Batavia, OPRF, Quincy lead Illinois teams at Granite City Schmitt Tournament

By Curt Herron – For the IWCOA 

It’s a pretty good achievement when you only bring nine competitors to a 27-team tournament and you can still claim a fourth-place finish in that event.

But that’s just what Batavia was able to accomplish when it scored 218.5 points to finish in fourth place at Granite City’s 62nd annual William “Red” Schmitt Holiday Tournament.

Coach Ryan Farwell’s fourth-place Bulldogs advanced four individuals to the title mat and had one champion. And they had three others who earned medals for placing eighth or better.

Oak Park and River Forest (209.5) finished fifth and Quincy Senior (203.5) placed sixth while Andrew (152.5) took eighth, Plainfield North (151) claimed ninth, Normal West (126.5) was 11th and Mahomet-Seymour (120.5) placed 12th in a competition that was paced by three Missouri squads while another from that state made the top 10, as did one team from Kentucky.

Hickman of Columbia, Missouri scored 281.5 points to claim top honors while Lafayette, Missouri (261.5) took second, Willard, Missouri (236.5) was third, Whitfield, Missouri (180.5) finished seventh and Paducah, Kentucky’s Tilghman (130) placed tenth. (Note: throughout the rest of the story MO will be used for Missouri and KY will be used for Kentucky).

Although they may be one of the few schools in the country whose mascot is a doll, coach Dan Pieper’s Kewpies weren’t in a very playful mood as they made an impressive debut in the Red Schmitt by having a tournament-high three champions and six others who placed fifth or better. 

This is the eighth time in the past 10 tournaments that a Missouri team has won the title with Marmion Academy (2021, 2018) the lone Illinois champions during the time.

Mt. Vernon (106.5, 14th), Waterloo (105.5, 15th), Belleville East (104.5, 16th) and Bloomington (103.5, 17th) all scored 100 points while Joliet Central (98.5, 17th) fell just shy of that mark. The host Warriors scored 86.5 points and placed 20th in one of Illinois’ longest-running tourneys. 

The event is named in honor of William “Red” Schmitt, who coached at Granite City from 1950-1985 and had a 589-70-5 dual meet record there and went 602-82-5 in his career, becoming the first coach in the nation to win 400, 500 and 600 dual meets. He had 15 teams that finished in the top 10 at the IHSA Finals when the title was determined by scoring.

Granite City entered the season with 1,536 dual meet wins, which is also a national record. Due to his significant contributions to the sport as a coach, rules interpreter and an executive in coaching associations, Schmitt was inducted in the second class of the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 1973 and joined Ott Bay, Chuck Farina, Elias George and George Girardi as the initial recipients of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame – Illinois Chapter Lifetime Service Award in 1997.

There were six title winners from Illinois schools and eight from Missouri, with the champion Kewpies having the most with three, Hank Benter (120), Jordan Fincher (144) and Shane Oswald (150).

Mt. Vernon’s Dillon White won the Outstanding Wrestler Award after opening with a win by technical fall before recording pins in his next five matches, including a fall in 4:23 over Batavia’s Aidan Huck in the 138 title match.

Plainfield North’s Maddox Garbis and Belleville East’s Jonathan Rulo repeated as champions in the competition. Garbis captured an 8-6 decision in the 113 finals over Andrew’s Nadeem Haleem in a rematch of last year’s 106 title match. Rulo pulled away late to capture an 8-1 decision over Willard, MO’s Brady Griffin.

Batavia’s highlight came in the 190 championship match where Ben Brown got a takedown with 15 seconds left in overtime to win 3-1 by sudden victory over Lafayette, MO’s Andrew Wier.

Quincy Senior’s Owen Uppinghouse also won a title in a tight battle after getting an escape early in the final period and then holding on to claim a 1-0 decision over Willard, MO’s Gary Walker in the 165 finals. The Blue Devils fell just shy of winning another title when Bryor Newbold was edged 6-5 by Bolivar, MO’s Mason McCurry in the 175 finals.

Normal West’s Evan Willock recorded a fall in 3:04 over Whitfield, MO’s Lucas Parietti to give him the championship at 157.

Other Schmitt Tournament champions hailing from the west side of the Mississippi River were Lafayette, MO’s Riley Sumner (106) and Dylan Roth (126), Whitfield, MO’s Yashua Amen (132), Bolivar, MO’s Mason McCurry (175) and Willard, MO’s Porter Talbot (215).

Batavia had two other finalists beside champion Brown and runner-up Huck. Ino Garcia lost a 10-0 major decision to Benter in the 120 finals and Duraski lost by fall in 1:36 to Amen at 132. In addition, Asher Sheldon (215) took third, Kyle Pasco (126) finished fourth and Ethan Brauer (144) was eighth. Seven of the nine Bulldogs received medals for placing eighth or better.

“The big part is that they wrestle for each other,” Farwell said. “They really take on that team concept and when we came here, we knew that in the beginning rounds and the pool play and coming into the championship round that we had to put up a lot of bonus points. These guys went out there and there executed what they work on every single day and I just can’t say enough about the effort that they put out there.

“That’s why we come here, because we get to see a different type of competition, we get to see these Missouri schools and some of the southern Illinois schools. It’s a great midway point for us to start working on things that we need for the postseason. They’ve bonded pretty well and they’re a great group and they wrestle for each other. They support each other through everything, they hang out and they want everyone to be successful. It’s a really cool thing to see”

Andrew’s Max Siegel was trying to repeat as a champion in the event but he lost a tough 5-4 decision to Roth in the 126 title match. Joliet Central’s Charles Walker put up a good battle in the 215 finals but wound up dropping a 6-3 decision to Talbot. 

Oak Park and River Forest’s Michael Rundell (106), whose brothers Matthew and Jacob were state champions for the Huskies, also took second place. He lost a 9-0 major decision to Sumner in the 106 finals.

Coach Paul Collins’ fifth-place Huskies also had two third-place finishers, Zev Koransky (126) and David Ogunsanya (150), whose brother Joshua was a state champion at OPRF. Also for the Huskies, Joseph Knackstedt (138) finished fifth while Isaac Davis (157) and Hugh Vanek (165) both placed sixth.

“We have some guys who wrestle pretty good but we have a lot of guys that have kind of been building up over the last couple of years,” Collins said. “We have a couple of seniors and their names aren’t as flashy as other guys but they’re going to show up every day and are going to grind. And we have some young guys who are pretty talented and some other guys who are up and coming. 

“We’ve also brought in four coaches who were part of our 2014, 2015 and 2016 state finals. Matt Rundell was a state champ and part of all three of those state title teams. Jason Renteria was a two-time champ and four-time medalist. And we have Bobby Campos, who was a state placer for us and we have Allen Stallings, who was a state champion who played football at Indiana. We want to continue to build the program. Being nationally-ranked every single year is a  tough thing to accomplish but for the better part of a decade, we did a pretty good job of being in contention.

“We have these coaches that only know Oak Park as good, and then we have these kids, who know Oak Park as what we’ve been building these last couple of years. I feel really good about the work that we’ve been doing and we’ve building toward this. We kind of knew that with the work behind this, it was coming. We finally got a middle school program in place. And we have Matt Rundell on staff and MJ’s (Michael) is wrestling now, and we have David Ogunsanya, who took third, he’s the third of three brothers who also wrestled for us and those guys wrestled at West Point and at Columbia.”

And coach Phil Neally’s sixth-place Blue Devils also had two individuals who placed third, Payton Eddy (190) and Todd Smith (285). Others who won medals for Quincy Senior were Cooper Kamm (132), who took sixth, and Brody Baker (144), who finished seventh. 

“The kids have been working real hard and a lot of this because of their work in the offseason, since they had a lot of matches in the offseason” Neally said. “And we’re going to some tough tournaments and get them ready for events like this. I tell them that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so you have bumps along the way, but the kids are working well and doing good things. The good thing for us is that we’re at home this year for both regionals and sectionals. 

“We’ve been doing early morning practices and weightlifting and just pushing that we have to do things the right way and win third periods and finish our matches. Owen Uppinghouse, Bryor Newbold and Todd Smith do a lot of great things and those guys work hard and they’ve earned the right to be there.”

Two others from Illinois schools took third place, Triad’s Will Kelly (106) and Granite City’s Braxton Tolley (132). Additional individuals from Illinois schools who finished fourth were Granite City’s Dawson Hawthorne (120), Bloomington’s Maddox Kirts (165) and Mahomet-Seymour’s 

Brock VanDeveer (190).

The other fifth-place finishers from Illinois schools were Joliet Central’s Liam Walsh (113), Plainfield North’s Nathan Ali (126), Belleville East’s Killian Rauch (150), O’Fallon’s Logan Thomas (157), Mt. Vernon’s Mason Randall (190) and Andrew’s Michael McDonough (285).

Plainfield North got sixth-place efforts from Luke Grindstaff (144) and Leonardo Tovar (190). Other Illinois athletes who took sixth were Bloomington’s Jaylen Sandy (106), Waterloo’s Konnor Stephens (120), Mascoutah’s Jordan Sonon-Hale (138) and Mt. Vernon’s Maddux Randall (175).

Normal West had five seventh-place finishers, Jacob Payne (106), Dylan McGrew (113),  Abram Rader (120), Gus Schrieber (175) and Matt Hanold (285). Others from Illinois schools who took seventh were Mahomet-Seymour’s Justus Vrona (126), Plainfield North’s Jack Curran (132), Collinsville’s Cody Lutz (165) and Andrew’s Joseph Zimmer (215).

Additional Illinois athletes who finished in eighth place were Waterloo’s Bladen Sease (150), Brady Rose (165), Jackson Deutch (175) and Jaxson Mathenia (190), Bloomington’s Tyler Barlow (113), Vaughn Hochstatter (132) and Noah Misukonis (157), Mahomet-Seymour’s 

Gideon Hayter (106) and Talon Decker (138), Triad’s Glen Henry (120) and Plainfield North’s Cayden Amico (126)

Records for Illinois finalists after the competition are Uppinghouse (25-0), Brown (20-0), Rulo (19-0), Garbis (9-0), Willock (19-1), White (15-1), Garcia (10-1), Huck (23-2), Walker (23-2), Haleem (24-3), Newbold (23-3), Rundell (18-4), Siegel (23-5) and Duraski (21-8).

Oak Park and River Forest tied Lafayette and Willard for the most falls and wins by technical fall with 34. The Huskies also easily collected the most total match points with 518, which was 96 more than second-place Lafayette collected.

Nine individuals recorded five falls, including two from Granite City, Hawthorne and Tolley. Mt. Vernon’s Dillon White and Belleville East’s Jonathan Rulo were the others from Illinois who had five falls.  White was the only individual to record five falls and also get a win by technical fall which helped him to receive the OWA for the tournament.

Dillon White also scored the most team points with 43.5, which was one-half point ahead of Lafayette’s Riley Sumner. Jonathan Rulo ranked third with 42 team points, Normal West’s Evan Willock was fourth with 41 points and Quincy Senior’s Owen Uppinghouse tied with three Missourians for fifth with 40 team points.

OPRF’s Zev Koransky had the most match points with 89 while Plainfield North’s Maddox Garbis was second with 80 points. Joliet Central’s Tremaine Cooper was fourth with 67 points.

The three individuals who made the biggest leaps from where they seeded to where they placed were from Illinois. Belleville East’s Killian Rauch placed fifth after being seeded 26th, Plainfield North’s Jack Curran was seeded 25th and took seventh and Quincy Senior’s Cooper Kamm took sixth after being seeded 21st.

Here’s a look at the champions and their weights for the William “Red” Schmitt Tournament

175 – Mason McCurry, Bolivar, MO

With the finals of the Schmitt Tournament starting at 175, Quincy Senior was hoping that it could bookend the event by getting championships from Bryor Newbold at 175 to the start the finals and from Owen Uppinghouse  at 165 to conclude the two-day event, but Bolivar, MO junior Mason McCurry (19-1) had other ideas and he gave his team its lone title after prevailing over Newbold with a 6-5 decision. Newbold (23-3), a senior who went 41-7 a year ago and qualified for the IHSA Class 3A Finals, was one of six medal winners for coach Phil Neally’s Blue Devils, who took sixth in the competition. Newbold followed a 5-3 decision in the quarterfinals with a fall in 5:39 in the semifinals over Willard, MO’s Jase Motlagh to earn his spot on the title mat. He hopes to join Uppinghouse and 12 others who have won IHSA medals for the Blue Devils.

“I feel like I came in expecting a lot harder competition, because when we came here two years ago, we didn’t have a single placer (in the top eight),” Newbold said. “I wrestled my butt off today and made it to the finals. I thought a couple of calls should have been called differently but they didn’t go my way, but he was a good kid. I’ll take a loss, it happens. I’m looking forward and I’m ready for state. It feels nice to have a good team.”

Mt. Vernon senior Maddux Randall (14-5) took fifth after dropping a 2-0 decision to Hickman, MO’s Beau Waldron (13-2) and Normal West senior Gus Schrieber (21-6) claimed seventh place with a fall in 3:12 over Waterloo junior Jackson Deutch (21-6), becoming one of the six medalists for his team, including four others who also claimed seventh-place finishes.

190 – Ben Brown, Batavia

On a day when Batavia sent four of its nine competitors to the title mat, Ben Brown was the only member of coach Ryan Farwell’s fourth-place Bulldogs that was able to win a championship, but he had to go through a real battle to get the job done. Meeting Lafayette, MO’s Andrew Wier (17-4) in the 190 finals, Brown, a senior, improved to 20-0 after getting a takedown with 15 seconds remaining in overtime to claim a 3-1 win by sudden victory. After opening with three falls, he won a 3-2 decision in the quarterfinals and then won 2-1 on an overtime tiebreaker over Plainfield North’s Leonard Tovar, who took third at 220 in 3A in 2023 and was a champion at last year’s Red Schmitt Tournament. That performance should provide Brown with the motivation to follow in the footsteps of teammate Ino Garcia as well as 2023 Batavia graduates Kaden Fetterolf and Cael Andrews who are three of the 13 medalists that the program has had.

“In the last two matches against shorter and stockier kids, you know where they want to go, they want to go power, they don’t really want to go finesse and for the long run,” Brown said. “So you can kind of wear those guys down. When we get in the room, we have some great coaches, like Logan Arlis, who pushes me, and obviously my practice partner, Asher Sheldon at 215, he gives me that strength aspect, so I’m not going to see a guy as strong as him. I got here late because of football, obviously, but it’s been fun getting into the room with these guys and going to work. Coach (Ryan) Farwell has done a great job since he’s taken over, pushing us and keeps us motivated. He always keeps that competitive attitude and we all just all love to compete and get after it. Once we get into the room, we just go to work.”

Senior Payton Eddy (18-10) became the first of Quincy Senior’s two third-place finishers when he won 5-3 in sudden victory over Mahomet-Seymour junior Brock VanDeveer (15-11). Mt. Vernon senior Mason Randall (14-4), who went 35-16 and qualified for the Class 2A Finals last year, claimed fifth place over senior Tovar (8-1) by medical forfeit and Bolivar, MO’s Owen McCullah won by fall in 1:33 over Waterloo freshman Jaxson Mathenia (19-3) to take seventh.

215 – Porter Talbot, Willard, MO

Joliet Central junior Charles Walker is definitely a man on a mission this season after going 37-14 and falling one victory shy of a state medal at 220 at the 2023 IHSA Class 3A Finals. He put up a great battle in the 215 title match against Willard’s Porter Talbot (18-1), but lost a 6-3 decision to suffer his second defeat in 25 matches. Walker, one of two medalists for coach Patrick McGovern’s Steelmen, earned his spot on the title mat with a 9-6 victory over Lafayette, MO’s Brandon Wunderlich. Walker, who took seventh in last year’s Schmitt Tournament, hopes that in a return trip to state that he can become the first Steelmen to win an IHSA medal since 2013 when Trayvon Zabala won his third medal and Sharod Wilson joined him as an all-stater.

“I wrestled his teammate (in the semifinals) and won but he definitely scouted and came prepared,”  Walker said of Talbot. “This tournament helps me see where I’m at so that I can get prepared for the state tournament. I’ve had a nice season and I’ve won two tournaments already. We have a lot of good coaches and a lot of good quality kids and there’s always competition with everybody. They say that iron sharpens iron and that’s what it’s like in our room. And there’s always smiles and laughter and joking.”

Batavia junior Asher Sheldon (25-2) assured his nine-man team of five individuals in the top three when he won a 10-0 major decision over Paducah, KY Tilghman’s Jack James (7-3) in the third-place match. A year ago, Sheldon took second place in the tournament. Andrew junior Joseph Zimmer (16-9) claimed seventh place by capturing a 9-2 decision over Wunderlich.

285 – Jonathan Rulo, Belleville East

After dropping a 5-3 decision in the IHSA Class 3A Finals to Downers Grove North senior Ben Bielawski last season to finish a 34-2 debut season, Belleville East’s Jonathan Rulo had much to be proud of, considering that he was a rare freshman state runner-up in the heavyweight division. Just the third individual from his school to reach the title mat at the IHSA Finals, and the first to accomplish that feat since Joe Wier in 1991, he’s determined to do whatever it takes to capture a title this season and  become the Lancers’ first state champion. He’s off to a great start, improving to 19-0 after capturing an 8-1 decision over Willard, MO’s Brady Griffin (17-1) in the 285 finals to repeat as a champion in the tournament. Rulo, one of two medal winners in the tournament for coach Rashad Riley’s Lancers, was in a battle throughout much of that match and nearly recorded a late pin to wrap up a tournament where he won his other five matches by fall, including a pin in 0:56 in the semifinals over Hickman, MO’s Levi Harrell. 

“I had to wear him down because he was real strong,” Rulo said. “Not all heavyweights, but a lot of them, get tired real quickly. My coaches provide me with good practices. We’ll do traditional practices, and that’s the main part of it. This year, there’s a lot of good kids. I’ve been working on my shots. Last year, I hardly took any shots, but this year I’ve been working on my shots. You know they say that the best defense is the best offense.”

Quincy Senior sophomore Todd Smith (18-6) became one of his team’s four individuals who placed third or better after winning a 5-4 decision over Harrell in the third-place match. Andrew junior Michael McDonough (21-6),  who qualified for the 2023 Class 3A Finals and finished with a 28-17 record, won a 3-0 decision over Whitfield, MO’s Adrian Harrold to claim fifth place. And Normal West’s Matt Hanold (20-7) became one of the five individuals on his team to finish in seventh place when he won by medical forfeit over Hazelwood Central, MO’s Jonathan Slater. 106 – Riley Sumner, Lafayette, MO

In a matchup of two freshmen in the 106 title match who figure to be top competitors in their respective states for four years, Lafayette, MO’s Riley Sumner (17-2) won a 9-0 major decision over Oak Park and River Forest’s Michael Rundell (18-4), who was the top finisher among six medal winners that helped coach Paul Collins’ Huskies to a fifth-place finish. Rundell’s older brothers, Matthew and Jacob, were standouts at OPRF, each winning an IHSA title and combining for three other state medals before continuing their careers in college. Rundell looks to follow in his brothers’ footsteps and had an impressive tournament with two falls and a win by technical fall before capturing an 8-0 major decision in the semifinals over Triad’s Will Kelly.

“I’m pretty happy with how I’m doing,” Rundell said. “My only losses have been to kids that are ranked in the state and in the country. So I’m doing pretty well, especially for an undersized 106 since I weighed in at 98 pounds. The expectations are definitely higher than for other wrestlers, because you have to one-up your brothers, you can’t be worse than them. I watched all of the state championships. I may not remember some, but I was always there. That’s the goal, to be back to where we were. The guys work hard in the room and they definitely give their all in their matches. So if they just keep getting better, we can definitely be back on the podium at state.”

Kelly (19-3), a sophomore and the top finisher of Triad’s two medal winners, took third place after claiming an 8-1 decision over Lafayette, MO’s Max Layman (10-5). In the fifth-place match, Paduch, KY Tilghman’s Case Simmons (7-3) recorded a fall in 0:56 over Bloomington freshman Jaylen Sandy (12-10). And in a matchup of freshmen for seventh place, Normal West’s Jacob Payne (15-9) captured an 8-3 decision over Mahomet-Seymour’s Gideon Hayter.

113 – Maddox Garbis, Plainfield North

In a rematch of the 2022 Schmitt Tournament finals at 106, Plainfield North junior Maddox Garbis once again prevailed for a title over Andrew sophomore Nadeem Haleem, this time with an 8-6 decision at 113. Garbis (9-0), who took sixth at 106 in the 2023 IHSA Class 3A Finals, was the top finisher and one of six medal winners for the Tigers and their first-year coach, Adrian Cervantes. Garbis advanced to the title mat after recording his second win by technical fall, prevailing in 5:00 over Hickman, MO’s Hogan Benter. Garbis hopes that he and teammate Leonardo Tovar can join Jacob Macatangay and Matthew Hennessey as two-time IHSA medalists for the Tigers and do what only Hennessey achieved in 2018, winning an IHSA title. It should be noted that Macatangay won the IWCOA 3A championship at 126 in 2021.

“I’ve wrestled him now four times, three times last year and he kept getting closer every time,” Garbis said. “Honestly, I came into the match confident since I’ve learned a lot wrestling offseason since I wrestled through Izzy Style and now I’m at Fitz Wrestling Club (Academy). I want to place higher downstate and get into the state finals and maybe get a shot at a state title, that’s the goal. When (former coach Joby) Bodi left, it was really hard for me personally since I was really close with him. But coach Adrian Cervantes, he’s awesome. He’s working with me and I’m getting extra training in and he knows what he’s talking about and I’ve improved so much from last year. I have best friends on the team and they support me through everything in life. I went through a time earlier this season, and honestly I’d like to thank my teammate Cayden Amico for helping me through it all. He’s pushed me through thick and thin and I give him all the thanks in the world.”

Haleem (24-3), who joined teammate Max Siegel as Schmitt Tournament finalists for the second year in a row for coach Peter Kowalczuk’s Thunderbolts, advanced to the title mat at 113 after recording a fall in 4:38 over Lafayette, MO’s Calum Brown, his fourth pin of the competition. Haleem was an IHSA Class 3A qualifier last year as a freshman and finished with a 36-10 record. Joliet Central junior Liam Walsh (16-12) placed fifth after capturing an 11-10 decision over Lafayette, MO’s Ahmad Ghuneim. And in a Twin Cities clash for seventh place, Normal West junior Dylan McGrew (20-7) won by fall in 3:03 over Bloomington sophomore Tyler Barlow, who went 25-18 last season and qualified for the IHSA Class 2A Finals.

120 – Hank Benter, Columbia, MO Hickman

Batavia senior Ino Garcia was hoping to win a Schmitt Tournament title as he had done in 2021 and did not to repeat what he did last year when he took second place at 113 to Andrew ‘s Max Siegel. But a newcomer to the event, Columbia, MO Hickman junior Hank Benter, had his own plans and he captured a 10-0 major decision over Garcia to improve to 19-0 and be one of the three champions for the Kewpies, who also won the team title by 20 points over Lafayette, MO.

Garcia (10-1), a senior, was one of four finalists for the Bulldogs, who took fourth place in the competition despite having nine individuals in the event. Garcia, who went 25-9 a year ago and took sixth place in Class 3A at 113 at the IHSA Finals after taking fourth place at 106 the year before. As one of five individuals from his program who have been a two-time all-stater, he hopes to become his program’s first three-time IHSA medalist this season. It should be noted that Mikey Caliendo won the IWCOA 3A title at 160 in 2021 for his third medal. Garcia earned his spot on the 120 title mat by winning a 4-0 decision over Whitfield, MO’s Jackson Bassett (15-6), who went on to take third after winning a 1-0 decision over Granite City freshman Dawson Hawthorne (24-3). In the fifth-place match, Lafayette, MO’s Caleb Frankenberger (16-7) won by fall in 1:15 over Waterloo sophomore Konnor Stephens (19-9). And for seventh place, Normal West junior Abram Rader (18-7) won 13-2 over Triad sophomore Glen Henry.

126 – Dylan Roth, Lafayette, MO

Max Siegel looked to repeat as a champion at the Red Schmitt Tournament and even though he battled to throughout against Lafayette, MO senior Dylan Roth (17-2), the Andrew senior was unable to get a takedown in the late going and lost a 5-4 decision one year after winning the 113 title over Batavia’s Ino Garcia while Roth was taking third place at 126. Siegel (23-5), who joined teammate Nadeem Haleem as a finalist in the last two tournaments, reached the 126 title mat with a 13-5 major decision over Paducah, KY Tilghman’s Jayven Williams. Siegel went 35-6 last season but was unable to advance from the Class 3A Normal Community Sectional.

“We have some improving to do, but all in all, we did alright,” Siegel said of his team. “I wrestled in the offseason and I’ve been eating right. I bumped up a weight class so I’m not really cutting too much weight so I feel good and strong out there. I have good coaches, they’re good guys.”

Oak Park and River Forest sophomore Zev Koransky (24-5) took third place for the second year in a row in the tournament after winning a 16-9 decision over Batavia sophomore Kyle Pasco (19-11). Koransky had the most match points of any competitor with 89, which was nine more than Plainfield North’s Maddox Garbis had. Plainfield North junior Nathan Ali (9-3) took fifth place by medical forfeit over Williams (11-2) and Mahomet-Seymour sophomore Justus Vrona (18-10) placed seventh when Plainfield North senior Cayden Amico took a medical forfeit.

132 – Yashua Amen, Whitfield, MO

A victory that Batavia junior Jack Duraski rallied to win that helped him to reach the title mat at 132 may have prevented him from winning the championship. Duraski trailed Whitfield, MO’s Yashua Amen 5-1 in a fourth-round match but turned the tables on his opponent and pinned him in 3:57. But it was a different story when the two met up in the 132 championship match as Amen (16-3) recorded a fall over Duraski in 1:36 to become the only champion for his team.  

“It was an outcome that I was expecting in the finals,” Duraski said. “He was actually in my pool and I was losing 5-1 and I ended up getting a pin. I think we would have definitely won the tournament if we had every weight class. It shows how much better our team can be when we have a full lineup.”

Duraski (21-8), one of four finalists and seven medalists for coach Ryan Farwell’s Bulldogs, advanced to the 132 championship match after capturing a 4-1 decision over Granite City freshman Braxton Tolley (12-3), who became the host Warriors’ top finisher in their tournament after he won the third-place match by medical forfeit over Columbia, MO Hickman’s Brady McMurtry (16-3). Willard, MO’s Ethan Craft took fifth place after getting a fall in 1:32 over Quincy Senior freshman Cooper Kamm. And Plainfield North sophomore Jack Curran took seventh place when he got a fall in 2:30 over Bloomington senior Vaughn Hochstatter.

138 – Dillon White, Mt. Vernon

After going 40-6 last season and qualifying for the IHSA Class 2A Finals and then winning a state Greco-Roman title and taking first place at the Midwest Nationals in Bloomington while competing for PSF Wrestling Academy, Dillon White headed into this season with a lot of confidence and a title at Mascoutah’s Dale Breckel Invite was another boost. The Mt. Vernon junior’s performance in winning the title at 138 at the Red Schmitt Tournament impressed so many that he received the event’s Outstanding Wrestler Award after winning by fall in 4:23 over Batavia’s Aidan Huck in the finals. White (15-1) led all competitors in team points with 43.5 after being the only one in the tournament to record five pins in addition to collecting a win by technical fall. He was the lone finalist and one of the three medal winners for coach Alejandro Wajner’s Rams and earned his spot on the title mat with a fall in 0:48 over Christian Brothers College’s Colin Rutlin in the semifinals. White took fourth place at last year’s competition.

“It was a really tough tournament and I’m the first person from our school to win it,” White said. “We had one person in the finals last year and I got fourth the last two years. I’ve qualified so far every year and I’ve lost in my bubble match every year, though, so I was one away from placing. In this offseason, I was really working on my footwork so that I could get faster. This past year, I always had good throws but I couldn’t move my feet, I was practically wearing cinder blocks for shoes. I’m moving a lot more and still hitting my throws and taking a couple of shots. This is the third year (for his coaches) and they’ve really transformed this sport. Before Alejandro (Wajner), they were thinking about cutting wrestling entirely. We have a wrestling academy called PSF Wrestling and we had around eight champions at Midwest Nationals. I’m really excited and I think I’m going to do good at state and place this year. I’m excited for the future and I’m hoping to wrestle in college.”

Huck (23-2), a senior who went 37-11 last year and qualified for the IHSA Class 3A Finals, was one of four finalists and seven medal winners for the Bulldogs, who led all Illinois teams with their fourth-place finish despite having nine entrants. After winning 7-5 over Oak Park and River Forest’s Joseph Knackstedt in the quarterfinals, he advanced to the 138 title mat by recording a fall in 5:57 over Columbia, MO Hickman’s Taryn Nichols (16-5). Last year, Huck took fifth in the tournament. Knackstedt, a junior who is 22-6, took fifth place after recording a fall in 1:48 over Mascoutah sophomore Jordan Sonon-Hale (18-9). Bolivar, MO’s Maddux Nesmith (13-4) placed seventh thanks to a 10-7 decision over Mahomet-Seymour freshman Talon Decker (16-7).

“It’s not what I planned on getting, but it’s still a good placement,” Huck said. “I just did my thing, but I didn’t finish on top. We’re proud of Ben (Brown), he had pretty significant wins. We take grit in all of our wrestling. And all of us hold ourselves accountable every day and I feel like our team chemistry and everything that we do together just makes our team-building so great, and that’s definitely a good thing.”

144 – Jordan Fincher, Columbia, MO Hickman

After the first 10 championship matches involved at least one Illinois competitor, the home state athletes were denied trips to the championship mats at both 144 and 150, which also happened to be where eventual champion Columbia, MO Hickman was winning its second and third titles of the finals to help secure its team title. In the 144 finals, Jordan Fincher (18-2) won 3-2 over Willard, MO’s Caleb Caldwell (16-2) to become his team’s second title winner and that came just before his teammate, Shane Oswald, took first place at 150 in another close match.

Illinois athletes had to settle for visits to the fifth-and seventh-place matches at 144. Bolivar, MO’s Cooper Moore (21-11) took fifth place after capturing an 8-0 major decision over Plainfield North sophomore Luke Grindstaff. And in the seventh-place match, Quincy Senior sophomore Brody Baker (21-11) won a 9-1 major decision over Batavia senior Ethan Brauer (16-9).

150 – Shane Oswald, Columbia, MO Hickman

Shane Oswald helped put the finishing touches on the successful debut by Columbia, MO’s Hickman at the Red Schmitt Tournament. Oswald (18-2), a freshman, joined teammates Hank Benter (120) and Jordan Fincher (144) as champions for coach Dan Pieper’s Kewpies, who had nine individuals that placed fifth or better to capture the team title by 20 points over Lafayette, Missouri. Oswald won the 150 title with a 6-4 decision over Whitfield, MO’s Rome Tate (16-6).

Oak Park and River Forest sophomore David Ogunsanya (21-6) recorded a fall in 4:43 over Willard, MO’s Noah Rogers (14-5) to finish third. His brother Joshua was an IHSA Class 3A champion for OPRF in 2020 and is now a member of the wrestling team at Columbia University while another brother and former Huskie, P.J., had a successful career at West Point. In the fifth place match, Belleville East freshman Killian Rauch (21-7) won a 6-4 decision over Paducah, KY Tilghman’s Amari Williams. Rauch drew the 26-seed in the bracket, making his 21-spot improvement from seed to place the biggest of the tournament. For seventh place, Bolivar, MO’s Cale McCurry (13-8) won by fall in 5:54 over Waterloo junior Bladen Sease (16-9). 

157 – Evan Willock, Normal West

After going 39-7 last season and finishing sixth at 132 in the IHSA Class 2A Finals, Evan Willock can make history as Normal West’s first two-time state medalist and also its highest placewinner if he gets back to state and finishes a bit higher since only one other individual from his school has won a state medal, Luke Nohns, who took fifth place in 3A in 2014. Willock is definitely off to a great start in his senior season after improving to 19-1 as the result of a fall in 3:04 over Whitfield, MO’s Lucas Parietti (14-5) in the 157 championship match. He also won a 3-0 decision over Parietti in the fourth round of the tournament. Willock, who took third place in last year’s Schmitt Tournament, earned his spot on the title mat by recording a fall in 0:40 over O’Fallon junior Logan Thomas (20-9) in the semifinals to lead the way for coach Dave Lehr’s Wildcats, who had six medal winners, with all but Willock claiming seventh-place finishes.

“This has always been a tough one,” Willock said. “I had a pretty tough loss in one of my recent duals, but I shook off some rust, and was feeling good today. I’m excited and I’m hoping for top three for sure and obviously the goal is always state champion. All of the offseason work, the weightlifting, the runs. I didn’t do a whole lot of wrestling this offseason, but I was always preparing every single day for it. The competition (in the Twin Cities) has gotten ridiculous these last few years. West had a lot of seniors that left, so we’re rebuilding, Community has a fantastic team and Bloomington has a strong team, too. There’s just a lot of competition and it makes us all better.”

Thomas bounced from his semifinal loss to Willock to take fifth with a fall in 1:15 over Oak Park and River Forest senior Isaac Davis. And for seventh place, Christian Brother College’s Tanner Faulkner (17-7) won by medical forfeit over Bloomington senior Noah Misukonis (14-10).

165 – Owen Uppinghouse, Quincy Senior

Owen Uppinghouse hopes to make history this season after going 44-2 and placing third at 160 at the IHSA Class 3A Finals to join only six other individuals from Quincy Senior who have placed that high in the IHSA Finals. He’s hoping to take the next step and be a state champ, a feat only accomplished three times at the school, most recently by Jermaine Dade in 2000. If he can place at state again, he’ll join Dade and another champion, Jack Miller, who took first in 1957, as the school’s lone two-time medalists. It should be noted that Quincy Senior had a champion at the IWCOA Finals in 2021 when Thomas Culp won at 195 in Class 3A. The Blue Devils senior improved to 25-0 after getting an escape early in the final period and made it stand to win a 1-0 decision over Willard, MO’s Gary Walker (17-1) in the final title match. Uppinghouse, who joined teammate Bryor Newbold (175) as a finalist, earned his spot there with another close decision, 2-1, over Columbia, MO Hickman’s Luke Hayden in the semifinals.

“Two years ago as a sophomore, I was winning but got thrown and landed on my arm and dislocated my elbow, so just being in this environment brings back a lot of those memories,” Uppinghouse said. “I wanted to get those thoughts out of my head and try to do my best. I’m lucky enough to have great practice partners and great coaches. In my freshman year, we ended with eight kids, so every year, we’re taking a little bit of a step in the right direction. Our college, Quincy University, just started their program, so Quincy is starting to be put on the wrestling map. We have kids who are working hard and they’re the kids that put in the work in the offseason, and it shows.”

Hayden (20-1), a freshman, bounced back from his first loss of the season to Uppinghouse to claim third place with an 11-5 decision over Bloomington senior Maddox Kirts (21-5), who went 36-8 a year ago and qualified for the IHSA Class 2A Finals. Christian Brothers College’s 

Christian Fanetti won by fall in 4:50 over Oak Park and River Forest junior Hugh Vanek (12-10) to claim fifth place. And Collinsville senior Cody Lutz (15-3) took seventh place after capturing an 11-5 decision over Waterloo senior Brady Rose (9-7).

Championship matches for Granite City’s William “Red” Schmitt Tournament

175 – Mason McCurry (Bolivar, MO) D 6-5 Bryor Newbold (Quincy Senior)

190 – Ben Brown (Batavia) SV 3-1 Andrew Wier (Lafayette, MO)

215 – Porter Talbot (Willard, MO) D 6-3 Charles Walker (Joliet Central)

285 – Jonathan Rulo (Belleville East) D 8-1 Brady Griffin (Willard, MO)

106 – Riley Sumner (Lafayette, MO) MD 9-0 Michael Rundell (Oak Park and River Forest)

113 – Maddox Garbis (Plainfield North) D 8-6 Nadeem Haleem (Andrew)

120 – Hank Benter (Columbia, MO Hickman) MD 10-0 Ino Garcia (Batavia)

126 – Dylan Roth (Lafayette, MO) D 5-4 Max Siegel (Andrew)

132 – Yashua Amen (Whitfield, MO) F 1:36 Jack Duraski (Batavia)

138 – Dillon White (Mt. Vernon) F 4:23 Aidan Huck (Batavia)

144 – Jordan Fincher (Columbia MO, Hickman) D 3-2 Caleb Caldwell (Willard, MO)

150 – Shane Oswald (Columbia, OH Hickman) D 6-4 Rome Tate (Whitfield, MO)

157 – Evan Willock (Normal West) F 3:04 Lucas Parietti (Whitfield, MO)

165 – Owen Uppinghouse (Quincy Senior) D 1-0 Gary Walker (Willard, MO)

Team standings for Granite City’s William “Red” Schmitt Tournament

1. Columbia, MO Hickman 281.5, 2. Lafayette, MO 261.5, 3. Willard, MO 236.5, 4. Batavia 218.5, 5. Oak Park and River Forest 209.5, 6, Quincy Senior 203.5, 7. Whitfield, MO 180.5, 8. Andrew 152.5, 9. Plainfield North 149, 10. Paducah, KY Tilghman 130, 11. Normal West 126.5, 12. Mahomet-Seymour 120.5, 13. Bolivar, MO 109.5, 14. Mt, Vernon 106.5, 15. Waterloo 105.5, 16. Belleville East 104.5, 17. Bloomington 103.5, 18. Joliet Central 98.5, 19. Christian Brothers College, MO 96, 20. Granite City 86.5, 21. O’Fallon 71.5, 22. Triad 70, 23. Wentzville, MO Holt 69, 24. Collinsville 62.5, 25. Mascoutah 49, 26. Hazelwood Central, MO 39, 27. Alton 36.5

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