Oak Forest wins title at Larkin Girls Royal Rumble

By Bobby Narang – For the IWCOA

ELGIN – Wrestling matches generally never run on schedule.

When you throw in a tournament packed with several teams from different regions of the state, it often leads to an even slower schedule.

Early-season weekend tournaments are notorious for blowing past any projected start time for finals.

Take for example the 2003 Chris Hruska Wrestling Classic at Conant in late November. The estimated start time for finals was 2 p.m.The actual start time was closer to 4 p.m.

Saturday’s Larkin Girls Royal Rumble in Elgin was no different.

The finals blew way past the projected start time, nearly four-plus hours later, due to a computer issue with the results. Several wrestlers said they had spent nearly 12 hours at the school, with the finals ending just before 8 p.m.

Just like in other sports, wrestling is a mental challenge, just as much as physical. Several champions said they resorted to unique methods to bid time during the long meet. 

Oak Forest captured the team title with 204 points while Batavia snared second place with 185 points. Joliet Township co-op, consisting of athletes from Joliet Central and Joliet West, just missed second place after scoring 182 points and the District 230 co-op of athletes from Andrew, Carl Sandburg and Stagg, finished in fourth place with 174 points in the 18-team field.

Coach John Sebek’s champion Bengals received titles from Camila O’Leary Salas (125), Ryann Reeves (170), Isabel Peralta (190) and Jessica Komolafe (235) while Madelyn Sears (140) placed second, Iyobosa Odiase (145) took third, Maya Coreas Funes (155) finished fourth, Marjorie Rodriguez (115) was fifth and Charlotte Pedroza (120) took sixth.

“I am very proud of how our girls wrestled, considering we were missing wrestlers at 100, 105 and 110 and a lot of other teams had full lineups,” Sebek said. “We had five girls in the finals, Camila O’Leary Salas, Maddy Sears, Ryann Reeves, Isabel Peralta and Jessica Komolafe. We also had four other girls place third through sixth, Iyobosa Odiase, Charlotte Pedroza, Marjorie Rodriguez and Maya Coreas Funes.

“We brought 12 girls to the event and only 10 could be considered for team points, so it shows the true heart and grit of this team. They battled all day long. We were also without our most experienced wrestler, Alexandra Sebek, who was a state finalist last year and is dealing with a high ankle sprain.

“Hats off to the girls and coaches of Batavia High School. It was neck and neck with them all day. Coach (Scott) Bayer and Coach Alvarado have a very young and talented team. They will be the team to beat very shortly.”

Glenbard West’s Alycia Perez, who was crowned the first champion of the night at 100 pounds, called it a tough and long day.

“I just reset my mind every time I felt tired and just had to push that feeling away and did sprints to keep moving,” Perez said.

In the 105-pound class, Addison Trail senior Veronica Cosio had a solid day to win her weight. She said her first time competing in the Royals Rumble was a unique experience.

“I made sure to keep my mental state and stay in a positive mindset even though it was a long and trying day and unexpected things happened,” Cosio said. “I kept a positive mindset throughout the day.”

At 110 pounds, Bartlett’s Angelina Carpintero took the title in her weight class, but not before some trying hours.

“Mentally, it was exhausting today,” Carpintero said. “I was trying so hard to not fall asleep, just kept eating and had a ton of Coke. I just kept busy, talking to my teammates, but I actually felt stronger because I had the extra time to rest.”

Glenbard North junior Gabby Gomez, the defending state champion at 115, added another first-place medal with three easy wins on Saturday. A veteran wrestler, Gomez said she enjoyed the long day but needed some extra caffeine.

“The tournament ran a little bit long, so I got a little tired and had a couple of energy drinks,” Gomez said. “I really liked the support and seeing all these girls have fun during the break. That was super cool.”

Other champions were District 230’s Sophia Figueroa (120) and Alyssa Keane (145), Glenbard North’s Keagan Edwards (130), Bolingbrook’s Katie Ramirez-Quintero (135), Richwoods’ Kaila Williams (140) and Batavia’s Sydney Perry (155), who was an undefeated IHSA champion at 145 in both 2022 and 2023.

Here’s a breakdown of the champions and their weight classes of the Larkin Girls Royal Rumble:

100 – Alycia Perez, Glenbard West

Alycia Perez won all four of her matches with pins, including defeating Batavia’s Lily Enos in 3:09 in the final. With her match surrounded by a lot of coaches and teammates, Glenbard West’s Perez started off the championship round with an impressive win over Enos, who took fifth at 100 in the 2023 IHSA Finals, to cap a strong day.

“I’m really motivated this year to make it to state, so this was a good start,” Perez said. “I just believed in myself and kept a good mindset. I learned that believing in myself and just trying hard really helped me. I didn’t know how that last match would go, but I just knew it would be tough.”

District 230’s Layan Saleh won by fall over Elgin’s Melissa Viveros for third place and Joliet Township’s Kassie Ruiz defeated Elgin’s Lourdes Hernandez 4-2 by sudden victory to claim fifth place.

105 – Veronica Cosio, Addison Trail

Addison Trail’s Veronica Cosio started her team off with a bright spot with four victories by fall to win the 105 title, defeating Richwoods’ Heaven Sewell in 1:04 in the championship match.

Cosio celebrated her title by doing a double-bicep pose on the podium.

“I was very confident in myself and believed in my abilities and went for it right away,” Cosio said. “I knew I had it in the last (match) and went for it. I feel really good. My mindset and mentality is better and I have way more confidence in myself this year.”

Elgin’s Mali Patino pinned Bartlett’s Kahlynn Spurgeon to take home the third-place medal while Joliet Township’s Alisa Carter pinned Bolingbrook’s Ashley Hobbs in the fifth-place match.

110 – Angelina Carpintero, Bartlett

Bartlett’s Angelina Carpintero was all smiles after she received her first-place medal during a rushed ceremony to the lateness of the event. She kept the early match tradition going by winning all of her four matches with pins, highlighted by a fall in 1:52 over Woodstock’s Eva Hermansson in the final.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to lose today, no matter how many points were against me,” Carpintero said. “I didn’t place at state last year at 110. I’m sticking at 110. I feel a lot stronger after doing offseason (work).”

Bolingbrook’s Alejandra Flores pinned Larkin’s Ashley Hammond in the third-place match, while Joliet Township’s Emma Schlismann pinned Harvest Christian’s Sam Macek for fifth place.

115 – Gabby Gomez, Glenbard North

Glenbard North’s Gabby Gomez had a strut in her step for most of the final few hours of Saturday’s meet. The junior was unfazed by the lengthy meet, relying on her championship background to handle the extra time. On the mat, the two-time defending state champion cruised to the 115-pound title. Gomez, who won an IHSA title at 115 last season and at 105 in 2022, earned a tough 9-0 major decision in the title match over Joliet Township’s Eliana Paramo, a two-time state medal winner and IHSA runner-up at 115 last season.

“I felt good today, so it’s always good to get this time of competition,” Gomez said. “There were a lot of first-time wrestlers today. I just tried to be aggressive. I had two really good matches, so I’m glad to get them before state.

“I feel more myself this year. Last year I was giving girls too much respect. Now, I’m just going to give it my all. I think I can do it again this year.”

Bartlett’s Emma Engels, who won the IHSA title at 100 last season, posted a 10-6 win over Addison Trail’s Nina Matthews in the third-place match. Oak Forest’s Marjorie Rodriguez notched a pin over Richwoods’ Brianna Johnson to collect a fifth-place medal.

120 – Sophia Figueroa, District 230

Sophia Figueroa closed out a tough class by pinning Glenbard West’s Karolina Konopka in 5;21 to win the title at 120. A junior for District 230’s co-op team, Figueroa said she relied on her strategy to defeat Konopka.

“I just tried to stay heavy on her hips and just knock her down when she tried to get up,” Figueroa said. “Going into this I wasn’t sure what I was going to do today, and even if I would make it to finals. I have to stay confident in my skills. I started thinking in the second period I could win it.”

Elgin’s Salome Patino claimed third place by medical forfeit over Thomas Kelly College Prep’s Jaqueline Dimas. Batavia’s Natalie Lenart pinned Oak Forest’s Charlotte Pedroza to win a fifth-place medal.

125 – Camila O’Leary Salas, Oak Forest

Oak Forest’s Camila O’Leary Salas capped off a big day with a pin in 0:30 over Batavia’s Mackenzie Harried in the 125 title match. The sophomore relied on a simple approach in her weight class.

“I just tried to pin them as quick as possible,” she said. “I like to get things done really fast. I was always trying to stay focused in my matches, knowing what they were doing. I think I performed pretty well today. I took a long nap during the break to help me.”

The first of the Bengals’ four title winners said she’s motivated to make a run at the state title after an injury ended her season early.

“I didn’t get cleared to wrestle (at 100 percent) until the summer,” she said. “It was hard on me. I had to push through it. There was some tension, but I just tried to have a good mentality.”

Conant’s Brooklyn Jones was enjoying pictures with her third-place medal after pinning West Chicago’s Susana Correa while Joliet Township’s Briahna Klobnak pinned Elgin’s Emily Pizano for fifth place.

130 – Keagan Edwards, Glenbard North

Keagan Edwards won the unofficial award for best celebration following her 7-2 win over Batavia’s Anabelle Guthke in the 130 title match. The Glenbard North sophomore was overcome with happiness, smiling nonstop for several minutes in bewilderment over her accomplishment, even asking someone near her if she won first place.

“This is my first, first place,” Edwards said. “I worked so hard last year and wasn’t winning, but I put in so much effort over the summer and it’s finally paying off. For me, it’s all about the effort I put in. I know how hard I work and have to do everything on the mat and believe in myself.”

Edwards said her ‘hype music’ helped her during the exhausting day. She prefers an old-school approach to her wrestling pre-match tunes.

“I listened to Led Zeppelin and AC/DC (today),” she said. “My dad raised me on it. It’s my favorite music.”

Woodstock’s Danica LaTessa earned a 6-4 win over District 230’s Mackenzie Conry in the third-place match and in a matchup of teammates, Addison Trail’s Brithany Mondragon pinned Ruth Castillo for fifth place.

135 – Katie Ramirez-Quintero, Bolingbrook

Bolingbrook’s Katie Ramirez-Quintero made her teammates proud by pinning District 230’s Lana Schuaibi to win her weight class. The 2022 IHSA sixth-place placewinner at 130 cherished her achievement after a trying offseason.

“I was just having with it today,” Ramirez-Quintero said. “I was struggling with an MCL tear for the past year. I kind of fell out of love with the sport. This year I’ve been focusing on what I love to do. I was out for a long time until September. This reassures me that I’m on the right path after I was struggling earlier.”

Joliet Township’s Izabel Barrera pinned Glenbard West’s Nydia Jotzat to capture third place while West Chicago’s Jenny Espinal recorded a 12-6 win over Batavia’s Amelia Howell to win fifth.

140 – Kaila Williams, Richwoods

Richwoods’ Kaila Williams had one of the longest days due her lengthy trek to the meet, but she made the trip worthwhile by pinning Oak Forest’s Madelyn Sears in 1:40 in the 140 title bout. She credited maintaining her composure for winning the title. She said she left Peoria at 5 a.m. on Saturday.

“The key for me was focusing on my moves and knowing what I want to do,” Williams said, a second-year wrestler. “I didn’t place at state last year, but I’m staying motivated and listening to my coaches. They helped me a lot today.”

Conant’s Ewa Krupa made a point to take several photos to celebrate her third-place pin over Joliet Township’s Veronica Klobnak and Glenbard West’s Poper Burke pinned Elgin’s Briana Anselmo to get fifth place.

145 – Alyssa Keane, District 230

District 230 junior Alyssa Keane, who took third place at 135 in the 2023 IHSA Finals, notched the 145-pound title by recording four pins, including a pin in 2:41 win over Glenbard West’s Miyalinna DeJesus in the 145 title match.

“I stayed confident,” Keane said. “I had to do what I did best. I placed third at state last year, so I’m trying not to cut as much as last year to be stronger going up against the girls I’m going up against this year. I feel a lot stronger and more confident this year. I have to just go out on the mat and do my job and I can’t have fun.”

Oak Forest’s Iyobosa Odiase pinned Conant’s Douaa Badou for third place while Joliet Township’s Vanessa O’Connor pinned Batavia’s Lyn Codo-Prim for fifth place.

155 – Sydney Perry, Batavia

As one of the most accomplished wrestlers in the state, Batavia’s Sydney Perry maintained a business-like approach for the majority of Saturday’s meet. The Bulldogs senior, who went 34-0 last season and won the IHSA title at 145 after going 21-0 and taking first at state at 145 in 2022, ended her trip to the Royal Rumble by pinning Hinsdale South’s Callie Carr in 1:58 in the 155 title match.

“I just stayed focused and kept my same goals and tried to help my team with the mental aspect,” Perry said. “I helped coach the girls and watched a lot of wrestling and chilled during most of the day. I’ve had a lot of character growth and feel more prepared this year and feel a lot better.”

Richwoods’ Jaida Johnson, who took second place at 155 in the inaugural IHSA Finals, got a win by fall in 0:21 over Oak Forest’s Maya Coreas Funes in the third-place bout. West Chicago’s Annette Huesca pinned Glenbard North’s Nathalie Miranda to take fifth place.

170 – Ryann Reeves, Oak Forest

Ryann Reeves was a dominant force in her weight class, showcasing her toughness and skills to capture two pins, ending the tournament with a win by fall in 1:34 over Joliet Township’s Bianca Campos in the 170 title match. The Oak Forest senior picked up wrestling last year for the first time and ended up advancing to state.

“I want to build on top of what I did last year at 155, which I still plan on wrestling at this year,” Reeves said. “I put all my faith in my hard work and it worked.”

Batavia’s Emma Abbate claimed third place over Thomas Kelly College Prep’s Sara Martinez Lopera by medical forfeit. Conant’s Lana Ton pinned Batavia’s Sarah Anderson to take fifth place.

190 – Isabel Peralta, Oak Forest

Oak Forest’s Isabel Peralta turned in a memorable four-victory day, ending by pinning Bolingbrook’s Aurelia Gil-Lane in 2:00 in the 190 title match to become one of the Bengals’ four champions. 

District 230’s Janae Vargas claimed third place over Thomas Kelly College Prep’s Liana Andrade by medical forfeit. Addison Trail’s JD Quijano pulled out a 5-0 win over Batavia’s Caoimhe Mitchell for fifth.

235 – Jessica Komolafe, Oak Forest

The final title match of the meet featured a quality win by Oak Forest’s Jessica Komolafe, who pinned District 230’s Emma Akpan,  who placed sixth at 235 in the 2023 IHSA Finals, in the 235 finals to become her team’s fourth champion.. 

Glenbard West’s Thanh Dinh claimed third place by medical forfeit over Thomas Kelly College Prep’s N’Dyia Mahon-Godfrey. Joliet Township’s Natalie Quiroz pinned Batavia’s Oliver Schafer for fifth.

Championship matches for the Larkin Girls Royal Rumble

100 – Alycia Perez (Glenbard West) F 3:09 Lily Enos (Batavia)
105 – Veronica Cosio (Addison Trail) F 1:04 Heaven Sewell (Richwoods)
110 – Angelina Carpintero (Bartlett) F 1:52 Eva Hermansson (Woodstock)
115 – Gabby Gomez (Glenbard North) MD 9-0 Eliana Paramo (Joliet Township)
120 – Sophia Figueroa (District 230) F 5:21 Karolina Konopka (Glenbard West)
125 – Camila O’Leary Salas (Oak Forest) F 0:30 Mackenzie Harried (Batavia)
130 – Keagan Edwards (Glenbard North) D 7-2 Anabelle Guthke (Batavia)
135 – Katie Ramirez-Quintero (Bolingbrook) F 2:52 Lana Shuaibi (District 230)
140 – Kaila Williams (Richwoods) F 1:40 Madelyn Sears (Oak Forest)
145 – Alyssa Keane (District 230) F 2:41 Miyalinna DeJesus (Glenbard West)
155 – Sydney Perry (Batavia) F 1:58 Callie Carr (Hinsdale South)
170 – Ryann Reeves (Oak Forest) F 1:34 Bianca Campos (Joliet Township)
190 – Isabel Peralta (Oak Forest) F 2:00 Aurelia Gil-Lane (Bolingbrook)
235 – Jessica Komolafe (Oak Forest) F 0:51 Emma Akpan (District 230)

Team standings for the Larkin Girls Royal Rumble

1. Oak Forest 204, 2. Batavia 185, 3. Joliet Township 182, 4. District 230 174, 5. Glenbard West 145, 6. Richwoods 111, 7. Addison Trail 96, 8. Bolingbrook 87.5, 9. Conant 83, 10. Glenbard North 73.5, 11. Elgin 70, 12. Bartlett 69, 13. Woodstock 65, 14. Thomas Kelly College Prep 56, 
15. Larkin 27, 16. Hinsdale South 24, 17. Harvest Christian 13.

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