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.