Returning State Champs shine at inaugural Larkin Invite

By Gary Larsen

Some of Illinois’ best gathered at Larkin on Saturday for the 2022 Girls Royal Rumble, which did not disappoint. No team champion was crowned but there was 27-teams’ worth of talent in Elgin.
“It was definitely a sight to see,” said host Larkin coach Earl Danan. “The competition was at an elite level. We didn’t do team scoring this year since there were several teams entered without full lineups. But we will next season.”

Batavia led all teams with three individual champions in Sydney Perry (145), SueSue Paw (235), and Makayla Brown (285).

Three teams had a pair of individual champions each in Glenbard North, Conant, and Burlington Central. Three defending state champions also competed, in Batavia’s Perry, Glenbard North’s Gabby Gomez (115), and West Chicago’s Jayden Huesca Rodriguez (190). All three won titles on Saturday.

Here are the champions and bracket breakdowns for the 2022 Royal Rumble:

103: Alycia Perez, Glenbard West

Perez reeled off four wins to win the crown at 100 pounds, including three pins. She won by fall on the title mat at 2:10 over Round Lake’s Riley Kongkeow. Kongkaeow reached the title mat with a semifinal pin of Nallely Zaragoza, while Perez pinned Lane Tech’s Sofia Guerrero in their semifinal.

Guerrero went on to place third with a pin of Zaragoza, while Lily Enos placed fifth with a pin of Oak Forest’s Hanan Abdallah. Elgin’s Lordes Hernandez won by fall on the seventh-place mat against West Chicago’s Kezziah Depaz.

105: Nadia Shymkiv, Glenbard North

Shymkiv rolled up to Larkin Saturday and four pins later, she rolled away as the tourney champion at 105 pounds. Oak Forest’s Alex Sebek used two pins and a tech fall win to reach the finals before placing second to Shymkiv.

The third-place mat saw Round Lake’s Vianey Hernandez win by fall against Glenbard North’s Errolie Dangis, while Yorkville’s Dani Turner won by forfeit over Batavia’s Giuliana Norris for fifth. Elgin’s Mali Patino won by fall on the seventh-place mat over West Chicago’s Brissia Bucio.

110: Emma Engels, Bartlett

One season after placing 8th in Illinois at 100 pounds, Engels put a Larkin tournament title in her pocket at 110 on Saturday. The Bartlett sophomore used two falls and two major decisions to win her title, capped by a 16-5 major over Lake Forest’s Annika Cottam in the finals.

Cottam used three pins to reach the finals, including a semifinal pin at 1:39 over Harvard Christian’s Sam Macek. Engels pinned Glenbard North’s Crystal Jacinto at 1:57 in their semifinal match.
Macek went on to pin Jacinto for third, while Lakes’ Zaryia Mouzon pinned Maine East’s Eliana Badeem for fifth and Yorkville’s Payton Mongiovi pinned Larkin’s Melanie Granda for seventh.

115: Gabby Gomez, Glenbard North

Gomez was an unbeaten state champion as a freshman at 105 last season and she’s loaded for bear again in her sophomore season as the nation’s top-ranked wrestler at 100 pounds by USA Wrestling. Gomez used a fall and two tech falls to win her Royal Rumble title Saturday, ending with a tech fall at 2:28 for the title against Round Lake’s Ireland McCain.

Gomez’s win gave GBN its second individual title of the day, a feat matched by Burlington Central and Conant.

McCann reached the finals with three pins, including a fall at 1:16 in her semifinal against Niles West’s Zoe Pomeranets. Gomez won by tech fall at 3:30 in her semifinal against Maine East’s Guadalupe Montesinos.
Montesinos won a tight, 6-5 decision for third over Pomeranets, while Burlington Central’s. Ruby Vences pinned Glenbard West’s Sydney Nimsakont for fifth. Oak Forest’s Marjorie Rodriguez pined Vernon Hills’ Lora Kashidova for seventh place.

120: Yami Aguirre, Yorkville

Aguirre placed fourth at 115 in last year’s Illinois state finals and the junior is back for another run at a state title. Aguire used three pins and a major decision to win her title Saturday, capped by a pin at 1:31 in the finals against Burlington Central sophomore Tori Macias, who placed fourth at 110 in Illinois last season.

Macias posted two pins to reach the finals, including a semifinal pin over West Chicago’s Alyssa Elizondo. Aguirre pinned Lane Tech’s Nyah Lovis in their semifinal.

Lovis — who placed eighth in Illinois at 120 last year — pinned Elizondo for third while Kaneland’s Brooklyn Sheaffer pinned Oak Forest’s Charlotte Pedroza for fifth place. Evanston’s Elizabeth Paredes Torres pinned Conant’s Samantha Hernandez for seventh.

125: Eli Kruse, Burlington Central

Kruse posted three pins and a title at Larkin, ending with a fall at 1:33 on the title mat against Lake Forest’s Kamile Rayome. Rayome pinned Round Lake’s Jessica Sanchez in a semifinal match while Kruse pinned Oak Forest’s Camila O’Leary in their semifinal.

O’Leary pinned Sanchez for third, and Lakes’ Ava Babbs pinned Yorkville’s Brooke Coy for fifth. West Aurora’s Alina Williams placed seventh with a 14-4 decision over Conant’s Beth Ciavarella.

130: Ewa Croupa, Conant

Croupa had three pins on Saturday, plus an 8-5 semifinal decision win over Downers Grove South’s Allison Garcia. Croupa then won by fall at 2:30 of the title match against Yorkville’s Athena Westphal.

Westphal won by fall in her semifinal match against Glenbard West’s Piper Burke, who then won by 13-5 major decision for third against Garcia. Burlington Central’s Soraya Walikonis too fifth with a fall against Oak Forest’s Madelyn Sears, while Rolling Meadows’ Kandice Wallace won by forfeit for seventh against. Larkin’s Quetzali Lara.

135: Mannie Anderson, Conant

Conant became the second team with two champions when Anderson pinned Oak Forest’s Sabrina Sifuentez at 2:25 of their title match. Anderson had four pins on the day, including a semifinal pin of Bartlett’s Norah Huggins, while Sifuentez won 7-2 in her semifinal match against Rolling Meadows’ Ziza Sanchez.

Sanchez won by major decision for third against Huggins and Kaneland’s Dyani Torres pinned Elmwood Park’s Rose Craig on the fifth-place mat. Torres finished eighth in Illinois at 125 last year. Glenbard North’s Keagan Edwards pinned Niles West’s Aaizah Khan to take seventh.

140: Al Ghala Mariam Al Radi, Niles West

The Niles West senior placed third in Illinois at 135 last year and she won a Royal Rumble title at 140 Saturday with a pin at 4:40, on the title mat against Vernon Hills’ Fernanda Davila.

Al Radi opened with a tech fall and then won by fall in her semifinal against Conant’s Aubrey Mueller. Davila won by major decision in her semifinal match against Round Lake’s Brianna Perez.

Perez topped Mueller by fall on the third-place mat, while Kaneland’s Chloe Cevantes pinned West Aurora’s Giselle Marin-Carrasco for fifth, and Glenbard West’s Nydia Jotzat won by fall for seventh place against Batavia’s Norah Stoodley.

145: Sydney Perry, Batavia

Last year’s Illinois state champion at 145 is back for her junior year, and she used two tech falls and a pin to capture a Royal Rumble title on Saturday. After winning by tech fall at 2:00 in her semifinal match against Evanston’s Natalie Graettinger, Perry won by fall at 2:52 on the title mat against Glenbard West’s Adriana Hernandez.

Perry is the No. 1-ranked 144-pounder in the country per USA wrestling.
Hernandez reached the finals by fall in her semifinal against Conant’s Jasmine Zavaleta, who then won by fall over Graettinger for third place. Oak Forest’s Maya Coreas-Funes took fifth by fall over West Aurora’s Kymber Hall, and Round Lake’s Brianna Dittmer placed seventh by forfeit against Niles West’s Kimora Morris.

155: Jada Hall, Burlington Central

Burlington Central saw its second wrestler reach the top of the podium when Hall won by fall at 5:29 on the title mat at 155 against Rolling Meadows’ Aishah Sanchez.

Hall posted four pins Saturday, including a semifinal pin against Glenbard West’s Ani Navarro, while Sanchez reached the finals with a pin of Yorkville’s Ellie Dubs in their semifinal match. Navarro took third by forfeit over Dubs, and Downers Grove South’s Camilla Quiroz finished fifth with a fall over Kaneland’s Amanda Rogers. Batavia’s Sarah Anderson won by fall on the seventh-place at over Bartlett’s Jennifer Pena.

170: Ionicca Rivera, West Aurora

Two wrestlers who won state place-medals last year at 170 competed at Larkin on Saturday and when the dust settled, Rivera was a tournament champion. Rivera placed eighth in Illinois last season, and she won by fall at 5:57 in her semifinal match against Larkin’s Maria Ferrer, who placed fourth in state at 170 last year and won a state title at 170 in 2021.

Rivera then posted her fourth fall of the day on the title mat, at 1:31 against Oak Foerest’s Riley Ensing, who won by fall in her semifinal against Oak Forest’s Ryan Reeves. Ferrer went on to place third by fall against Reeves, and Conant’s Lana Ton won by fall on the fifth-place mat against Lane Tech’s Nicole Chmelar. Bartlett’s Jocelyn Rivera won by fall for seventh against Maine East’s Alexa Garcia.

190: Jayden Huesca Rodriguez, West Chicago
Ranked 18th in the country at 200, the defending Illinois state champion at 190 took care of business at Larkin, and had to beat a fellow Illinois medal-winner on the title mat to get it done. Huesca Rodriguez won by fall at :56 on the title mat against West Aurora’s Brittney Moran, who placed sixth in Illinois at 190 last year.

Moran pinned Lakes’ Josephine Larson in their semifinal match, while Huesca Rodriguez pinned Kaneland’s Carly Duffing. Three of Huesca Rodriguez’s four pins on the day came under a minute into the match.

Larson pinned Duffing for third and DG South’s Gracie Swierczynski placed fifth with a pin of Oak Forest’s Isabel Peralta. Evanston’s Ashland Henson won by fall for seventh place against Vernon Hills’ Madeline Borkowski.

235: SueSue Paw, Batavia

Paw wasted little time winning her Royal Rumble title, posting three pins on the day. She won by fall at :16 in her semifinal against Oak Forest’s Jessica Komolafe, then won by fall at :15 in the title match against Elgin’s Andrea Gordillo.

Gordillo pinned Bartlett’s Valerie Serna in their semifinal match, and Komolaffe won by fall against Serna on the third-place mat. Conant’s Rye Reyes pinned West Aurora’s Vicky Stackowicz for fifth, and Waubonsie Valley’s Catherine Schultz placed seventh with a fall over Evanston’s Denise Bias.

285: Makayla Brown, Batavia

The three-wrestler field saw Brown top Larkin’s A’Ja Young by fall at :45 on the title mat, set up by a Brown fall at 3:21 in her semifinal match against West Aurora’s Anjolie Villareal.

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