Hinsdale South takes 2A Lemont regional title

By Patrick Z. McGavin for the IWCOA

Six years in the making, Hinsdale South found its stride at the perfect time.

“We knew this was going to be a dogfight with Lemont,” Hinsdale South coach Steve Matozzi said.“They’re a great team, and we have a lot of respect for them. It’s a thrill for the guys to take this one home.”

The Hornets nullified Lemont’s regional-best five individual champions with superior depth to capture the Class 2A team regional title at Lemont on Saturday afternoon.

Hinsdale South had three champions and seven other qualifiers in capturing the team title with 202 points. The Hornets’ three runner-ups and four third-place finishers pushed them over the top.

Hinsdale South won its first regional title since 2018, and will now have the bonus of hosting the sectional.

Lemont had five champions and nine sectional qualifiers in finishing runner-up at 193.5 points.

Illustrating the depth of the field, all seven teams had at least one finalist, and six different programs had individual champions.

All seven teams had a minimum two sectional qualifiers. Lemont led with five individual champions, followed by three for Hinsdale South, and two apiece for Catholic League programs Providence and St. Laurence.

Richards and Agricultural Science had one champion apiece.

Providence had seven qualifiers, St. Laurence six, Glenbard South and Richards four, and Agricultural Science two.

The Hornets also qualified for the Class 2A Dual Team Sectional at Brother Rice.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries this year, and we almost won the conference championship,” Matozzi said. “This one makes us all feel good. Now we can keep going. Even the guys who didn’t make it today, their season is not over.”

Class 2A Lemont Regional championship results:

106 – Elijah Sawyer, Agricultural Science 

The Cyclones’ freshman was unfazed by the bright lights and his first state tournament, blitzing the field with a first-period pin in the semifinals and then posting the technical fall of Hinsdale South’s Jamarion Moffett in the championship match.

“I like to wrestle very aggressively out there,” Sawyer said. “I made some good fakes, and I got in my shots.”

Sawyer (29-3) dominated in neutral with multiple takedowns plus back points for the 19-4 technical fall at 5:35.

“I’m good on my feet,” he said. “I’m just a freshman, but I’ve worked hard, and it paid off. I have a lot of confidence.” 

In the third-place match, Lemont’s Matteo Vitro posted the fall over Richards’ Muhammad Hamad.

113 – Mikey Wallace, Hinsdale South

Hinsdale South’s Mikey Wallace posted two first-period falls, punctuating his dominant performance with the 0:47 pin of Providence’s JT Potocsnak in the championship match.

A state qualifier at 106 pounds last season, Wallace (27-14) is the silent type, proving that actions supersede words or description.

“I can’t really describe what happened out there,” he said. “I just went out and tried my hardest, and listened to my coaches. My style is pretty aggressive, and I like to go out there and really set the pace.”

For third place, St. Laurence’s Nathan Martinez registered the first period fall over Lemont’s Ewald Tricke.

120 – Henry Manning, St. Laurence

St. Laurence’s Henry Manning pinned his way to the championship by catching Richard’s Amir Akilani in a cradle for the first period fall.

He started the day with a fall of Hinsdale South’s Antonio Bingham in the semifinal round.

“I learned that move from my coach,” Manning said. “I felt the pressure and I rolled him forward. “Winning today the way I did, and being a regional champion just makes me really happy. It was a great atmosphere, and I loved the excitement.”

On the third-place mat, Providence’s Braeden Paterno earned the 12-8 decision over Bingham.

126 – Tommy Banas, Providence

Providence freshman Tommy Banas continued his rapid ascent with his dominant 19-4 technical fall over Lemont’s Julian Vallianatos.

He previously captured major tournaments at Barrington and Joliet Central, and was a top-4 place finisher at the Dvorak and Catholic League conference meet.

“All of the high level tournaments and events I’ve wrestled really prepared me for this,” he said.“This was good competition, and I just wanted to come in and take care of things.”

Banas started off quickly with a takedown and back points for the 5-0 lead.

Banas (38-7) put on the finishing touches with the series of takedowns in the final period, securing the technical fall at 6:00.

“He was balling up a lot on the bottom so I had to do something else,” he said. “I had to let him up with those escapes, and just go after him with the takedowns.”

For third place, Glenbard South’s Kyle Quaid Bowman secured the fall over St. Laurence’s Adrian Pintado.

132 – Cory Zator, Lemont

Lemont’s Cory Zator captured the championship with a methodical and precise 7-2 decision over Providence’s Justus Snapp.

Zator (30-7) was a state qualifier last season at 113 pounds, finishing one match away from a state place medal.

His two first period takedowns created the early 4-1 advantage. 

“I worked really hard in practice the whole week in getting ready for this,” Zator said. “It’s about being consistent.”

Throughout the match, the athletic and dynamic Snapp created seemingly advantageous offensive positions, only for Zator to offset the pressure.

“I think I’m really good with hand-fighting, and being on my feet,” he said. “The more I wrestle, the better I am. I’ve been wrestling a long time. 

“I like to think the longer I go in a match, the more I’m going to win. I want everybody to know I’m better than the other person.”

Zator started a run of four consecutive individual titles by Lemont.

“This is the state series, and it’s really important to be in the room every day, putting in all the work,” Zator said. “I tried to get that extra work. You have to be accountable. In those tough matches, you have to be ready and bring all the energy.”

In the third-place match, Glenbard South’s Diego Myers posted the 6-2 decision over Hinsdale South’s Jonathan Styczynski.

138 – Carter Mikolajczak, Lemont

Lemont’s Carter Mikolajczak diced the opposition with fast pins, punching his ticket with the second period fall of Hinsdale South’s Al Amir Almannai in the championship match.

He is used to the bright lights, having won 40 matches and qualifying for state last season at 126 pounds.

“I like to wrestle quick and fast, stay aggressive, keep them off-balance and get on their legs,” he said. “I just want to be a savage on top, and get those turns.”

He created the early momentum with a takedown and two separate near falls for the 7-0 first period lead. He sealed the deal at the 3:48 mark.

“I think I was quicker, and just getting to my attacks the way that I did was very helpful,” he said. “I was able to get into my shots.”

In the third-place match, Glenbard South’s Jin Tai posted the fall over Richards’ Leo Flores.

144 – Aiden Rudman, Lemont

Lemont’s Aiden Rudman made up for lost time with a dominant 15-0 technical fall over Hinsdale South’s Noah Ririe in the championship match.

After wrestling just 11 matches during the regular season, he was eager to strut his stuff.

Rudman (8-5) annihilated the field, posting a 0:39 fall during the semifinals.

“I thought I was working really good on top,” he said. “I was really good with my shots, and working out of neutral and on my feet. That is actually my favorite.”

Rudman was fast, mobile, and very efficient. He started quickly with a takedown and separate two-point near falls for the fast 6-0 lead.

He closed out the match at the 3:34 mark.

“I like to wrestle laid back, and stay calm the whole time,” Rudman said. “I don’t want to think too much about it, just react and respond to what my body needs to do. 

“My mentality was just to try and make it through, and finish up the best I could. I was the No. 1 seed, and I just wanted to finish up strong and make my coaches proud.”

In the third-place match, St. Laurence’s Josh Martinez posted the fall over Gianni Penson of Agricultural Science.

150 – Noah O’Connor, Lemont

Lemont’s Noah O’Connor turned a match that appeared competitive on paper into a rout with the second period fall of Richards’ Dom Paul in the championship match.

A defending state qualifier last season at 152 pounds, O’Connor (38-4) was a model of consistency. 

Both of his matches lasted almost the identical time frame, 3:07 in his semifinal pin against 3:11 in the championship round.

“I thought with both of my matches I felt very relaxed but also prepared,” he said. “I like going into every single one of my matches the same, whether it’s a dual, a state qualifying match, or something downstate.”

Paul (24-6) was up to the challenge for much of the first period. He fought off O’Connor’s aggressive style, conceding just a takedown through the first two minutes.

O’Connor took charge with the reversal at the start of the second period. He caught Paul on his back.

“I’m an aggressive wrestler, and I really try to push the pace,” O’Connor said. “I train very hard to have good endurance. I think I have better conditioning than most guys I go up against, and I try to use that to my advantage to keep striking and attacking during the match.”

On the third-place mat, Hinsdale South’s Andrew Musil posted the fall of St. Laurence’s Joseph Barnett.

157 – Geno Papes, Providence

Providence’s Geno Papes ended the Lemont run with the decisive 11-2 major over the host’s Nico LoCoco in the championship match.

Papes (34-12) scored the only offensive points with two takedowns apiece in the first and second periods.

He closed out the victory with a reversal and back points in the third period.

In the third-place match, Hinsdale South’s Benjamin Miller earned the fall over St. Laurence’s Ryan Martinez.

165 – Mike Taheny, Richards

Richards’ Mike Taheny blitzed the field, capped by a first-period fall of Glenbard South’s Logan Price en route to the championship.

He provided the Bulldogs’ only individual champion with the pin at 1:51. 

A defending state qualifier at 160 pounds, Taheny is atypical, unorthodox and a difficult match up.

“I’ve been doing judo most of my life, and I just started wrestling when I was in high school,” he said. “That’s just what I’ve been doing.”

He leapt out to a quick 5-0 lead with a takedown that he combined into back points, then delivered the knockout action with the cradle for his second pin of the day.

“I felt the pressure, and that’s what I did,” he said “That’s what I go to with that move.”

Taheny was already looking forward to the next stage.

“This is just business that I have to take care of,” he said. “I’ll have the same attitude next week with sectionals. This is all part of the process, and I intend to win the whole thing.”

In third place, Hinsdale South’s Darrion Glover posted the fall of St. Laurence’s Jack Claussen.

175 – Jovani Piazza, Hinsdale South

Hinsdale South’s Jovani Piazza was a whirling dervish and Teutonic force who obliterated the competition.

He needed less than two minutes of mat time to claim the championship, posting the fall of Providence’s Michael O’Connor at 1:30.

The Hornets’ senior is a defending state qualifier at 182 pounds. Piazza (27-4) was on a mission, needing just 0:19 seconds in his semifinal match against Lemont’s Yehor Pohonchenko.

Against O’Connor, he controlled the tempo from the start, using a quick five-point combination with the takedown and back points.

Up 5-0, he ended any question by ensnaring O’Connor in a cradle and finishing him off.

His victory proved crucial in the team race, pushing the Hornets into a team lead they never relinquished.

Lemont was up half a point heading into that match.

“I never had any doubts about the rest of the team, and I knew we were going to be fine,” he said.

On the third-place mat, Richards’ Jeremiah Gill registered the fall of St. Laurence’s Damien Torres.

190 – Alec Miller, Hinsdale South

Alec Miller fought through the pain in securing the hard-fought, come from behind 4-1 decision over Lemont’s Dan Taylor in the championship match.

During the third period, locked up with Taylor, he wrenched his knee and writhed in pain.

“I was in a lot of pain, but I couldn’t stop there,” he said. “The adrenaline was pumping, and I just had to continue.”

A defending state qualifier last year at 170 pounds, Miller (30-7) endured in one of the tightest and most competitive finals.

The first period ended in a scoreless tie. Taylor scored first with the early second period escape.

Miller responded with a quick maneuver, pulling him down from behind for the only offensive points of the match.

“I like to score, of course,” Miller said. “I’m really good at the bottom, and I always go for switches. I love scrambles.”

Up 2-1 to start the third period, Miller engineered an escape, and was awarded the final point after Taylor was issued his second stalling warning.

His victory over his Lemont rival pushed the Hornets’ lead to an insurmountable 198-187.5 in the team standings.

“We’re going to team sectionals, and hopefully we’re going to do some damage there,” Miller said.

In third place, St. Laurence’s Alfonso Diaz posted the fall over Glenbard South’s Moiz Hameed.

215 – Xavier Bitner, St. Laurence

St. Laurence’s Xavier Bitner turned the tide decisively in his 14-6 major decision over Hinsdale South’s Andrew Miller in the championship.

Miller had the only offensive points of the first period with the takedown.

Up 2-1 at the start of the second period, Miller was up 5-2 when Bitner made his electric move.

Off his back, he executed a deft roll that flipped Miller for the reversal, the start of a run of 12 consecutive points extending into the third period.

Bitner (39-5) gave the Vikings their second individual champion.

“That move with the reversal there was just part of my training,” he said. “We work all the time, in the room, and getting into those positions. I was just trying to take him out, and end it right there. It didn’t go that way.”

Bitner parlayed the reversal into back points that altered the momentum.

“I had a surge of confidence after that, and I knew I could win,” he said. 

He continued the momentum into the third period with an escape, takedown and near fall points.

“This feels great, but the job is not finished yet,” he said.

In the third-place match, Agricultural Science’s Antone Woods secured the fall over Providence’s Koda Miller. 

285 – Alex Pasquale, Lemont

Lemont’s Alex Pasquale put everything into his final home match with the first period fall of St. Laurence’s Gio Fox in the championship match.

He posted the takedown and two separate near falls before earning the pin at 1:44.

A defending state qualifier at heavyweight, Pasquale (27-3) went out in grand style.

“This is one of the days I’m never going to forget in my life,” he said. “I’m going to always remember winning a regional championship here, at home, the last time I ever wrestle here on this mat.

“I thought I did a great job with my shots, and just putting my combination actions in there.” 

In third place, Providence’s Mike Sisk posted the fall over Hinsdale South’s Gavin Slaughter.

Here are the championship match results of the Class 2A Lemont Regional

106 – Elijah Sawyer (Agricultural Science) TF 19-4 5:35 Jamarion Moffett (Hinsdale South)

113 – Mikey Wallace (Hinsdale South) F 0:47 JT Potocsnak (Providence)

120 – Henry Manning (St. Laurence) F 0:58 Amir Akilani (Richards) 

126 – Tommy Banas (Providence) TF 19-4 6:00 Julian Vallianatos (Lemont)

132 – Cory Zator (Lemont) D 7-2 Justus Snapp (Providence)

138 – Carter Mikolajczak (Lemont) F 3:48 Al Amir Almannai (Hinsdale South) 

144 – Aiden Rudman (Lemont) TF 3:34 15-0 Noah Ririe (Hinsdale South)

150 – Noah O’Connor (Lemont) F 3:11 Dom Paul (Richards)

157 – Geno Papes (Providence) MD 11-2 Nico LoCoco (Lemont) 

165 – Mike Taheny (Richards) F 1:51 Logan Price (Glenbard South) 

175 – Jovanni Piazza (Hinsdale South) F 1:30 Michael O’Connor (Providence)

190 – Alec Miller (Hinsdale South) D 4-1 Dan Taylor (Lemont) 

215 – Xavier Bitner (St. Laurence) MD 14-6 Andrew Miller (Hinsdale South) 

285 – Alex Pasquale (Lemont) F 1:44 Gio Fox (St. Laurence)

Third-place matches (top 3 in each weight class advance to sectional):

106 – Matteo Vitro (Lemont) F 2:20 Muhammad Hamad (Richards)

113 – Nathan Martinez (St. Laurence) F 2:00 Ewald Tricke (Lemont)

120 – Braeden Paterno (Providence) D 12-8 Antonio Bingham (Hinsdale S)

126 – Kyle Quaid Bowman (Glenbard S) F 1:04 Adrian Pintado (St. Laurence)

132 – Diego Myers (Glenbard S) D 6-2 Jonathan Styczynski (Hinsdale S)

138 – Jin Tai (Glenbard S) F 4:44 Leo Flores (Richards)

144 – Josh Martinez (St. Laurence) F 1:20 Gianni Penson (Agricultural Science)

150 – Andrew Musil (Hinsdale S) F 1:23 Joseph Barnett (St. Laurence)

157 – Benjamin Miller (Hinsdale S) F 1:34 Ryan Martinez (St. Laurence)

165 – Darrion Glover (Hinsdale S) F 0:48 Jack Claussen (St. Laurence)

175 – Jeremiah Gill (Richards) F 0:33 Damien Torres (St. Laurence)

190 – Alfonso Diaz (St. Laurence) F 2:57 Moiz Hameed (Glenbard S)

215 – Antone Woods (Agricultural Science) F 4:44 Koda Miller (Providence)

285 – Mike Sisk (Providence) F 3:36 Gavin Slaughter (Hinsdale S)

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