Mundelein captures Marchese title at Hoffman Estates

By Gary Larsen for the IWCOA

Every scoring wrestler for Mundelein who posted any team points whatsoever was obviously vital to the Mustangs’ winning their second consecutive team title at Hoffman Estates’ Mickey Marchese Memorial tournament.

But it was Mundelein’s Celso Cabrera and Abisai Hernandez who provided some late high-drama moments and pivotal bonus points to clinch the Mustangs’ 178.5-175 win over second-place Notre Dame on Saturday.

Cabrera trailed in his title match at 215 before winning by fall, and Hernandez similarly won by fall on the fifth-place mat at 285, giving Mundelein the  tournament team title by a nose.

And where high drama is concerned, it was Cabrera’s come-from-behind fall that loomed largest.

“I think we were behind before (Cabrera’s) match and I think he was the one who officially won it for us,” Mundelein coach Craig Stocker said. “He wrestled his (backside) off for us today.

“We only brought ten guys so we knew it was going to be an uphill battle. Last year we won this tournament and we’ve got a better team this year so I told them if they all came to wrestle, we’d be in a good spot to repeat. And they did. Every single kid got us at least one win and we had eight placers. They got it done.”

Cabrera likes what he’s seeing from this year’s Mustangs.

“We lost some key people from last year but this team is strong,” Cabrera said. “Some of us from last year have gotten better and this year will be a lot better than last year. We’re more experienced and more unified because we’re going through all of it together.”

Homewood-Flossmoor (159.5) finished third in the 17-team tournament, followed by Lane Tech (151) and Stagg (121.5) to round out the top five team finishes.

Mundelein had three individual champions on the day in Ethan Banda (138), Kevin Hernandez (150), and Cabrera (215), plus second-place finishes from Ethan Thomas (157) and Macson Rastrelli (165). 

Banda garnered the most team points for the Mustangs with 28; Kevin Hernandez and Cabrera had 26 team points apiece; and Thomas and Rastrelli posted 24 points apiece for the team.

Pedro Becerra (120) placed third for Mundelein, while Neftali Cernas (113) was fourth and Abisai Hernandez (285) was fifth.

Second-place Notre Dame had six second-place finishers in Ray Long (106), John Sheehy (113), Tim Bridges (144), Sean Adams (175), Jack Malenock (190) and Scott Cook (285). The Dons also got a third from Sean Cook (215) and fifths from John Greifelt (120) and Dean Lazaris (157) for coach Anthony Genovesi.

Third-place Homewood-Flossmoor was led by individual champion Davion Henry (106) and runner-up Khamryn Beaver (215). The Vikings also got thirds from Diondre Henry (113), Brian Ingram (144), and Ian Lawrence (150) for coach Jim Sokoloski.

For the tournament, the most pins in the least time came from Thornton-Fractional North’s Joseph Merritt (157), who had four pins in 3:46. Cary-Grove’s Noah Pechotte’s two tech falls in 7:58 at 157 were the most tech falls in the least time.

Carmel Catholic’s Tony Hinojosa (144) finished with the most team points scored by any wrestler with 29.5; Wheeling’s Alex Nesterenko (132) scored the most points in a single match with 24; and Homewood-Flossmoor’s Brian Ingram (144) scored the most total match points of any wrestler present with 60.

The former Hawk Invite was renamed in 2013 for former Hoffman Estates wrestler and assistant coach Mickey Marchese, who passed away that year. As a wrestler, Marchese was twice a state runner-up for the Hawks in 1985 and ’86 before wrestling collegiately at Illinois State. 

Marchese then spent more than 20 years giving back to the sport as a coach, both at the youth level and as an assistant coach at Hoffman Estates.

Mickey Marchese Memorial tournament championship match breakdowns:

106 – Davion Henry, Homewood-Flossmoor

The first title match of the finals may well have been the most thrilling and dramatic, when H-F junior Davion Henry (8-1) and Notre Dame freshman Ray Long (11-2) squared off at 106. 

Each wrestler posted a pair of takedowns, fifth-seeded Henry twice fought through injury time, and the match ended in a 7-7 tie after three periods. Henry earned a takedown with one second left in overtime to snare a 9-7 decision win over third-seeded Long.

Henry had to dig deep to beat Long, and he pulled it off.

“It was a tough match because I was going into the match cramping, but I wasn’t letting anything stop me because I came here to win it,” Henry said. “I’ve been working hard. My coaches make me work hard so I had to keep pushing through it.”

The late winning takedown was just what the doctor ordered for Henry.

“I knew I had the single. I couldn’t dump it so I got to the upper leg and finished it,” Henry said. “I’m happy with the way I pushed through injury and that I’m working hard.”

Wheeling’s David Perez captured third place with an 8-5 decision over Lane Tech’s Evan Coles, and Wheeling’s Frankie Katz won a 6-4 decision for fifth place against Stagg’s Javier Corral.

113 – Alex Valentin, Lane Tech 

‘Never say never’ seemed to be the theme of the championship round, starting with Valentin’s stunning turn of fortune against Notre Dame’s John Sheehy.

Second-seeded Valentin (14-2) took a 3-2 lead with a takedown before top-seeded Sheehy (9-2) used a takedown and back points to grab a 10-3 lead after one period. Sheehy led 12-4 in the second when Valentin caught him in a bad position, reversed him, and pinned him for the win and the title at the 3:13 mark.

Chasing a big deficit in the match, Valentin stayed calm.

“I’m not thinking about winning and losing, I’m thinking about how I can get my next point, in the next moment,” Valentin said. “I just had to be confident in myself and what I can do.

“I still need to work on my neutral takedown defense — I was below my expectations today but I did so much off-season wrestling that when I got taken down (in the finals) I didn’t worry about it. I was just thinking about the next moment in the match.”

Valentin also sees good things ahead for a Lane Tech team that placed fourth on Saturday.

“My freshman year we were not really a team yet but now the team is compact. When one of us is doing well the expectations now are for all of us to do well.”

Homewood-Flossmoor’s Diondre Henry won a major decision for third place against Mundelein’s Neftali Cernas, and Harlem’s Justin Lewis won by fall for fifth against Cary-Grove’s Peter Hayden.

120 – Aiden Villar, Plainfield East

Second-seeded Villar (3-0) won by fall for the title at the 5:56 mark against eighth-seeded Anas Ahmed (9-3). Villar won a 7-4 decision in his semifinal match against Notre Dame’s John Greifelt, while Ahmed won by fall in his quarterfinal match against top-seeded Pedro Becerra of Mundelein and then won by fall to reach the finals.

Becerra took third place via 12-9 decision against Homewood-Flossmoor’s Roan Dukes, and Greifelt won by major decision for fifth against Maine West’s Logan Battersby.

126 – Robert James Zavala, Lane Tech

Second-seeded Zavala (16-2) posted a pair of takedowns and back points before winning by fall for the title against top-seeded Max Katz (11-2) of Wheeling.

Zavala posted a pin before winning a 13-7 semifinal decision against Carmel’s Matthew Lucansky, while Katz won by first-period fall in his semifinal against Plainfield East’s Nick Polzin.

Lucansky won by fall on the third-place mat against Polzin, and Thornton-Fractional North’s Tamilore Ogundeyi won by fall for fifth place against Cary-Grove’s Ignacio Santander.

132 – Alazar Eyob, Hoffman Estates

There’s a change that comes over a wrestler when he goes from an underclassmen with little experience to an upperclassmen committed to the sport.

“It’s my mentality,” Eyob said after winning a Marchese title at 132. “I used to get scared walking in against certain guys but now I’ve wrestled just as much as they have, I’ve seen them at their worst, and now I know I can beat them at their best.”

Fourth-seeded Eyob (14-3) won by fall over Harlem’s third-seeded Izayah Olejniczak (8-2) to win his title. Eyob had a takedown in each of the first two periods to lead 4-2. He escaped to start the third, posted another takedown off an Olejniczak shot, then turned him for the fall at 5:03.

Eyob opened his tournament with a 7-3 decision and won 8-6 over Plainfield East’s top-seeded Cam McCloskey in their semifinal match to reach the finals.

And one year after ending his junior season with a sub-.500 record, Eyob landed on a recipe that has made him better.

“After my sophomore year I thought lifting was the missing piece but it turns out it was wrestling that I needed,” Eyob said. “So this offseason I wrestled at Gomez RTC and wrestled freestyle and Greco all year. I had 45 (offseason) matches where I only had three or four previously in the offseason.”

Olejniczak pinned second-seeded Alex Nesterenko of Wheeling in their semifinal match to reach the title mat. McCloskey won an 8-2 decision on the third-place mat against Stagg’s Samer Suleiman, and Lane Tech’s Larry Posey won by fall for fifth place against Nesterenko.

138 – Ethan Banda, Mundelein

The top two seeds at 138 found each other on the title mat, and second-seeded Banda (12-3) did his part to help Mundelein to the team title with a hard-fought 10-9 decision over Lane Tech’s top seeded Nasser Hammouche (14-4). 

Banda led 10-5 before Hammouche earned a takedown and two near-fall points, cutting Banda’s lead to 10-9. The match ended with Hammouche trying to turn him but Banda fought it off. Both wrestlers pinned their way to the finals.

Cary-Grove’s Trenton Klapperich took third place via major decision against Wheeling’s Austin Berger, and Harlem’s Ethan Hagerman finished fifth with a 9-2 decision against Hoffman Estates’ David Ogunfowokan.

144 – Tony Hinojosa, Carmel Catholic

Third-seeded Hinojosa dominated his way to the title at 144, posting pins in his quarter- and semifinal matches before winning by tech fall on the title mat against Notre Dame’s fifth-seeded Tim Bridges (11-4) at the 3:39 mark.

“I felt good today,” Hinojosa said. “I’ve been working all week to get better and better so I could be here.”

Hinojosa went 29-18 as a freshman last year and was a state qualifier at 132. Now 10-1 as a varsity sophomore, he rode opponents well all day. “Last year I was pretty good on top and I feel like this year I’ve taken it a step higher,” he said. “My handfighting still has to get better and so does getting off bottom. But I’m getting good experience because wrestling high school is a whole other level.”

Bridges reached the finals with a 10-6 semifinal upset of Rolling Meadows’ top-seeded Jacob Martone. Bridges also posted wins by tech fall and fall on his way to the finals.

Homewood-Flossmoor’s Brian Ingram placed third via tech fall win against Martone, and Lane Tech’s Cesar Mucha won by injury default for fifth place against Maine West’s Dylan Kroschel.

150 – Kevin Hernandez, Mundelein

Hernandez (13-2) confirmed his top seed at 150 with a 7-2 win in the finals against host Hoffman Estates’ Dmytro Patykovskyi (8-6). Hernandez was the second of Mundelein’s three champions on the day. He won by fall in his quarterfinal before winning by medical forfeit in his semifinal match. 

Seventh-seeded Patykovskyi upset Wheeling’s second-seeded Nicholas Montesinos by 3-2 decision in their quarterfinal match before winning 9-2 in his semifinal against third-seeded Juan Cortez of Streamwood.

Homewood-Flossmoor’s Ian Lawrence won an 8-6 decision on the third-place mat against Montesinos, and Streamwood’s Juan Cortez took fifth by forfeit against Lane Tech’s Vermaat VanderBrug.

157 – Niko Duggan, Plainfield East

Top-seeded Duggan and second-seeded Ethan Thomas of Mundelein each did his part to see that the top two seeds met in the finals, and it was Duggan who walked away with a 12-6 decision win.

Duggan (15-1) led 6-4 when he reversed Thomas (6-3) to take an 8-4 third-period lead, and never looked back. Duggan posted two more takedowns from there to secure the win.

When did he feel comfortable against Thomas as he felt him out in the finals?

“The first takedown,” Duggan said. “Once you get physical with a guy you can pretty much tell how the match is going to go.”

Duggan won 6-2 in his semifinal match against fourth-seeded Noah Pechotte (16-2) of Cary-Grove, while Thomas reeled off three pins to reach the title mat.

Duggan lost in the sectional blood round to end his junior season and in his senior year he naturally wants to end the season on the podium in Champaign. He’s working hard to make that happen.

“I feel like I’m working my (offense) better and faster,” Duggan said. “I’ve been wrestling my whole life but you can always keep practicing to do things better and faster. And I want to improve on top, and be able to hold down people for longer.”

Pechotte won by fall on the third-place mat against Thornton-Fractional North’s Joseph Merritt, and Notre Dame’s Dean Lazaris won an 8-3 decision for fifth place against Wheeling’s John Scanlon.

165 – Jerry Nino, Plainfield East

Plainfield East’s No. 1 Jerry Nino (11-4) and Mundelein’s No. 2 Macson Rastrelli (12-4) both pinned their ways to the finals, where Nino turned a 3-2 lead after two periods into an 11-4 win for the title.

Rastrelli tied the match 3-3 with an escape to start the third period but a takedown and back points by Nino catapulted him to the win.

Stagg’s Owen Lally took third place by fall against Maine West’s Miles Pfaller, and Harlem’s Charles Faulkner placed fifth with a fall against Lane Tech’s Michael Birhala.

175 – John (Jack) Rappa, Rolling Meadows

Nothing tosses a shovelful of coal into the blast furnace of motivation quite like a loss. Coming off his first loss of the season in dual meet on Friday, Rappa (11-1) used a pair of pins to reach the Marchese finals at 175, then won 6-1 on the title mat against No. 3 Sean Adams (10-4) of Notre Dame.

Rappa earned takedowns in the final 30 seconds of the first and third periods in securing the win.

“My coach always tells me to go as hard as I can the last thirty seconds of a period. It’s not easy but it pays off,” Rappa said. “I was happy with my mentality today. We had a dual Friday at Prospect and I got pinned, but today I came back and got the wins I needed.”

The sophomore put more time into off-season wrestling and it’s paying off.

“I went to frosh-soph state and then put in the work in the offseason,” Rappa said. “I got twenty-to-thirty matches in and now I feel more comfortable on my feet. Last year I was constantly on defense and this year I feel more comfortable hitting moves.”

Adams used a fall and then a 3-1 decision win in a semifinal match against second-seeded Luke Bennett (12-6) of Cary-Grove.

Zion-Benton’s Tyson Poyer won a 3-2 decision for third place against Stagg’s Deyan Radev, and Streamwood’s Oliver Kozak placed fifth via fall against Bennett.

190 – Francisco Yilmez, Zion-Benton

Zion-Benton’s sixth-seeded junior Yilmez (8-3) burned a path to the finals with a pair of falls and a major decision, then won by fall for the championship at 190 over Notre Dame’s top-seeded Jack Malenock (9-6).

Yilmez trailed 6-2 when he took Malenock to his back and won by fall at 3:32.

Malenock used a pair of pins while Yilmez posted two pins and a major decision win to reach the finals.

“Today I felt good about my shots,” Yilmez said. “I feel good on top and bottom, but it’s all about taking guys down. And it’s a mindset; you can’t hesitate. If you do, it’s going to be a horrible shot.”

Streamwood’s Jace Wolf won by fall on the third-place mat against Homewood-Flossmoor’s Tyreese Whitcomb, and Rolling Meadows’ Nick Labbe won by fall for fifth place against Stagg’s Peter Rafacz.

215 – Celso Cabrera, Mundelein

Adversity both builds and reveals character and the Mundelein sophomore showed his character against Homewood-Flossmoor’s Khamryn Beaver in their title match at 215.

Trailing 7-3 early in the second period, Cabrera stunned Beaver, taking him to his back and pinning him at 2:37 to win his first Marchese title.

“The key in that match was not giving up because my (semifinal) round was also tough,” Cabrera said. “It went all the way to the ultimate tiebreak.”

Third-seeded Cabrera won 3-2 in OT in his semifinal against second-seeded Marco Mercado (11-3) of Wheeling, “and I had come so far, I couldn’t end it now. I had to keep powering and win (the title),” Cabrera said.

Cabrera (7-7) opened his tournament with a fall before gutting out his win over Mercado. Beaver (7-2) reeled off three pins to reach the title mat.

“I feel like I did well in not giving up,” Cabrera said. “It’s just knowing the situation but also knowing that you’re never out of it. Anything can happen in two minutes.”

Notre Dame’s Sean Cook won by fall for third place against Harlem’s Cully Nelson, and Wheeling’s Mercado took fifth place by fall against Carmel Catholic’s Axel Janicke-Anorve.

285 – Abdulhamid Olowu, Hoffman Estates

Third-seeded Olowu (16-1) opened with a 4-0 decision before winning by fall in his semifinal match against Stagg’s seventh-seeded Terrell Williams (6-4) to reach the finals. Fourth-seeded Cook won a 3-2 decision in his semifinal against top-seeded Abisai Hernandez (11-3) of Mundelein to advance.

A single escape by Olowu provided all the scoring in the title match as the Hoffman Estates senior posted a 1-0 decision win.

Cary-Grove’s Lucas Burton won by fall on the third-place mat against Stagg’s Williams, and Mundelein’s Hernandez won by fall for fifth place against Homewood-Flossmoor’s Adam Tovar; Hernandez’s pivotal bonus points added to Mundelein’s team total to help the Mustangs edge Notre Dame for the team title.

Mickey Marchese championship match results:

106 – Davion Henry (H-Flossmoor) SV-1 9-7 Ray Long (Notre Dame)

113 – Alex Valentin (Lane Tech) F 3:13 John Sheehy (Notre Dame)

120 – Aiden Villar (Plainfield E) F 5:56 Anas Ahmed (Stagg)

126 – Robert James Zavala (Lane Tech) F 1:33 Max Katz (Wheeling)

132 – Alazar Eyob (Hoffman Estates) F 5:03 Izayah Olejniczak (Harlem)

138 – Ethan Banda (Mundelein) D 10-9 Nasser Hammouche (Lane Tech)

144 – Tony Hinojosa (Carmel) TF 3:39 Tim Bridges (Notre Dame)

150 – Kevin Hernandez (Mundelein) D 7-2 Dmytro Patykovskyi (H-Flossmoor)

157 – Niko Duggan (Plainfield E) D 12-6 Ethan Thomas (Mundelein)

165 – Jerry Nino (Plainfield E) D 11-4 Macson Rastrelli (Mundelein)

175 – Jack Rappa (Rolling Meadows) D 6-1 Sean Adams (Notre Dame)

190 – Francisco Yilmez (Zion-Benton) F 3:32 John Malenock (Notre Dame)

215 – Celso Cabrera (Mundelein) F 2:37 Khamryn Beaver (H-Flossmoor)

285 – Abdulhamid Olowu (Hoffman E) D 1-0 Scott Cook (Notre Dame)

Final team scores: 1. Mundelein (178.5) 2. Notre Dame (175) 3. Homewood-Flossmoor (159.5) 4. Lane Tech (151) 5. Stagg (121.5) 6. Wheeling (120) 7. Plainfield East (115) 8. Harlem (106) 9. Cary-Grove (93) 10. Carmel (78) 11. Hoffman Estates (77) 12. Streamwood (72) 13. Rolling Meadows (69) 14. Zion-Benton (57) 15. Thornton Fractional North (43) 16. Maine West (36.5) 17. Kenosha Christian Life, WI (3)

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