Notre Dame College Prep captures title at Niles West’s Porter Invite

By Bobby Narang – For the IWCOA

The sixth annual Robert E. Porter Invitational at Niles West turned out to be a memorable day with several champions spread across numerous schools. The meet, which took place in Skokie, included 26 teams from numerous regions of the state.

In the end, Notre Dame College Prep relied on a deep and talented squad to pull out the team title, finishing in first place with 370.5 points. DePaul Prep captured second place with 338.5 points, Elk Grove claimed third with 322 points, Normal West took fourth with 311 points and Wheaton Warrenville South snared fifth with 280 points.

The Dons notched the team title despite winning just two weight classes, as Ray Long won at 106 pounds and teammate John Sheeny claimed the 113-pound title.

Also for the champion Dons, Tim Bridges (144) claimed second place, John Greifelt (120) took fourth, Donovan Walsh (150), Sean Adams (175) and Jack Malenock (190) all finished fifth, Scott Cook (285) was sixth and Sean Cook (215) placed seventh.

“We really wanted to finish in a good spot,” Notre Dame coach Anthony Genovesi said. “We wanted to finish in the top five. That was the goal. We have set some high goals for the season, so it was good for the team to achieve it.

“Ray had a nice day. He has a big gas tank and wrestled really hard. He has big goals for this season. He just keeps coming on and doing really well. John was a state qualifier last year at 106 pounds. He’s a tough kid and also did very well. It was good to finish on top. We had a bunch of kids in the top seven. We only have three seniors. It’s been fun so far. We have some tough duals coming up, so it was good to see the team step up.”

Top performers for coach Patrick Heffernan’s runner-up Rams were title winners Johnny Cunningham (120) and Max Rosen (132) as well as runner-up Oliver Chapman (113).

Leading the way for coach Dan Vargas’ third-place Grenadiers were champions Grant Madl (126) and Mikey Milovich (285) in addition to second-place finishers Benny Schlosser (175) and Dylan Berkowitz (215).

Other Porter Invitational champions were Wheaton Warrenville South’s Cooper Hollis (138) and Sedeeq Al Obaidi (175), Normal West’s Evan Willock (157) and Gus Schreiber (190), Waubonsie Valley’s Ethan Wojtwich (144), Oswego East’s Noah DeMarco (150), Highland Park’s Dmitry Derbedyenyev (165) and Geneva’s Joseph Pettit (215).

Also claiming second-place finishes were Burlington Central’s Doug Phillips (132) and Henry Deering (138), Taft’s Bernardo Roque (106), Addison Trail’s Josh Amorn-Vichet (120), Bartlett’s Cameron Engels (126), Reavis’ Nicholas Gomez (150), Cary-Grove’s Noah Pechotta (157), Glenbrook North’s Shane Onixt (165), Normal West’s Matt Hanold (285) and Milwaukee Riverside University, WI’s Asr Clark (190).

Willock was the lone 2022 Porter Invitational champion that claimed first place on Saturday. Wojtwich had the most team points with 58 while Rosen was second with 57 and Al Obaidi and Schreiber tied for third with 56. Wojtwich had the most falls in the least time with five in 10:40 while Oswego East’s Josh Edwards had four in 3:26 and Al Obaidi led in match points with 76.

Host Niles West scored 108 points to finish in 22nd place, but coach Tony Petrusonis said his wrestlers took a step in the right direction in Saturday’s high-profile meet. The Wolves have yet to win their tournament, Petrusonis said.

“We’re trying to make this one of the best tournaments in the state,” Petrusonis said, while taking a break from the post-invite clean-up process. “We had a lot of good teams. Last year we had 22 teams, but this year we did 26 teams. Kids come in and everybody gets matches. It’s a great tournament. We have some great kids at Niles West. We just have to get better at wrestling all year long. We have some great kids that do all types of sports, which is great.”

Here’s a breakdown of the Porter Invitational champions and their weight classes

106 – Ray Long, Notre Dame College Prep

Notre Dame College Prep’s Ray Long is starting to make a name for himself. The freshman pulled out an impressive 11-9 decision over Taft sophomore Bernardo Roque to win the 106 title. Long (16-2) battled back from trailing in the first period to win his finals match.

“I just kept fighting and fighting until the end,” Long said. “It felt amazing to win. I would say that’s my best win of the year. I beat a pretty good kid. I’m going to see him multiple times. I’ve  been working hard and trying to stick to what I’m good at. I have the mindset that I’m going to win before every match.”

Jacobs’ Kristian Declercq won by fall over DePaul Prep’s Colin Bosak for third place while Geneva’s Sam Sikorsky pinned Normal West’s Jacob Payne for fifth place.

113 – John Sheehy, Notre Dame College Prep

The champion Dons continued their hot start behind a quality victory at 113 by John Sheehy. The junior pinned DePaul Prep’s Oliver Chapman in 1:24 to walk away with the championship.

“I feel pretty good about how I did,” Sheehy said. “I knew I would get a lot of matches going into it because I had a full bracket. I made sure to keep my timer on between matches because I could be wrestling every 30 minutes. I knew a couple of guys going into it. I knew I had to get to my offense and control the pace of every match. I was able to turn everyone on top pretty much.”

Sheehy, who is 15-2, said he’s been pleased with his progress this season.

“I feel my season is going good,” he said. “I had finished second in the last two tournaments, so it feels good to finish on top in this one.”

In the third-place match, Normal West junior Dylan McGrew notched a 12-2 major decision over Addison Trail’s Zion Martinez. Bartlett’s Emma Engels, who made history for her school in 2023 by winning the IHSA championship at 100, pinned Cary-Grove’s Peter Hayden for fifth place.

120 – Johnny Cunningham, DePaul Prep

DePaul Prep’s Johnny Cunningham took home the title in the 120-pound division with a forfeit victory over Addison Trail’s Josh Amorn-Vichet in the finals. “My season is going well because I have noticed my hard work is starting to pay off, even if I lose matches, I can walk away proud if I know I have given it 100 percent,” Cunningham said. “My goal for this season is to make it to state and hopefully perform well when I’m there.”

Normal West’s Abram Rader beat Notre Dame College Prep’s John Greifelt 6-3 for third place and Jacobs’ Ben Arbotante defeated Waubonsie Valley’s Nathan Duffield 11-1 for fifth.

126 – Grant Madl, Elk Grove

Elk Grove senior Grant Madl is racking up wins at a fast rate this season. Madl showed he’s attempting to make a run for the state podium with an impressive showing on Saturday, ending his long day with a victory by technical fall over Bartlett’s Cameron Engels in the 126 finals.

“The key for me was getting to my attacks,” Madl said. “The finals match was probably my toughest one. I was able to score a lot of points, but he was a stronger kid. It was difficult to get to my attack.”

Madl, who is 21-1, said he’s fueled by motivation, mainly due to losing in the blood rounds at sectionals in each of the last three seasons.

“Hopefully, this is the year I get over that hump,” Madl said. “I’m more confident, just knowing that I can compete with all these kids.”

Addison Trail senior Damian Valdez won a 14-3 major decision over DePaul Prep junior Nabiel Rosario for third place and Geneva’s Ben Deasy pinned Jacobs’ Carlos Aldaco for fifth.

132 – Max Rosen, DePaul Prep

Saturday’s meet was a big test for DePaul Prep’s Max Rosen, not just by the competition but also his new philosophy. The junior achieved his goal on both fronts, pinning Burlington Central’s Doug Phillips 3:56 to win the 132 finals.

“My finals match in this tourney was my best win this season,” Rosen said. “I kept pressure on him the whole match and worked him just the way I do in the practice room. The kid was good and I stuck to my game plan and worked my stuff.”

Rosen, who is 19-0, credited his solid start this season to a new attitude that’s helped him relax before and after matches.

“This season I’ve put way more focus into having fun, just with no pressure and going out and letting it fly,” Rosen said. “(Saturday) showed that. I went out and did what I trained to do. I’ve worked a ton with high-level guys in my room and in the offseason and that’s jumped my wrestling to a whole new level this year. I haven’t had many matches with top-level guys yet, but I’m looking forward to that in the next few weeks.

“This season is a whole different focus. The last few years I’ve put way too much pressure on results and I believe it’s hurt my wrestling. This year my goal for the season is to have fun every match and every practice and compete like I do in practice.”

Reavis senior Vladamir Vasquez won by fall over Geneva’s Andrew Wendt for third place and Jacobs senior Antuan Barfield took fifth by beating Grayslake Central’s Liam Halloran 14-2.

138 – Cooper Hollis, Wheaton Warrenville South

In a deep weight class full of quality competitors, Wheaton Warrenville South senior Cooper Hollis came out on top by pinning Burlington Central’s Henry Deering in 2:24 in the 138 finals.

“My goal for all of my matches was to go full-out and dominate every match that I wrestled,” Hollis said. “My toughest match was my semifinals against DePaul Prep (Drew Gerstung). Some of my key takeaways from that match were to never stop wrestling and always be active, try to score as many points as possible and be a smart wrestler in certain positions. I got into a dangerous position in the first period with a cradle and avoided that position throughout the rest of the match.”

Hollis, who is 14-5, said that Saturday’s meet was a big stepping-stone moment for him.

“I feel my season has definitely been my most dominant and successful so far,” he said. “I started off a little rough, losing my first couple of matches but corrected my mistakes in the wrestling room during practices and have since dominated almost every match. I’m feeling very confident about this season.”

For third place, Glenbrook North junior Aiden Fladeland pinned DePaul Prep’s Drew Gerstung while Oswego East’s Braeden Grisham won with a pin over Larkin’s Damari Miller in the fifth-place match.

144 – Ethan Wojtwich, Waubonsie Valley

Waubonsie Valley senior Ethan Wojtwich walked away with a first-place medal thanks to a fall in 2:51 over Notre Dame College Prep’s Tim Bridges in the 144-pound championship match.

Wojtwich said his preparation was the one of the reasons behind winning his weight class, especially in the fast-moving meet.

“The biggest thing that helped me was my mindset and how I prepared in between my matches,” he said. “I knew that they were going to go through the weights fast, so I would always be ready, keeping myself warm and making sure I ate an adequate amount of good food in between my matches.”

At 20-1, Wojtwich said his season is right on track for achieving his goals.

“I feel my season is going well so far,” he said. “I definitely want to keep going in that direction.”

Glenbrook North junior Ebin Fladeland recorded a 10-7 decision over DePaul Prep’s Hugh Costello for third place and Waukegan’s David Brown pinned Burlington Central’s Cole McGuire for fifth.

150 – Noah DeMarco, Oswego East

Oswego East senior Noah DeMarco stuck to his plan by pushing the pace to win the 150 title, defeating Reavis senior Nicholas Gomez with a fall 5:37 in the championship.

“I think coming out aggressive as though it’s my match was the key,” DeMarco said. “My toughest match was probably my last one. My opponent was quick and technical. It was fought hard and we took it into the third period. I learned that even if I give up points in a match, that I can always find opportunities to recover.”

DeMarco, who is 20-3, said Saturday’s tournament was a good confidence builder for him.

“I’ve had some rough losses but I’ve also had some good wins,” DeMarco said. “Those losses were good matches and provided opportunities to improve. I’m excited for what the season holds.”

Grayslake Central sophomore Warren Nash pinned Glenbrook North junior Ilan Ruderman in the third-place bout and Notre Dame College Prep junior Donovan Walsh posted an 8-4 decision over Grayslake Central’s Quentin Conkle for fifth.

157 – Evan Willock, Normal West

Normal West senior Evan Willock capped a big day with a 7-0 decision over Cary-Grove junior Noah Pechotta in the 157-pound title bout. Willock (11-0), who was the only individual to repeat as a champion in the tournament, placed sixth at 132 pounds in Class 2A last season.

“I made sure to stay in good position,” Willock said of the key to winning his weight class. “Wrestling these strong guys makes it easy to get caught in a bad situation. The guy I wrestled in the finals was strong, making it difficult to score points. But I learned how to keep the pressure on my opponent on top to insure he could not score on me.

Willock said he’s rounded into top shape after missing several matches due to an elbow injury.

“I’m feeling strong and I’m excited for the rest of the season,” he said. “

Addison Trail’s Martin Duarte pinned Niles West’s Ivan Gonzalez for the third-place medal. DePaul Prep junior Matthew Brendel also won with a pin over Elk Grove’s Anthony Macina in the fifth-place match.

165 – Dmitry Derbedyenyev, Highland Park

Highland Park senior Dmitry Derbedyenyev had a weekend to remember. He pinned Glenbrook North junior Shane Onixt in 0:59 to capture the 165-pound title. On Sunday, he officially committed to New York University.

“I think I did pretty good,” he said. “I was making mistakes early in my matches, but scored enough points to make up for them. I need to work on my bottom and need to do a better job getting on time for my matches. I was warming up at the last minute for my matches. I always want to wrestle better and am trying to peak around the state tournament. Last year I made it to state, but I could’ve wrestled better.”

Genoa-Kingston senior Brady Brewick had another solid weekend after winning his weight class at Richmond-Burton the previous week. He pinned Geneva’s Cam McGoarty for the third-place medal. And Wheaton Warrenville South’s Corey Gul won by fall over Milwaukee Riverside University, WI’s Imran Clark for fifth place.

175 – Sedeeq Al Obaidi, Wheaton Warrenville South

Five matches. Five victories.

Mission accomplished for Wheaton Warrenville South’s Sedeeq Al Obaidi. The senior defeated Elk Grove’s Benny Schlosser with a 19-7 major decision in the 175-pound title match.

“I feel I did pretty good, with having a total of five matches and a goal to win all in a dominant way,” Al Obaidi said. “I also ended up achieving some small goals that I had.”

Al Obaidi, who is 19-1, said the Niles West tournament was “my best meet because of the outcome of all my matches shows I was dominant throughout the whole tournament.”

Al Obaidi said his coaching and teammates have pushed him to excel this season.

“Thus far, I’m pleased with our hard-working environment, our great coaching staff and the support from everyone,” he said. “To achieve my goals, I just have to keep working hard, trusting the process and improving the small things every day.”

For third place, Glenbrook North senior Kieran O’Sullivan posted an 8-3 win over Highland Park’s Eli Moore and Notre Dame College Prep’s Sean Adams won by fall over Taft’s Steven Tantchev for fifth.

190 – Gus Schreiber, Normal West

Normal West senior Gus Schreiber capped off a prolific meet, and a long day, with a 10-8 victory by overtime tiebreaker over Milwaukee Riverside University, WI’s Asr Clark in the 190-pound championship match. Schreiber improved to 17-2 on the season.

“Obviously, I feel pretty good about how I did, as most people would if they won a tournament,” Schreiber said. “However, there were still mistakes on my end that made my last match go on longer than it should have and that could have cost me the match.”

With the holiday break just around the corner, along with several big meets, Schreiber said he’s focused on finishing his season on a high note.

“I’m pleased with how many pins I have already acquired since I’m sitting at 14 pins right now, which is already half of what I had last year,” Schreiber said. “My goal this year is to place in state. If I’m going to be able to do that, I have to be able to outpace and outwork everyone else, so I can get to where I want to be.”

Meanwhile, Wheaton Warrenville South’s Phil Zelman pinned Bartlett’s Ryan Gura for the third-place medal and Notre Dame College Prep’s Jack Malenock won by fall over Bartlett’s James Smrha for fifth place.

215 – Joe Pettit, Geneva

Geneva junior Joe Pettit found himself staring at a familiar opponent in the finals of the 215-pound weight class. One week earlier, Pettit pinned Elk Grove’s Dylan Berkowitz to win the weight class at Buffalo Grove.

He claimed his second win over Berkowitz in an eight-day period, recording a pinfall in 2:28 to capture the 215 title.

“I wrestled (Dylan) for first place last week, so I knew he was a tough and strong opponent,” Pettit said. “I kind of had the same mindset as last week, trying to control the match. He’s good with his throws, so I was careful not to get launched. I just tried to use my strength advantage (all Saturday), getting to my underhooks and making them work with me. I tried to control my matches. I’m improving as the season goes on. I’m learning every match and just trying to reach my potential.”

Oswego East’s Josh Edwards earned the third-place medal by beating Taft’s Christopher Osta by fall and Reavis junior Terry Ferguson pinned Saint Viator’s Ryan Hutchens for fifth.

285 – Mikey Milovich, Elk Grove

Elk Grove senior Mikey Milovich entered Saturday’s invite with a spotless record. He left Niles West High School with a clean record to go with a first-place medal following a 7-6 decision over Normal West’s Matt Hanold in the 285-pound final.

“It’s the same thing for me every weekend, just want to get better and looking to improve,” Milovich said. “I knew I was going to get better competition (here), so this helped me improve my skill set. My round three match was tough. He was strong and athletic and took me a while to get used to that. He even had me on my back for a few seconds. It was good to be in that situation and learn from it and fight out of it.”

At 22-0, Milovich, a three-sport athlete, is setting his goals high after a solid season playing football for the Grenadiers, but noted one of the factors to his unbeaten start is becoming more relaxed before matches.

“Last year I didn’t do so good, even though I made it to sectionals,” he said. “I lost in the blood rounds. That’s motivated me going into every match. My coaches have told me to wrestle and have fun, not stress myself out with winning and to learn and get better and improve. Every match I’ve improved on my technique and conditioning and mindset a lot. I’ve had plenty of coaches help me with  my mentality. I’m looking to go as far as I can. I’m focusing on winning conference.”

For third place, Cary-Grove’s Lucas Burton defeated Wheaton Warrenville South’s Ashton Kibbe by fall while Jacobs’ Rocco Sauer pinned Notre Dame College Prep’s Scott Cook for fifth.

Championship matches for Niles West’s Robert E. Porter Invitational

106 – Ray Long (Notre Dame College Prep) D 11-9 Bernardo Roque (Taft)
113 – John Sheehy (Notre Dame College Prep) F 1:24 Oliver Chapman (DePaul Prep)
120 – Johnny Cunningham (DePaul Prep)  NC Josh Amorn-Vichet (Addison Trail)
126 – Grant Madl (Elk Grove) TF 3:59 Cameron Engels (Bartlett)
132 – Max Rosen (DePaul Prep) F 3:56 Doug Phillips (Burlington Central)
138 – Cooper Hollis (Wheaton Warrenville South) F 2:24 Henry Deering (Burlington Central)
144 – Ethan Wojtwich (Waubonsie Valley) F 2:51 Tim Bridges (Notre Dame College Prep)
150 – Noah DeMarco (Oswego East) F 5:37 Nicholas Gomez (Reavis)
157 – Evan Willock (Normal West) D 7-0 Noah Pechotta (Cary-Grove)
165 – Dmitry Derbedyenyev (Highland Park) F 0:59 Shane Onixt (Glenbrook North)
175 – Sedeeq Al Obaidi (Wheaton Warrenville South) MD 19-7 Benny Schlosser (Elk Grove)
190 – Gus Schreiber (Normal West) TB 10-8 Asr Clark (Milwaukee Riverside University, WI)
215 – Joseph Pettit (Geneva) F 2:28 Dylan Berkowitz (Elk Grove)
285 – Mikey Milovich (Elk Grove) D 7-6 Matt Hanold (Normal West)

Team standings for Niles West’s Robert E. Porter Invitational

1. Notre Dame College Prep (370.5), 2. DePaul Prep (338.5), 3. Elk Grove (322), 4. Normal West (311), 5. Wheaton Warrenville South (280), 6. Jacobs (270.5), 7. Geneva (265.5), 8. Burlington Central (248.5), 9. Glenbrook North (245.5), 10. Bartlett (226), 11. Addison Trail (223), 12. Cary-Grove (208), 13. Taft (206), 14. Reavis (194.5), 15. Oswego East (187.5), 16. Grayslake Central (180), 17. Milwaukee Riverside University, WI (165), 18. Waubonsie Valley (152), 19. Lake Zurich (120.5), 20. Saint Viator (115), 21. Highland Park (114), 22. Niles West (108), 23. Waukegan (106.5), 24. Larkin (86.5), 25. Maine West (76.5), 26. Genoa-Kingston (56.5).

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