Mount Carmel qualifies 13 from Class 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional

By Chris Walker – for the IWCOA

Mount Carmel’s Seth Mendoza (126), Evan Stanley (132), Edmund Enright (157) and Colin Kelly (175) followed their regional titles a week ago with sectional titles during Saturday’s Class 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional.

They punched their ticket to state along with teammates Justin Williamson (113), Jairo Acuna (144), Rylan Breen (190), William Jacobson (215) and Alex Poholik (285) who took second place. Kavel Moore (106) and Liam Kelly (150) finished with victories on the third-place mat while Damian Resendez (138) and Kevin Kalchbrenner (165) fell short in their respective third-place matches, but all of them qualified for coach Alex Tsirtsis’ Caravan, who will send 13 individuals to the IHSA Class 3A Individual Finals at the State Farm Center in Champaign, which runs from Thursday through Saturday. Last year, Mount Carmel had 10 state qualifiers.

Marist advanced eight wrestlers to the state finals behind Donavon Allen (138), Will Denny (150) and Conor Phelan (190), who won titles. Michael Esteban (126) and Ethan Sonne (132) took second, George Marinopoulos (120) and Ricky Ericksen (175) placed third and Tommy Fidler (113) took fourth for coach Brendan Heffernan’s RedHawks.

Marmion Academy’s Nicholas Garcia (113) and Joey Favia (215) led the Cadets with sectional championships. Logan Conover (106) and Zach Stewart (138) finished second while Donny Pigoni (126) and Ashton Hobson (144) won their third-place matches and Mateuz Nycz (285) took fourth place. All told, the Cadets, who are coached by Anthony Cirrincione and Nathan Fitzenreider, will send seven individuals to Champaign.

West Aurora didn’t come away with any sectional titles, but five of its individuals advanced to state. Dominic Serio (150) and Noah Quintana (157) placed second, Dayne Serio (165) was third and Aiden Massaro (120) and Evan Matkovich (126) took fourth.

Carl Sandburg matched the Blackhawks with five state qualifiers, led by champion Rocco Hayes (106). Madden Parker (120) took second, Ryan Hinger (138) was third and Brady Ritter (132) and Zac Ritter (150) were fourth.

Naperville Central, the DuPage Valley Conference champs, didn’t have any sectional champs either, but will send four Redhawks to state. Christopher Bern (157) and William Erbeck (285) won their third place matches while Hagan Taylor (144) and Nicolas Besteiro (215) each took fourth place.

Batavia matched the Redhawks with four state qualifiers as Ino Garcia (120) and Aidan Huck (144) earned championships to lead the way. Asher Sheldon (215) was third and Ben Brown (190) took fourth.

Downers Grove South’s Matt Lapacek (190) took third and RJ Samuels (175) was fourth while Glenbard West’s Collin Carrigan picked up his 42nd victory on the season to earn the title at 165 while his teammate Tony Shadid (157) took fourth.

A handful of teams were fortunate to escape Hinsdale with at least one state qualifier.

Lyons Township’s Gunnar Garelli (165) and Wheaton Warrenville South’s Sedeeq Al Obaidi (175) each took second, Stagg’s Jaime Corral (113) and Naperville North’s Tyler Sternstein both placed third and Glenbard East’s Waleed Binmahfooz (106) finished in fourth.

Argo, Bolingbrook, Curie Metropolitan, Downers Grove North, East Aurora, Hubbard, Kennedy, J. Sterling Morton, Neuqua Valley, Oak Lawn, Reavis, Thornton, Waubonsie Valley and Willowbrook also had wrestlers that competed in the sectional.

Carl Sandburg’s Rocco Hayes (44-1) dominated like few others at Hinsdale Central, pinning all three opponents he faced and each in shorter time than the last, including his win by fall at 0:30 against Marmion Academy freshman Logan Conovoer (29-14) in the 106 title match.

106 – Rocco Hayes, Carl Sandburg

“I’m just happy with all my training that I was able to have,” Hayes said. “I got prepared really well for this but the job is not done. I have more work to do.”

That work is pointing towards a possible state title. Hayes, a junior, took third at 106 last year and has gotten better.

“Getting to my offense is really important and I’m really good at what I do and it really helped me throughout this tournament,” he said. “I’ve become (offense oriented) this year and gotten into more positions where I wasn’t able to (last year) and I’m a lot better now and I have better coaches and partners who push me everyday.”

Mount Carmel junior Kavel Moore (21-11), one of five wrestlers from his team to advance to state by advancing to the third-place mat, finished with an 11-1 major decision victory over Glenbard East senior Waleed Binmahfooz (38-9).

113 – Nicholas Garcia, Marmion Academy

Marmion Academy sophomore Nicholas Garcia (41-7) had a difficult time getting into his offense against Mount Carmel freshman Justin Williamson (29-9) but kept his poise and pulled out a 6-5 decision in the 113 championship match. Last year, Garcia placed fourth at 106 in the IHSA 3A Finals.

“He had a really good game plan going into it, trying to hold on the whole time,” Garcia said. “He had a great ride on top, turned me, it’s exactly what he wanted to do, so I have a lot of respect for that. I knew I had it in me. I just had to go out there and win so the pressure was on.”

Stagg senior Jaime Corral (28-8) won a 7-3 decision over Marist sophomore Tommy Fidler (27-13) to take third place. Corral’s finish was a big for him and his program as he’ll be the only Charger that’s competing at state this weekend.

120 – Ino Garcia, Batavia

Batavia senior Ino Garcia (24-5) earned a 9-1 decision against Carl Sandburg junior Madden Parker (40-6) to win the title at 120. He’ll be making his third state appearance.

“I just had to get on my offense,” Garcia said. “I knew I was good at defense and stuff like that. So if I get on my offense and score early I can usually put away a match like that.”

Garcia, who took sixth in the state last season at 113 in the Class 3A finals, believes he’s an ever better wrestler than he was a year ago.

“I think I’ve grown the most on my feet,” he said. “I like to think I’ve grown in everything, but I’m not sure if that’s 100 percent. Either way I know I’ve gotten better and I put in a lot of time and effort.”

After wins by fall and decision to win the Glenbard West regional, Garcia picked up three victories to win the sectional. Tough battles prior to the postseason helped prepare Garcia for a state run. He placed second in the DuKane Conference, losing to Glenbard North’s Kalani Khiev. He took third in Batavia’s Arlis Invite after dropping a match in the semifinals to Marmion Academy’s Nicholas Garcia, who won the sectional title at 113.

“In those other tournaments and stuff against really tough opponents pushed me to get better,” Garcia said. “It put me in position so I could take first place.”

Marist junior George Marinopoulos (35-7), who fell one win shy of a medal at 106 a year ago at state, scored a 15-1 major decision victory against West Aurora senior Aiden Massaro (32-13) on the third-place mat.

126 – Seth Mendoza, Mount Carmel

Improving to 38-2 on the year, Mount Carmel junior Seth Mendoza is now looking for a third-straight state title after winning by technical fall in 4:24 over Marist junior Michael Esteban in the 126 sectional finals. Mendoza was the IHSA 113 champion last season after taking first place at 106 in 2022. Esteban (32-8) placed sixth at state at 113 in 2022.

Marmion Academy senior Donny Pigoni (30-12), who fell one win shy of state medals in both 2023 

and 2022, pinned West Aurora sophomore Evan Matkovich (34-9) in 1:12 to win third place at 126.

132 – Evan Stanley, Mount Carmel

As much as he loves his two older sisters, Mount Carmel freshman Evan Stanley is equally thankful for the pestering he absorbed growing up around them which helped mold him into the tough, successful wrestler he is today.

Stanley (33-5) defeated another freshman in the 132 finals, earning a 7-2 decision over Marist’s Ethan Sonne (21-15).

“I got into wrestling when I was four years old and I was really hyper and didn’t have any older brothers or cousins who were boys, just had two older sisters (Leia and Haven) who beat up on me a lot,” he said. “And my parents got me into wrestling because I was hyper and it seemed like I would like it.”

He’s remains committed to the sport since he started.

“I’ve never taken a year off,” he said. “Never taken a month off unless for surgery or a broken bone.”

He suffered his last broken bone several years ago against St. Charles East’s Ben Davino who is vying to become a four-time state champion.

“Ben Davino broke my collarbone when I was seven or eight years old,” he said.  “It’s been a long time since we wrestled, and me and him have talked (since),” he said. “It’s raised a little bit (the left collarbone), it’s never been the same.”

Despite being a newcomer on a team loaded with talent, Stanley hasn’t just shown he belongs, he knows he deserves this kind of success.

“I haven’t surprised myself, this has been the goal,” he said.”I work for it. I know I do, and whenever I feel like I underperform that’s when I hold my head even if it’s a win. And I was running after (the championship win) trying to do everything I can to be the best version of myself on and off the mat, and that’s pushing myself through everything, but also expecting a lot from myself throughout life and throughout wrestling.”

As an Indiana resident, Stanley hasn’t attended the IHSA state finals before. That’ll change real soon.

“Growing up, it’s been going to Indiana,” he said. “I’m an Indiana kid who ever since middle school factored in going to Mount Carmel. I always paid attention and I have friends who have wrestled at (the IHSA state finals) and I wrestled in the actual arena just for a fun match when I was younger, but going down there and competing is something I’m really looking forward to. I’m going to put in a lot of work this week, I’m getting right back at it at 8 a.m. tomorrow and the grind starts, the state run, the state push, it’s time now.”

Naperville North junior Tyler Sternstein (34-4) upended Carl Sandburg freshman Brady Ritter (31-12) with a 7-5 decision for third place at 132. Sternstein is the Huskies’ lone state qualifier.

138 – Donavon Allen, Marist

Donavon Allen (31-6) doesn’t mince words when he talks about where he hopes to end up at the end of his junior year at Marist.

“The goal for me is being on top of that podium this year,” he said. “I fell short the two previous years so I want to be on the top of that podium. I feel like I definitely got better in my conditioning and my overall work ethic (from last year) so I feel ready to go.”

Last year Allen fell short of winning a sectional title, taking second place after losing by technical fall in the 132 finals.

He stayed focused and persevered to beat Marmion Academy sophomore Zach Stewart (26-8) 5-3 by sudden victory in the 138 title match.

“I really practice on that poise and my coaches help me stay focused during a match,” Allen said. “I try to stay focused through the whole six minutes locked in and battling. I don’t really buy into what’s going on in the match, I just wrestle my match.”

Carl Sandburg junior Ryan Hinger (41-4) earned a 10-1 major decision over Mount Carmel senior Damian Resendez (20-13) to capture third place at 138. A year ago in the IHSA Finals, Hinger fell one win shy of getting a medal at 132. Resendez took fifth at 120 in 2023 and was second at 113 in 2022. 

144 – Aidan Huck, Batavia

It was deja vu for Aidan Huck on Saturday almost a year to the day at the same place, Hinsdale Central.

A year ago, Batavia’s Huck survived Mount Carmel junior Jairo Acuna by sudden victory at 126 in the Hinsdale Central Sectional semifinals before falling in the finals.

On Saturday, Huck (40-5) met Acuna (29-11) in the 144 finals and earned a 5-3 decision to claim a sectional title in his senior season.

“This means a lot,” Huck said. “We came in with a plan and I held him down and got to my attack and ended up on top. That definitely worked for me. We got four guys in, the same as last year going down to state.”

Last year’s narrow win was definitely on Huck’s mind as he fought for a sectional title.

“This kid (Acuna) won against me last year in the semis,” Huck said. “I took him down by a point or two, and you know, he came in with a plan but I slowed him down and got to my attacks and ended up on top.”

Marmion Academy sophomore Ashton Hobson (36-8) won a 20-8 major decision against Naperville Central senior Hagan Taylor (29-9) for third place.

150 – Will Denny, Marist

In a final pairing of two juniors, Marist’s Will Denny (38-4) earned a 15-4 major decision over West Aurora’s Dominic Serio (29-2) in the 150 title match. A year ago, they both advanced to state at 145 and Denny took fourth place while Serio fell one win shy of a medal.

Mount Carmel sophomore Liam Kelly (28-11), who fell one win shy of a medal at 138 last year at state, was able to get past Carl Sandburg senior Zac Ritter (42-11) by a 3-2 decision to win the third-place match at 150.

157 – Edmund Enright, Mount Carmel

Mount Carmel senior Edmund Enright, who finished second to West Chicago’s Nolan Allen in the IHSA Finals at 152 last season, will now try to win a state title at 157. Enright (36-3) won the sectional title at 157 with a 5-0 decision over West Aurora senior Noah Quintana (28-6). 

Naperville Central senior Christopher Bern (29-9) gained some momentum as he heads to state after winning a 5-1 decision over Glenbard West senior Tony Shadid (25-13) in the third-place match at 157.

165 – Collin Carrigan, Glenbard West

It’s hard to imagine Glenbard West’s Collin Carrigan and Lyons Township’s Gunnar Garelli as fourth graders joking around about a future where the two battled for a sectional wrestling title as high school seniors, but that’s exactly where the two met up again on Saturday.

“I transferred to Glenbard West for my senior year so I’ve known (Garelli), we went to the same club since fourth grade so I’ve wrestled this kid forever,” Carrigan said. “It’s funny that senior year worked out like this. I’ve seen him already two times and this was the third time. It’s a cool rivalry.”

Carrigan (42-1) beat Garelli (44-2) by a 5-3 decision in the 165 title match. A year ago at state, Garelli took fourth place at 160 while Carrigan, competing for Marmion Academy, lost in the 152 quarterfinals and failed to win a medal after placing fifth at 152 in 2022.

“Getting that early score was good and helped me win,” Carrigan said. “Being No. 1 or whatever doesn’t mean you can just cruise to a state title. They’re people gunning for you which makes me hungry.”

Rebounding from a loss by fall against Garelli in the semifinals, West Aurora sophomore Dayne Serio (34-5) earned an 8-3 decision over Mount Carmel junior Kevin Kalchbrenner (21-14) to take third place.

175 – Colin Kelly, Mount Carmel

Mount Carmel senior Colin Kelly (39-1) appears to be ready to battle for another state title after earning a 19-7 major decision against Wheaton Warrenville South senior Sedeeq Al Obaidi (37-3) in the 175 championship match. 

Last year, Kelly finished second at state following a 3-2 loss to McHenry’s unbeaten Chris Moore in the 170 finals. In 2022, he won the 160 championship by handing Moore his first loss 3-1 in sudden victory. As a freshman in 2021, he took third at 160 in the IWCOA Finals. Meanwhile, Al Obaidi fell one win shy of a medal at 170 last year at state.

With Downers Grove South senior RJ Samuels (34-8) succumbing to injury at 1:58 in the third place match at 175, Marist junior Ricky Ericksen (28-10) finished his day with a win.

190 – Conor Phelan, Marist

Marist senior Conor Phelan has good reason to be passionate about the sport as he nears the end of his high school career. After taking third place at 182 a year ago to earn his first state medal, he heads into this weekend’s IHSA Finals on a high note after recording a fall in 2:32 in the 190 title match over Mount Carmel senior Rylan Breen, who is a two-time state medalist.

“I knew I was going to have a lot of good matches against really good wrestlers here,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. Skipping school to go wrestle some studs, that’s fun. I love it, I love it.”

Phelan (36-8) recalled taking a break from the sport while in elementary school, but the itch to return brought him right back. That’s not only been good for him, but for the sport.

“I’ve gone up and down with it (wrestling) throughout the years,” he said. “I quit when I was 10 and forgot about it over the summer and told my dad I need my wrestling shoes and that’s when I started to show some talent in the sport,” he said. “And I think last year at state, again there wasn’t anything left to qualify for anymore, it was just wrestling, and I wanted to just wrestle. And that’s when I started to fall in love with it again because I realized I have nothing to prove to anyone except myself and there’s no reason to do sports if you don’t enjoy it.”

Breen (26-8) took fifth place at state at 182 last season after finishing sixth at that weight in 2022.

“I’ve wrestled him twice before and twice it’s been really dynamic matches,” Phelan said. “He’s always trying to score and that’s a lot more fun to me than people who don’t like to try to win their matches and it’s 2-1, 1-0 matches. I hate that. I just knew it was going to be a fun match going in and I think that let me wrestle better a little bit.”

Winning is fun and Phelan is having a blast winning.

“I got two different people telling me it was a fun match, and honestly that was a better compliment to me than anything you could say,” he said. “I want to be dynamic when I wrestle. I do this sport because I love it and that was part of going into the match. I know it was for seeding points or whatever, but I already was in (for state) and he was already in (for state) so I just wanted to wrestle him again and have fun. My college situation is already figured out. I have nothing to prove to anyone. I’m really just here because I like to wrestle.”

Downers Grove South senior Matt Lapacek (26-4), who fell one win shy of a medal at 182 last year at state, handed Batavia senior Ben Brown (31-2) his second loss of the day, and of the season, with a 5-1 victory for third place at 190.

215 – Joey Favia, Marmion Academy

Marmion Academy’s Joey Favia (34-6) held on to defeat Mount Carmel senior William Jacobson (25-12) by a 3-2 decision for the 215 title. The sophomore has been fantastic all season long for the Cadets and now will try to reign supreme on the state’s biggest stage.

“It feels really good, I’m honored, I feel I took all the right steps to make it to state,” Favia said. “I’ve wrestled that kid before so I knew it was going to be a good match. I just have the best coaches in the corner and just know what I’m going to do so I was pretty confident going in. I mean, obviously, this is a really good sectional, you just got wrestle your match, wrestle like you can wrestle.”

Batavia junior Asher Sheldon (40-9) put his loss to Jacobson in the semifinals behind him and bounced back in a big and quick way with a win by fall in 1:17 over Naperville Central senior Nicolas Besteiro (27-5) to take third place at 215.

285 – Marko Ivanisevic, Hinsdale Central

Hinsdale Central senior Marko Ivanisevic (37-2) defeated Mount Carmel senior Alex Poholik (18-9) 3-0 to wrap up the sectional title at 285. Ivanisevic finished fifth at state at 220 in both 2023 and 2022. If he places again this year, he’ll join Brian Allen, Juwan Edmond, Jack Allen and Cody Tavoso as the only Red Devils who have been all-staters for three or more seasons.

Naperville Central junior William Erbeck (36-3) earned a 7-5 decision to defeat Marmion Academy junior Mateusz Nycz (27-20) to take third place at 285.

Class 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional Championship matches

106 – Rocco Hayes (Carl Sandburg) F 0:30 Logan Conover (Marmion Academy)

113 – Nicholas Garcia (Marmion Academy) D 6-5 Justin Williamson (Mount Carmel)

120 – Ino Garcia (Batavia) MD 9-1 Madden Parker (Carl Sandburg)

126 – Seth Mendoza (Mount Carmel) TF 4:24 Michael Esteban (Marist)

132 – Evan Stanley (Mount Carmel) D 7-2 Ethan Sonne (Marist)

138 – Donavon Allen (Marist) SV 5-3 Zach Stewart (Marmion Academy)

144 – Aidan Huck (Batavia) D 5-3 Jairo Acuna (Mount Carmel)

150 – Will Denny (Marist) MD 15-4 Dominic Serio (West Aurora)

157 – Edmund Enright (Mount Carmel) D 5-0 Noah Quintana (West Aurora)

165 – Collin Carrigan (Glenbard West) D 5-3 Gunnar Garelli (Lyons Township)

175 – Colin Kelly (Mount Carmel) MD 19-7 Sedeeq Al Obaidi (Wheaton Warrenville South) 

190 – Conor Phelan (Marist) F 2:32 Rylan Breen (Mount Carmel)

215 – Joey Favia (Marmion Academy) D 3-2 William Jacobson (Mount Carmel)

285 – Marko Ivanisevic (Hinsdale Central) D 3-0 Alex Poholik (Mount Carmel)

Class 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional Third Place matches

106 – Kavel Moore (Mount Carmel) MD 11-1 Waleed Binmahfooz (Glenbard East)

113 – Jaime Corral (Stagg) D 7-3 Tommy Fidler (Marist)

120 – George Marinopoulos (Marist) MD 15-1 Aiden Massaro (West Aurora)

126 – Donny Pigoni (Marmion Academy) F 1:12 Evan Matkovich (West Aurora)

132 – Tyler Sternstein (Naperville North) D 7-5 Brady Ritter (Carl Sandburg)

138 – Ryan Hinger (Carl Sandburg) MD 10-1 Damian Resendez (Mount Carmel)

144 – Ashton Hobson (Marmion Academy) MD 20-8 Hagan Taylor (Naperville Central)

150 – Liam Kelly (Mount Carmel) D 3-2 Zac Ritter (Carl Sandburg)

157 – Christopher Bern (Naperville Central) D 5-1 Tony Shadid (Glenbard West)

165 – Dayne Serio (West Aurora) D 8-3 Kevin Kalchbrenner (Mount Carmel)

175 – Ricky Ericksen (Marist) Inj, 1:58 RJ Samuels (Downers Grove South)

190 – Matt Lapacek (Downers Grove South) D 5-1 Ben Brown (Batavia)

215 – Asher Sheldon (Batavia) F 1:17 Nicolas Besteiro (Naperville Central)

285 – William Erbeck (Naperville Central) D 7-5 Mateusz Nycz (Marmion Academy)

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