHSA Dual Team state trophy in 2022. And he has wasted little time making his mark at his new wrestling-room address.

Keller’s Broncos led from start to finish to claim the big trophy at the 32nd Barrington Moore-Prettyman Invitational on their home mats on Saturday afternoon, winning the team title for the first time since 2019.

“I could not have expected to have this type of start to the season,” began an obviously proud Keller, who arrived in Barrington after leading his alma mater, Prospect, to a fourth-place finish at the 2022 IHSA Class 3A Dual Team Finals.

“We asked the guys to put together their individual goals sheet and it was clear that a top-three finish at the Moore-Prettyman was high on the list of everyone on this team,” Keller said.

“Of course, winning the whole thing seemed a little ambitious for this team but we came out and went 11-for-11 in the first round (all pins), so right from the start we began to rack up those all-important bonus points, and the guys never let up. We have a nice blend of youth and experience, with strong leadership from our seniors, and the entire team was just locked in this weekend.”

Assistant coach Ken Hoving, who starred at Conant back in the day, was head coach in 2011 when Barrington finished fourth at Dual Team State, and assisted under Dave Udchik when the Broncos earned a third-place Dual Team State trophy in 2019.

“It’s kind of amazing that we won the tournament without having a single individual champion,” Hoving said. “I’m not sure if that’s ever happened since I’ve been here.”

When Hinsdale Central’s Marko Ivanisevic won at 285 to end the high-profile tournament on Saturday, the day’s final team tally saw Barrington with 204 points to win the title. Hononegah edged Libertyville for second place honors, 196.5-195.

Barrington headed home on Friday with an 11-point advantage over Hersey (133.50-122.5) and never let its rivals get any close during day No. 2. Clarence Jackson led the Broncos in total points scored on day No. 1 with 15.

“As I said, we had just a terrific start on the first day, and we were able to get three into the finals, with Kaleb Pratt, just a freshmen in his first high school final, and guys like Brady Wright, and Rhenzo (Augusto) working so hard to earn a spot in the finals,” Keller said.

“There were so many others who would contribute over the two days, especially our heavyweight Clarence Jackson, just back from football, and only in his second year in the sport making it into the semifinals. There’s a lot of wrestling still ahead of us, but, today, I am really proud of these guys, and now we’ll enjoy winning the tournament.”

Hononegah put on a show for its fans, while making a statement of its intent this season. Coach Tyler Demoss’ club had just one senior in its starting lineup of 12 and earned eight medals overall, including two individual titles from a pair of freshmen.

Libertyville’s fabulous foursome of Luke Berktold, Caleb Baczek, Matt Kubas and Owen McGrory did not disappoint. Berktold and McGrory won individual titles and coach Dale Eggert got a second-place medal from Kubas and a third from the junior Baczek.

“We were not concerned so much about our team score, but we were very happy with a bunch of our team members,” Eggert said.

Reigning Mid-Suburban League champion Hersey (190.5) flashed its depth with a tourney-high 10 overall medals to finish fourth. Making its first appearance at Barrington, Northern Lake County Conference power Wauconda earned a well-deserved 144.5 overall points to grab the fifth spot on the leader board.

Here’s a breakdown of Barrington’s Moore-Prettyman Invitational champions and their weight classes:

106 – Gavin Rockey, Wauconda

Wauconda junior Gavin Rockey got the final session off and running with a hard fought 3-2 decision over Barrington freshmen Kaleb Pratt to claim the 106-pound title. 

“It was good to get that first takedown, I am still not anywhere near being as fit as I need to be, but I felt pretty good out there and it was nice to win here at such a big tournament,” said Rockey, who enjoyed a memorable year last season that saw him finish second at state, win 33 matches and helped his club earn a Class 2A third place trophy at the Dual Team State championships. “It was a great year for our team and with us having so many back from last year, we hope to finish even better this year.”

Grayslake Central’s Vince DeMarco won 10-1 over Stevenson’s Evan Mishels to take third place, Glenbard East’s Waleed Binmahfooz recorded a fall in 3:04 over Jacobs’ Kristian DeClercq to finish fifth and Wheaton North’s Rocco Marcellaio won a 7-1 decision over Lane Tech’s Evan Coles to place seventh.

113 – Bruno Cassioppi, Hononegah

Bruno Cassioppi won it all at 113 after an impressive two days of work which ended with a 6-0 decision over Grant sophomore Vince Jasinski, a Fargo qualifier in both Freestyle and Greco.

“The most important thing I learned from my two brothers was that hard work pays off in the end,” said Cassioppi, whose older brother Tony was a two-time Illinois state champion. Tony Cassioppi set state records at heavyweight before going on to earn All-America honors four times at the University of Iowa.

“I really enjoy being in a high school wrestling room,” Bruno Cassioppi said. “We have so much young talent, a great coaching staff led by (Tyler) Demoss. I know if I follow the advice of my brothers, and put the extra time in, good things will happen to me too.” Cassioppi’s twin brother Rocco competes at 106 for the Indians.

Rocco was absent from Barrington because he was away at the Pan Am Games, where he won a silver medal. Bruno Cassioppi is ranked No. 3 in Rob Sherrill’s state rankings while Rocco is the No. 1-ranked man at 106.

Hersey’s Anthony Orozco placed third with an 11-2 win against Prairie Ridge’s Jake Lowitzki, Washington Community’s Logan Makiney won by forfeit for fifth against Crystal Lake Central’s Dylan Ramsey and Lane Tech’s Alex Valentin won by fall in 0:57 over Loyola Academy’s Harlee Hiller, the 2023 IHSA girls champion at 105, to take seventh place.

120 – Luke Berktold, Libertyville

Libertyville’s Luke Berktold, the No.-2 seed at 120, went 2-2 a year ago in his first visit to the state tournament, and will look to use that experience to return and take a run at the top spot.

“I learned a lot last year in Champaign, and during the offseason I worked a lot at being better with my fakes, and sweeps, and to be in a room with great leaders like Matt (Kubas) makes it better for all of us,” Berktold said.

Berktold doubled his advantage in the finals to 4-0 with an early reversal to start the second period as he went on to defeat Hersey’s Elijah Garza by a 6-1 decision.

“(Berktold) was very dominating, just tough throughout,,” Eggert said.

Garza upended the top-seed, Wauconda’s Nathan Randle, in their semifinal match. Randle wrestled back to win a 2-0 decision for third place against Barrington’s Ryan Dorn. 

Washington Community’s Noah Woods won a 1-0 decision against Loyola Academy’s Gavin Pardilla for fifth and Hersey’s Riddick Variano won by fall in 0:48 for seventh place against Stevenson’s Mikey Polyakov.

126 – Tommy Banas, Providence Catholic

It was a tournament filled with freshmen success stories and yet another came from Tommy Banas, who in his first big test in his rookie season at Providence Catholic, went from the No. 8- seed on to the top of the podium.

Banas bounced the top-seed, Grayslake Central’s Tyler Weidman, out of contention with a 6-0 victory after recording a pair of falls to open his tournament.

After the Weidman triumph, Banas held off the No. 5-seed, Fremd’s Drew Fifield, to gain a 5-3 semifinal decision before using an escape at five minutes to edge the No. 2-seed, Hersey’s Abdullokh Khakimov, 1-0 to win the title at 126 pounds.

During the offseason, Banas finished seventh overall at Preseason Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa at 126 pounds, going 7-2 overall.

Fifield took third place with an 8-5 decision over Lane Tech’s Robert Zavala, Lyons Township’s Griff Powell won an 11-4 decision over Prairie Ridge’s Mikey Meade to finish fifth and Weidman won by fall in 0:53 over Libertyville’s James Liu to take seventh place.

132 – Max Mukhamedaliyev, Hersey

Max Mukhamedaliyevproved to be an immovable force as he stormed through the 132-pound field to win his first Barrington title.

The Hersey junior, who a year ago came home with a sixth-place state medal and 37 wins before going on to qualify for Fargo in Freestyle and Greco-Roman.

“(Max) works non-stop, he worked on cleaning some things up from a year ago and this year, coming into a new season, he is so much better on top, with his feet and it’s his work ethic and desire to be the best that will be the difference later on when it really counts,” said Hersey assistant Tony Vezzetti, who finished fourth at state at 182 in 2016 for Schaumburg.

Mukhamedaliyev needed just under six minutes to get three falls to advance into his final with Stevenson sophomore Shawn Kogan, the No. 3-seed, who finished second at the IWCOA Frosh-Soph tournament.

Once there, the top-seeded Mukhamedaliyev built a 5-0 early first period advantage, but Kogan slowly chipped away at the lead, drawing closer at 7-5 with a takedown to end the second period before eventually falling 10-6.

Libertyville’s Orion Moran edged Washington Community’s Timmy Smith 3-2 to take third place, Hononegah’s Robert Darling won by forfeit over Washington Community’s Eli Gonzalez for fifth place and Grant’s Sammy Mendez took seventh after getting a fall in 5:52 over Wheaton North’s David Hyde.

138 – Wyatt Medlin, Washington Community

Reigning Class 1A champion and top-seed, Thomas Silva, who moved from Dakota to join Hononegah, booked his spot in the finals against No. 2-seed, and the current No. 1 man in Class 2A at 138, Washington Community’s Wyatt Medlin, in what promised to be one of the best of the bunch on this final day of action.

Medlin, who was third overall at state at 126, collected the only points needed in this contest with a first-period takedown in advance of his 3-1 victory.

“I knew his strength would be hand-fighting, so I made sure not to get into any of that with him (that) early takedown really helped set (up) the rest of the match for me,” said Medlin, who feels his fitness and ability to go all out for six minutes will fuel his chances for a state title.

“I kind of like having the target on my back as the No. 1-rated guy at my weight class, but (rankings) really do not matter, results do,” added Medlin, who won 28 matches a year ago, which included two at the Dual Team State Finals, where he and his Panthers teammates won the Class 2A state title.

Grant’s Erik Rodriguez took third after recording a fall in 3:41 over Lane Tech’s Nasser Hammouche, Hersey’s Rodrigo Arceo edged Prospect’s Giorgio Difalco 3-2 in an overtime tiebreaker for fifth place and Sandwich’s Cooper Corder took seventh with a 3-2 decision over Plainfield Central’s Gavin Enders.

144 – Carson Weber, Joliet West

After two consecutive trips to Champaign failed to earn Carson Weber a place on the podium, the Joliet West junior is convinced the third time will be the charm this season.

Weber was in superb form during his first four matches at 144, needing a total of just a little over six minutes to dispatch his rivals with a quartet of pins, before dashing the hopes of Barrington’s Brady Wright to claim a title before the hometown fans.

It was all Weber, who led from the start, then rode Wright the entire second period until finishing things up with a well-deserved 8-0 major decision.

“It wasn’t fun falling short in my two trips downstate, but this year I feel like I am ready to go back down there and make a real run at a state title,” said Weber, 40-4 a year ago, while adding a sectional title to his resume.

“The goal always is to win a state title (it) cannot be anything else, and I am confident that I can reach that goal.”

Wright, a two-time sectional qualifier, is just back from playing on the Barrington football team, which lost to Class 8A runner-up Lincoln-Way East in a state semifinal game.

Waubonsie Valley’s Ethan Wojtowich took third place with a fall in 1:46 over Wauconda’s Logan Andrews, Washington Community’s JJ Rokey finished in fifth place after capturing a 5-2 decision over Libertyville’s Will Carney and Stevenson’s Val Vihrov won by fall in 1:05 over Prospect’s Bennett Westfallen to capture seventh place.

150 – Fernando Lopez, Lane Tech

Fernando Lopez has plenty of incentive for his upcoming final year at Lane Tech using a disappointing finish a year ago to inspire bigger and better things for the 150-pounder.

The reigning Chicago Public League champion came this close to earning his first trip downstate only to have his hopes dashed in the blood round of the Class 3A Conant Sectional.

“Oh yeah, the way my season ended last year has really stayed with me, so I’ve worked as hard as I could during the offseason to help me get ready for a big year,” said Lopez after his 8-5 title decision over the top-seed, Barrington’s Rhenzo Augusto.

“That first period really helped set the tone for me and even though I let him get back into the match late in the third period, I knew all the extra work I’ve done in the room would help me win the title.”

Lopez pinned his way to his City title at 152 pounds and eventually finished last year with a 32-5 overall record. He added two more pins at regionals to give him six during the postseason. 

Wauconda’s Cole Porten won a 5-3 decision over Hersey’s Jake Hanson to take third place, Hononegah’s Max Haskins won by forfeit over Crystal Lake Central’s Alessio Pazella for fifth place and Hampshire’s Aric Abbott placed seventh with a fall in 4:00 over Prospect’s Joe Quirk.

157 – Brody Sendele, Hononegah

Another rookie in the Hononegah lineup is Brody Sendele, perhaps undervalued as the No. 5- seed at 157 when the tournament began. But as each round was entered into the books, it was clear Sendele will be one to watch for the next couple of years.

After sending the No. 1-seed, Wauconda’s Nick Cheshier out in the semifinals, Sendele opened fast and finished strong in his final with the No. 3-seed, Fremd’s Ryan Muslimovic, during an 11-4 victory.

“I feel like I’m getting back close to a hundred percent after having a partial torn ACL during the offseason, but in a room like the one we have at Hononegah, I know it won’t take long to get to where I want to be,” Sendele said. 

Sendele went into the second period against Muslimovic with a 4-1 advantage, which he slowly increased to 8-4 after four minutes. Sendele, currently ranked at No. 10, was an Under-16 Folkstyle National Champion.

Chesier won an 8-5 decision against Providence Catholic’s Geno Papes to take third, Wheaton North’s Thomas Fulton won a 6-2 decision for fifth against Hersey’s Tim Boldt and Jacobs’ Casey Lechuga won by forfeit for seventh against Joliet West’s Gavin Garcia.

165 – Gunnar Garelli, Lyons Township

Lyons Township senior Gunnar Garelli would like nothing more than to add a state championship to the Garelli family name, and alongside his cousin, Matt, who twice won a state crown while competing at Fenwick.

“Physically, and mentally, I feel like I am better prepared for the season ahead and today proved to be a good start to the year,” said Garelli, who will wrestle next fall at Virginia Tech, where he will major in Finance.

“That early takedown in the first 20 seconds really helped set the tone of the match, and that’s always the goal is to get out to an early lead and just control things from there on,” said Garelli following his 5-0 victory over Hononegah junior Connor Diemel in their 165-pound final.

“My cousin won in 2011 and 2012 and I really feel like I have a realistic chance to win a state title and to give the Garelli family another state championship,” said Garelli.

Grant’s Christian Wittkamp won a 10-2 major decision over Fremd’s Peter Mondus to take third, Prospect’s Connor Munn won 11-4 over Wauconda’s Zac Johnson to finish fifth and Stevenson’s Themba Sitshela won a 7-2 decision over Washington Community’s Cael Miller to place seventh.

175 – Matty Jens, Grayslake Central

As the tournament picked up a head of steam, it was clear the outstanding wrestler award would come down to just a select few still waiting in the wings to compete.

The title match between Grayslake Central’s Matty Jens and Libertyville’s Matt Kubas at 175 pounds looked to be the marquee match during the final session, and the two longtime friends gave the big crowd plenty to watch during a 6-5 result in favor of Jens.

“Matt and I go way back to when we wrestled at the Grayslake club in fourth grade, I love him like a brother,” Jens said. “But we know we have to put that aside when we’re out there competing against each other.”

Jens won it all a year ago in Class 2A with a sparkling effort at 182 pounds to end his season with a perfect 32-0 record.

“My plan is to go out as a two-time state champion, and I feel if I stay healthy, and continue to work hard, there really isn’t anyone out there who I cannot beat,” said Jens, who opened with a fall and followed up with a pair dominating tech fall results to advance into the final.

Kubas, who went 42-9 and placed fourth at state and also won a Barrington title last season, grabbed the early advantage over Jens before the two were even at 3-3 after the first period.

Jens held a 6-5 advantage after conceding an escape at the start of a third period that saw all of the action on the mat. Despite a pair of stalemate calls down the stretch, Kubas was unable to pry Jens open before the final whistle.

“That first takedown was important, and (Kubas) almost got a second one,” Eggert said. “But Jens is a tough and smart opponent, so we’ll get back to work on a few things after this great early season test of his.”

Downers Grove South’s RJ Samuels took third with a 5-1 decision over Hinsdale Central’s Zach Kruse, Hononegah’s Kurt Smith placed fifth by fall in 5:45 against Hersey’s Leo Delgado and Prospect’s Michael Matuzak won a 7-3 decision for seventh against Stevenson’s Everett Ciezak.

190 – Jaxon Penovich, Prospect

Prospect sophomore Jaxon Penovich overpowered four opponents en route to his second straight individual Barrington title, this time at 190.

Penovich, who enjoyed a marvelous rookie season which included championship rings at conference and regionals before ending with a fifth place state medal at 195, rolled past Hersey senior Anthony Cambria, another 2023 state qualifier, with a 22-7 tech fall victory to claim the 190-pound top prize.

“I learned a lot of lessons last year as a freshmen, the most important was it is not how you start, but how you finish, and after a great start to my first year in high school wrestling,” said Penovich, who went 47-7 a year ago, with one of those losses coming in the final at the Barrington Sectional against eventual state champion, Libertyville’s Cole Matulenko.

“I found out the season is a real grind and I don’t think I was quite ready for what was ahead of me at state, but this year it will be much different,” said Penovich, who spends most of his week training under Jordan Blanton and Ryan Prater at the Relentless Training Center.

Libertyville’s Caleb Baczek won a 3-1 decision over Bradley-Bourbonnais’ AJ Mancilla to take third place, Glenbard East’s Blake Salvino won by forfeit over Crystal Lake Central’s Cayden Parks for fifth and Barrington’s Ayden Salley won by fall in 1:21 over Providence Catholic’s Mike O’Connor to claim seventh place.

215 – Owen McGrory, Libertyville

Owen McGrory, who enjoyed a memorable first season with Libertyville last winter, showed plenty of energy and pace in going 45-8 and earning a first trip downstate.

“I might have surprised a few people last season, but I spent the offseason making sure that I can come back, and be even better in order to have a long run in the state tournament,” McGrory said. 

McGrory defeated Plainfield South’s Matthew Janiak, who took sixth at state last season, 3-0 in the finals at 215.

“My strength is my leg-riding, but I still spent a lot of time in the offseason fine tuning that and other parts of my game,” McGrory said. “Having partners like (Matt) Kubas and Caleb (Baczek) will make all of us continue to improve as the season goes on.”

Hononegah’s Isaak Smith won a 4-2 decision on the third-place mat against Downers Grove South’s Mack Piehl, Prairie Ridge’s Walter Pollack won by fall in 2:38 for fifth place against Glenbard East’s Gus Winkler, and Lyons Township’s Nick Arquilla won 7-0 for seventh against Barrington’s Peter Kazaglis.  

285 – Marko Ivanisevic, Hinsdale Central

Hinsdale Central senior Marko Ivanisevic is now a two-time Barrington champion after recording a pin at 1:08 over Hampshire senior Joey Ochoa in the 285 finals.

“Marko kept a high pace with his hand-fighting throughout the tournament,” Hinsdale Central coach Jason Hayes said “During the offseason, he worked extremely hard to help build his confidence when the big matches come his way.”

Ivanisevic, who pinned his way to the 285-pound title, earned his second straight fifth-place state medal at 220 a year ago with a sparkling 44-3 overall record. He won individual sectional and regional titles, along with a highly-coveted championship trophy at the Rex Whitlatch Invite on his home mats.

Barrington’s Clarence Jackson won by fall in 1:49 on the third-place mat against Lyons Township’s Sam Costello, Stevenson’s Andrew Timmons placed fifth with a fall in 0:38 against Washington Community’s Sean Thornton, and Prospect’s Tommy Johl won by fall in 1:22 for seventh against Waubonsie Valley’s Leonidas Hobson.  

Barrington Moore-Prettyman Invitational championship matches

106 – Gavin Rockey (Wauconda) D 3-2 Kaleb Pratt (Barrington)

113 – Bruno Cassioppi (Hononegah) D 6-0 Vince Jasinski (Grant)

120 – Luke Berktold (Libertyville) D 6-1 Elijah Garza (Hersey)

126 – Tommy Banas (Providence Catholic) D 1-0 Abdullokh Khakimov (Hersey)

132 – Max Mukhamedaliyev (Hersey) D 10-6 Shawn Kogan (Stevenson)

138 – Wyatt Medlin (Washington Community) D 3-1 Thomas Silva (Hononegah)

144 – Carson Weber (Joliet West) MD 8-0 Brady Wright (Barrington)

150 – Fernando Lopez (Lane Tech) D 8-5 Rhenzo Augusto (Barrington)

157 – Brody Sendele (Hononegah) D 11-4 Ryan Muslimovic (Fremd)

165 – Gunnar Garelli (Lyons Township) D 5-0 Connor Diemel (Hononegah)

175 – Matty Jens (Grayslake Central) D 6-5 Matt Kubas (Libertyville)

190 – Jaxon Penovich (Prospect) TF 4:23 Anthony Cambria (Hersey)

215 – Owen McGrory (Libertyville) D 3-0 Matthew Janiak (Plainfield South)

285 – Marko Ivanisevic (Hinsdale Central) F 1:08 Joey Ochoa (Hampshire)

Barrington Moore-Prettyman Invitational team scores

1. Barrington 204, 2. Hononegah 196.5, 3. Libertyville 195, 4. Hersey 190.5, 5. Wauconda 144.5, 6. Prospect 129.5, 7. Stevenson 129, 8. Grant 127.5, 9. Washington 124, 10. Lane Tech 110.5, 11. Lyons Township 104, 12. Fremd 94, 13. Downers Grove South 89.5, 13. Glenbard East 89.5, 15. Grayslake Central 87, 16. Joliet West 75.5, 17. Providence Catholic 72, 18. Hinsdale Central 71, 19. Crystal Lake Central 70, 20. Jacobs 68, 21. Hampshire 67, 22. Wheaton North 59, 23. Prairie Ridge 57.5, 24. Plainfield South 45, 25. Waubonsie Valley 41, 25. West Chicago 41, 27. Fenwick 40.5, 28. Bradley-Bourbonnais 37.5, 29. Sandwich 31.5, 30. Loyola Academy 31, 31. Plainfield Central 29, 32. Lake Zurich 18.

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