By Patrick Z. McGavin
Last February Brody Kelly was the classic newcomer who was eager to perform at the highest level.
As a freshman at Marmion, he stepped on the highest stage by wrestling at 138 pounds in the Class 3A state dual championship against St. Charles East.
He lost a tough 14-10 decision against individual state finalist Tyler Guerra in the Saints’ 28-24 team championship victory. He finished 26-18, toggling between 132 to 145 pounds.
At the Ted DeRousse Invitational Saturday, Brody Kelly was the swing candidate who catapulted his new school to the team championship over his former school.
Now part of a revamped and stacked team at IC Catholic Prep, Kelly captured the 157-pound championship with the 8-2 decision over Robby Nelson of Yorkville Christian.
The Knights had four individual champions and seven finalists in scoring 441 points over runner-up Marmion, who finished with 393 points.
“I kind of expected this,” Kelly said. “I put a lot of work into the offseason.”
Danny Alcocer is the new coach of the Elmhurst school over two years directing the program at another private school state power at Aurora Christian.
He developed state champions Brandon Stauffenberg and Taythan Silva.
“Aurora Christian was a great experience, and we really loved it there,” Alcocer said.
“When the chance came to coach at IC Catholic Prep, our coaching staff just jumped at the opportunity to build a full team. At Aurora Christian, we always had success, but we never had a full team. This is a chance for us to get 14 guys in the lineup.”
Alcocer has some new and familiar faces helping round out a stacked, versatile and gifted lineup.
“I think a lot of these guys put in the work during the offseason, and it’s easy to mesh when you have common goals,” he said.
“We’re trying to build a culture at IC Catholic Prep, and this is a step in the right direction.”
Two of his standout wrestlers at Aurora Christian reached the finals wrestling for the Knights.
The Aurora connection between Alcocer and Kelly ended up tipping the balance in the Knights’ favor.
“I thought Brody Kelly wrestled a great tournament,” Alcocer said. “We love to have him, and he is doing all the right things. We had some matchups with Marmion that ended it.”
Deven Casey captured the 126-pound championship, and Pat Mullen finished second at 150 pounds.
Casey finished third in each of the last two seasons at Aurora Christian. Mullen was one match away from a state finish last season.
Behind standout sophomores Nick Garcia and Zach Stewart, the Cadets finished second at 393 points.
Marmion had three first place medalists and six finalists, an impressive performance given the absence of defending Class 3A 182-pound state champion Jack Lesher, who is recovering from knee surgery.
Lesher is hopeful to return in time for the regionals next February. The Cadets are also without two-time state qualifier Collin Carrigan.
Quincy (356.5), West Aurora (315) and Yorkville Christian (305) rounded out the top six in the 24-team field.
Quincy dominated the upper weights with individual champions at 165 pounds (Owen Uppinghouse), 175 pounds (Bryor Newbold) and 285 pounds (Todd Smith)
Yorkville Christian was the fourth program to produce multiple champions with Aiden Larsen at 113 pounds and Ty Edwards at 132 pounds.
Larsen finished sixth at 106 pounds in Class 1A last year, and Edwards was the state runner-up at 120 pounds.
The tournament named two outstanding wrestlers, with Marmion sophomore Nick Garcia given the lower weight distinction, and West Aurora junior Dom Serio awarded the upper weight standout.
106: Danny Goodwin, St. Patrick
Goodwin dominated with power and weight. And he pulled out the 2-0 tie breaker over Marmion’s Logan Conover for the championship.
“I thought the difference today was staying heavy on top, and being able to ride kids,” Goodwin said. “I’m a year older, but the same weight as last year, and I thought that was really beneficial.
“I was really able to navigate through the matches. I stayed calm.”
Goodwin had one of the most impressive runs in the field, posting three falls and a technical fall to reach the championship round. He knocked out his teammate Jack Koenig with a first- period fall in the semifinals.
Conover had a bye, and won his first match on a first-period fall. In a riveting back and forth semifinal, he defeated William Du Chemin of Wilmot Academy (Wis.) with a 7-4 decision.
Du Chemin rebounded from his semifinal loss with a decisive technical fall victory over Koenig for third place. Marmion’s Preston Morrison won by fall over Normal West’s Jacob Payne in the fifth-place match.
113: Aiden Larsen, Yorkville Christian
Yorkville Christian’s Aiden Larsen demolished his field, registering four falls, three of them in the first period.
Larsen was overwhelming, and as good as Quincy’s Hugh Sharrow was, he wasn’t quite good enough, falling to Larsen at 1:01 of the championship match.
“I just stayed on my offense, and I wrestled my game plan,” Larsen said. “I just stuck to my stuff, and I didn’t wrestle anybody else’s game.
Larsen’s longest match came in the semifinal round against Thiago Guardiola of Wilmot Union (Wis.), which he ended with a fall at 3:06 to qualify for the championship match.
“This year, I have to take a role that others had last year, or the year before,” Larsen said. “My focus is to wrestle my match every day.”
Sharrow was equally dominant in his half of the bracket. He also posted four falls, including a third-period semifinal fall against Hinsdale South’s Mikey Wallace.
Guardiola pinned Wallace in the second period of the third-place match and Normal West’s Dylan McGrew won by 10-3 decision over Kannon Judycki of IC Catholic Prep for fifth place.
120: Nicholas Garcia, Marmion Academy
Time appeared to stand still during the best match of the day featuring two nationally-rated competitors, and Nicholas Garcia made one more move.
Garcia’s takedown produced a 6-4 sudden victory decision over two-time defending Wisconsin state champion Co’ji Campbell of St. Joseph Academy.
Campbell suffered the first loss of his high school career. He was 64-0 heading into the match, and he appeared unbeatable in annihilating his half of the championship bracket.
But as the younger brother of two-time state champion Jameson Garcia, Nick Garcia proved his mettle.
Garcia finished fourth in Class 3A at the 106 pounds last season and he is bigger, stronger and ready to take the leap.
“I think I am moving my feet better, and that has opened up more attacks for me,” Garcia said.
“In the overtime, I was able to get to my final finish. I got the under hook, and I noticed that he stood up for half a second, and I was able to trip him up with my foot, and I got the take down.”
The championship punctuated a superb tournament by Garcia, who also posted two falls and a technical fall over Hinsdale South’s Alex Schuetz in the quarterfinals.
In another exhilarating match, he outlasted Antioch’s Gavin Hanrahan 8-5 in the semifinals.
In his half of the draw, Campbell was untouchable, with four consecutive falls. He posted three pins in under a minute, most remarkably requiring just 0:35 to dispatch Normal West’s Abram Rader in the semifinal round.
Campbell needed just 2:46 to complete his four falls heading into his showdown with Garcia.
Hanrahan rebounded from his first loss to post a second-period fall of Rader in finishing third. In the fifth place match, Mundelein’s Pedro Becerra defeated Hinsdale South’s Alex Schuetz by 9-5 decision.
126: Deven Casey, IC Catholic Prep
Everything old is new again for Deven Casey.
Casey is new to IC Catholic Prep. He has been an elite wrestler for four years, with two top-three state finishes. Casey punctuated his startling performance with a second-period fall of Carmel’s Matthew Lucansky in the championship match at 126.
Casey blitzed the field with four falls and then a major decision in the semifinals over Wheaton Academy’s Lincoln Hoger. Casey had three second-period falls, and one first-period fall. Against Hoger, he utilized his elite length, power and speed for a 15-4 major.
Lucansky matched Casey through his half of the bracket. He posted four falls in the lead up to the championship, including a third-period fall over Zach Rohloff of Wilmot Union (Wis.) in the semifinals.
In the third-place match, Hoger dominated Rohloff with a 10-3 decision. St. Patrick’s Calvin Stahl edged West Aurora’s Aiden Massaro 4-1 in the fifth-place match.
132: Ty Edwards, Yorkville Christian
Yorkville Christian’s Ty Edwards had not faced Antioch’s Edgar Albino since the two were in the seventh grade.
The wait was worth it.
Edwards had two key takedowns and a reversal for the 7-0 victory in a superb championship match between the two. The championship match was Edwards’ only match by that went the distance.
He began his part of the tournament with four consecutive falls, with his first three matches taking just over a minute or less. Edwards completed his string of consecutive falls with a third period action over Wheaton Academy’s WIll Hupke.
Albino had a convincing run through his part of the bracket, posting three falls and a tough 3-1 decision over Deerfield state qualifier Luke Reddy in the semifinal.
Reddy regrouped from his first loss for a 6-2 decision win over Hupke for third place.In the fifth-place match, Marmion’s Donny Pigoni posted the second-period fall of Hinsdale South’s Apollo Cobb.
138: Zach Stewart, Marmion Academy
Zach Stewart had a great freshman season except for the end, when an injury knocked him out of a state finals finish and a chance to compete for the state dual team championship.
The Marmion sophomore has used that memory to fuel his next step.
Jumping up three classes, Stewart is now a cut above. Like the award captured by his teammate Nicholas Garcia, Stewart was a strong choice for most outstanding wrestler.
Stewart captured the championship with an 18-6 major decision over Omar Samayoa of IC Catholic Prep. He posted three technical falls and dominated St. Patrick’s Olin Walker 11-4 in the semifinal.
Despite his championship loss, Samayoa was outstanding in his own right, posting two falls and a technical fall in the preliminary action. In a riveting semifinal, he outlasted Deerfield’s Jordan Rasof in a 3-0 decision win.
In one of the strongest top-four weight classes, Walker pulled out the sudden victory 5-3 decision over Rasof for the third-place medal. Hillcrest’s Jovan Williams secured a first-period fall of Al Amir Almannai of Hinsdale South for the fifth-place award.
144: Ashton Hobson, Marmion Academy
Ashton Hobson was on a mission.
“I got to my single today, and that really helped me do what I wanted out there,” he said.
The Marmion junior put together a versatile and sharp run that culminated with his 7-3 decision over Joel Sullivan of Wilmot Union (Wis.) in the championship match.
“Last season I was injured a lot, and I don’t know that I helped the team that much,” he said “Now I’m healthy, and I just want to win some matches.”
Hobson jammed together one of the top individual runs of the day with two technical falls in the preliminary rounds, and the fall over Antioch’s Chase Nobiling in the quarterfinal round.
He dominated IC Catholic Prep’s Bryson Spaulding 9-0 in the semifinal bracket.
Sullivan had a fall and technical fall in the first two rounds. He engineered two sharp decisions over Deerfield’s Mark Martinez and Carmel’s Tony Hinojosa.
Hinojosa recovered from his first loss with a dominant first period fall of Spaulding for third place. Mark Martinez took down Brody Baker of Quincy with a first-period fall to capture fifth place.
150: Dominic Serio, West Aurora
Dominic Serio was a man on a mission.
“I just want to score points all the time,” he said.
The past has been both crucial and cruel. As a freshman two years ago, Serio lost a sectional blood round match. Last season, he was one match away from placing at state at 138 pounds.
Serio turned a solid field into a private showcase for his intoxicating blend of speed, power, technique and aggressive flair. Serio’s performance earned him the most outstanding wrestling award in the upper weight division, after posting three falls and two major decision victories.
His 18-9 major over Pat Mullen of IC Catholic Prep in the championship match secured his standing.
“My goal is to win state this year, and I don’t want to let anything stop me,” he said. “My style is just relentless attacks, and never let my foot off the gas.”
Serio caught Mullen on two takedowns for a 4-2 lead after the first period. Serio expanded his advantage in the second period, utilizing his balance, strength and aggressiveness.
Mullen showed resilience with the only points scored against Serio with a third-period takedown that closed his deficit to 11-7. But Serio answered with an escape and three takedowns for the winning margin.
Going up against New Trier’s Tagg Miller in the semifinals, he generated 12 takedowns in a 24-10 major decision.
Mullen strung together four highly-impressive performances with three falls and a dominant victory over Mundelein’s Kevin Hernandez in the semifinals.
He punched his ticket to the final with the 23-8 victory over Hernandez.
After suffering his first loss against Serio in the semifinals, Miller responded with a sharp second period fall of Hernandez to finish in third place. Quincy’s Eli Roberts posted a first- period fall of Hinsdale South’s Andrew Musil for the fifth-place medal.
157: Brody Kelly, IC Catholic Prep
Brody Kelly is ostensibly transformed from last season, bigger and more than 20 pounds heavier.
He has made a seamless adjustment.
“I grew some, and I put on a lot of weight,” he said. “During the offseason, I wrestled a lot against heavier guys, and guys bigger than me, so I was ready for this.”
Kelly outlasted Yorkville Christian’s Robby Nelson 8-2 in the championship match. He posted four falls through the first four rounds, and the most significant and stunning was his late second-period fall of West Aurora’s Noah Quintana.
Kelly overcame an early takedown by Quintana, and a second-period 4-3 deficit with a reversal that he brilliantly parlayed into turning Quintana on his back.
Nelson posted back-to-back falls to reach the championship mat. He posted the second- period fall of Wilmot’s Logan Defilippo.
Quintana responded to his first loss with the tough 4-1 decision over Defilippo for the third-place medal. In the fifth-place bracket, Richards’ Dom Paul posted the first period fall of Van Grasser of St. Patrick.
165: Owen Uppinghouse, Quincy
Quincy’s Owen Uppinghouse has the perfect name.
The space at Lakes was his own home, comfortable, assured and impossible to overcome. Uppinghouse put on a clinic, devastating the field with three first-period falls and a technical fall in the quarterfinal round.
He overwhelmed Joe Gliatta of IC Catholic Prep with a fall at 1:51 in the championship match.
“What worked great definitely was getting into my leg attacks, and wrestling smart,” he said. “Once I get on top, it’s pretty much over from there.”
By his own admission, Uppinghouse is unorthodox.
“I’m a little funky on my feet, but once I score first, I’m very dominant.”
Despite his loss, Gliatta was brilliant with four falls in the lead-up to the championship match. All four occurred during the first period, the most significant being his pin of Antioch’s Ben Vazquez in the semifinal round.
His first three matches took just 1:28, 0:59, and 1:07.
In the third-place match, Dayne Serio of West Aurora used a four-point reversal and near fall for a 4-2 victory over Vazquez. On the fifth-place mat, Mundelein’s Mac Rastrelli captured a major decision over Ian Kreske of Peotone.
175: Bryor Newbold, Quincy
Quincy’s Bryor Newbold is a magician on his feet.
“I really love to go out there, and work on my takedowns,” he said.
Newbold utilized his talent to mesmerizing effect, with four takedowns over Hinsdale South’s Jovanni Piazza for a 9-3 decision in the championship final.
“I worked on it very hard the whole summer,” Newbold said. “I used to struggle, but now I am really confident on my feet. You have to be able to ride guys, but takedowns are the name of the game. If you can take kids down, let them up, and then take them down again, you’re going to win every match.”
Piazza proved the only significant challenge against the skilled and dynamic Newbold. Newbold posted four falls in reaching the championship match, and none of those matches went past the second period.
He defeated Richards’ Mike Tahenet in the semifinals.
Piazza was his near equal in his half of the bracket, with three falls and a tight 4-1 decision over Normal West’s Gus Schreiber in the semifinal.
In the third-place match, Schreiber pulled out a 7-4 decision over Tahenet. St. Patrick’s Devin Nichol posted the 10-3 decision over Austin Gonzalez of Lakes on the fifth-place mat.
190: Foley Calcagno, IC Catholic Prep
The Calcagno brothers sealed the team championship for IC Catholic Prep with back-to-back victories over Marmion wrestlers.
In a showdown of elite sophomores, Foley Calcagno outmaneuvered Marmion’s Vincenzo Testa for a 9-5 decision in the championship.
“I have always practiced and wrestled against bigger, older guys, and that has allowed me to be successful,” Foley Calcagno said. “It’s a mind thing. You just have to free yourself, and wrestle your style. I like to keep a lot of upper body, but I am also really good at shooting. I’ve gotten way better at that.”
Calcagno posted four falls in the lead up to the championship match, and none of his first four matches went past the second period. He defeated New Trier’s Bailey Cornelison by fall in the semifinal round.
Testa posted two falls and a major decision in reaching the championship round. His most impressive performance was a 15-1 major over Hinsdale South’s Alec Miller in the semifinal round.
Miller overcame his semifinal loss with a decisive third-period fall of Cornelison in finishing third. In the fifth-place match, Woodstock’s Zach Canaday beat Yorkville Christian’s Hayden Wheeler by 4-0 decision.
215: Michael Calcagno, IC Catholic Prep
Michael Calcagno put on a show-stopping performance, earning a special distinction for the highest number of falls (five) in the least amount of time.
He stunned Marmion standout Joey Favia with a fall at 1:04 of the championship match. None of Calcagno’s five matches moved past the second period.
“I just like working on underhooks, and getting my opponent off balance,” he said. “In the championship, I just felt his pressure, and I worked that against him. I took him where he wanted to go.”
Despite his championship loss, Favia was spectacular through the first four rounds with four falls.
Drumke responded to his semifinal loss with a late first-period fall of St. Patrick’s Aiden Gomez in taking third place. Andrew Ryan of Woodstock posted a first-period fall of Antioch’s Owen Shea to finish in fifth place.
285: Todd Smith, Quincy
Quincy’s Todd Smith is not a traditional heavyweight.
“My style has changed a lot, and this year I’m starting to shoot more, and do more lightweight things,” he said.“My style is not really normal for this weight class, and people aren’t ready for it.”
Smith completed a standout tournament with the 9-4 decision over Normal West’s Matt Hanold for the tournament championship. Smith’s elite combination of size, power and unorthodox movements turned the rest of the field on its literal back.
He posted three falls leading up to a riveting semifinal showdown with Mundelein’s Abisai Hernandez. Smith escaped Hernandez for the 5-3 sudden victory, setting the stage for the final.
Hanold had two falls and a victory by injury default to reach the semifinal round. He continued his run with a comeback and a third-period fall of Marmion’s Mateusz Nycz.
Hernandez captured third place with a late fall of Nycz. Yorkville Christian’s Garrett Tunnell posted a first-period fall of Hillcrest’s Jazarri Jackson in the fifth-place match.
Championship match breakdowns:
106–Danny Goodwin (St. Patrick) D TB-1 2-0 Logan Conover (Marmion)
113–Aiden Larsen (Yorkville Christian) F 1:01 Hugh Sharrow (Quincy)
120–Nichocas Garcia (Marmion) D SV-1 6-4 Co’ji Campbell (St. Joseph Catholic Academy, WI)
126–Deven Casey (IC Catholic Prep) F 3:03 Matthew Lucansky (Carmel)
132–Ty Edwards (Yorkville Christian) D 7-0 Edgar Albino (Antioch)
138–Zach Stewart (Marmion) MD 18-6 Omar Samayoa (IC Catholic Prep)
144–Ashton Hobson (Marmion) D 7-3 Joel Sullivan (Wilmot Union, WI)
150–Dominic Serio (West Aurora) MD 18-9 Patrick Mullen (IC Catholic Prep)
157–Brody Kelly (IC Catholic Prep) D 8-2 Robby Nelson (Yorkville Christian)
165–Owen Uppinghouse (Quincy) F 1:51 Joe Gliatta (IC Catholic Prep)
175–Bryor Newbold (Quincy) D 9-3 Jovani Piazza (Hinsdale South)
190–Foley Calcagno (IC Catholic Prep) D 9-5 Vincenzo Testa (Marmion)
215–Michael Calcagno (IC Catholic Prep) F 1:04 Joey Favia (Marmion)
285–Todd Smith (Quincy) D 9-4 Matt Hanold (Normal West)