Schaumburg wins 2nd title in 3 years at Normal Community Invite

By Curt Herron – For the IWCOA

NORMAL – There was a little old and a little new at Saturday’s Normal Community Invite where 38 teams competed in the event that made IHSA history in 2021 as the inaugural tournament in the sport.

And just as was the case in that initial competition, Schaumburg benefitted from its depth to easily capture the championship, winning this time by a 225-141 margin over Homewood-Flossmoor, which was even bigger than its 172-100 cushion over Joliet Central in the debut.

Richwoods (112), Joliet Township co-op (109), Mahomet-Seymour (84.5), Galesburg (84), Plainfield South (84), Urbana (72), Auburn (71) and Canton (67) rounded out the top 10 teams in the field.

Saxons coach Matt Gruszka, who also led the 2021 title winner, had four individuals who were on that original championship squad and they all contributed as Schaumburg had five finalists, which was three more than anyone else, and also had 10 who placed sixth or better.

The Saxons’ lone champion was Madyson Meyer (125), who was a member of the 2021 team. Taking second place for Schaumburg were Makenzi Aguilar (105), Olivia Furlan (135), Madeline Zerafa-Lazarevic (140) and Valeria Rodriguez (155).

Alya Razzak (170) finished fourth, Anna Villarreal (120), Keara Micek (145) and Nadia Razzak (190) all took fifth, Stephanie Zahareas (100) placed sixth and Diya Patel (115) was eighth. The four Saxons who were a part of that historic 2021 title team are Meyer, Alya Razzak, Rodriguez and Zerafa-Lazarevic. 

“I have a lot of senior leaders and some juniors who have been around and they understand that, yes, it’s individual, but the points add up for your team,” Gruszka said. “We had some disappointments in the quarterfinals, but then they came back and won for fifth, which is huge points in the wrestlebacks.

“I always tell them that I like to win as many matches in the last round and I want to try to get the champions. Does it always work out? No, but the competition here was excellent. That’s what I like about this tournament. We come down south and see a lot of good teams and there’s a lot of good competition. 

“We just stress going out there and going point by point and match by match because if you start looking ahead, things get haywire, and they did a good job with that. Everyone contributed, which is nice.”

The only individual that won a title in the most recent NCHS Invite that also took first place in the event’s 2021 debut was Mahomet-Seymour’s Isabelle Leyhe (120). Rodriguez and Zerafa-Lazarevic also tried to add to their 2021 titles but they lost in the finals.

Individuals who repeated as champions were Galesburg’s Hannah Almendarez (100), Joliet Township’s Eliana Paramo (115), Moline’s Maryam Ndiaye (155) and Homewood-Flossmoor’s Ini Odumosu (190). Richwoods’ Kaila Wiliams (140) won a B division title in 2022.

Other title winners were Pekin’s Tessa Donaldson (105), Morris’ Ella McDonnell (110), Collinsville’s Taylor Dawson (130), Ottawa Township’s Ava Weatherford (135), Galesburg’s Annalisa Gibbons (145), Highland’s August Rottmann (170) and Urbana’s Jurdan Tyler (235). Champions who took second  place last year but won titles on Saturday were McDonnell (110) and Meyer (125). 

Also finishing in second place were Auburn’s Jasmine Brown (115) and Jadyn Perry (145), Olympia’s Mya Down (100), East Peoria’s Bailey Lusch (110), Normal Community’s Trey Fletcher (120), Centennial’s Ava Beldo (125), Richwoods’ Isabella Moteller (130), Peoria Notre Dame’s Autumn Williams (170), Plainfield South’s Keira Enright (190) and Ottawa Township’s Juliana Thrush (285).

Galesburg had the most champions with two and the champion Saxons had the most finalists with five. The other teams that had two finalists were Auburn, Ottawa Township and Richwoods. 

Odumosu had the most team points with 34 while Dawson had 33. Gibbons, Meyer and Rottmann had 32 points apiece, Leyhe scored 31.5 points and McDonnell, Ndiaye, Paramo and Tyler all had 30 team points. Dawson easily had the most total match points with 65.

Micek and Odumosu both had five falls, but Micek only needed 2:56 to collect all of her pins while Odumosu required 7:45 to collect falls in all of her matches enroute to the 190 championship.

Two defending IHSA champions won titles, Rottmann and Odumosu, and two second-place finishers from last year’s IHSA Finals also won invite titles, Paramo and Ndiaye.

Here’s a look at the Normal Community Invite champions and their weight classes:

100 – Hannah Almendarez, Galesburg

Hannah Almendarez is definitely excited about the start that Galesburg got off to on Saturday, as well she should be. Coach Greg Leibach’s Silver Streaks were the lone team in the 38-team Normal Community Invite that had two champions with Annalisa Gibbons taking first place at 145 after Almendarez had earlier repeated as a champion at 100 in the tournament when she claimed top honors with a fall in 0:34 over Olympia’s Mya Down in the title match.

Almendarez won her first two matches by fall to reach the finals. With Gibbons, who became the program’s first state qualifier at the 2023 IHSA Finals, later joining her on the title mat, the Silver Streaks were one of only five teams who had more than one finalist in the invite.

“In my first year of wrestling, there weren’t a lot of girls,” Almendarez said. “Me and my friend were like the first girls trying wrestling. And then it came out big, and it’s crazy to see how big it is now. I’ve been working toward the goal to get first. I love that we’re a family, we really are.”

Down was the lone finalist and one of two medalists for the Spartans, who are coached by Josh and Justin Collins. The program had a big day on Saturday as the boys team won the title at the Illini Bluffs Invite. Down won her opener with a fall and then claimed a 12-9 decision over Joliet Township’s Ariadna Arciniega in the semifinals. It was an all-Steelwomen clash for third place as Arciniega edged teammate Kassie Ruiz 3-0. Plainfield South’s Amie Fuentes took fifth place after recording a fall over Schaumburg’s Stephanie Zahareas.

105 – Tessa Donaldson, Pekin

Pekin only brought three girls to the Normal Community Invite but two of them placed and one of those, Tessa Donaldson, instantly made a name for herself by being one of the 14 champions in the 38-team competition. Donaldson recorded a fall in 0:43 to capture the 105 title over Schaumburg’s Makenzi Aguilar, who was one of five finalists for the tournament champion Saxons.

Donaldson, a sophomore who is also a cheerleader, hopes to become the second individual state qualifier and first place winner for coach John Jacobs’ Lady Dragons. She won all three of her matches by fall in under a minute and needed 24 seconds in her quarterfinals win and just 17 seconds to get a pin against Joliet Township’s Alisa Carter in the semifinals.

“It’s really hard,” Donaldson said. “There are a lot of girls now that are joining wrestling and so you never know what’s going to happen. We’re getting more girls on the team and we’ve had new girls that have joined and they’ve done pretty good. This is like a family. They all build you up, they all support you and they all cheer you on.”

Aguilar, who was one of the four individuals who took second place for coach Matt Gruszka’ Saxons, also won her first two matches by fall to reach the title mat. Carter recorded a fall over Canton’s LT Diephuis to claim third place while Richwoods’ Heaven Sewell took fifth place after winning by fall over another Joliet Township competitor in the weight class, Morgan Kelley.

110 – Ella McDonnell, Morris

After falling in the semifinals and taking third at 115 in Wednesday’s Minooka Thanksgiving Throwdown, Ella McDonnell was looking for a better showing when she competed in her second invite in four days, and that’s what happened for the Morris senior as she took top honors at 110 with an 11-4 decision over East Peoria’s Bailey Lusch. A year ago, McDonnell took second place at 120 in the competition.

McDonnell, who is the lone medal winner for coach Lenny Tryner’s program, went 33-13 and took fourth place at 110 at the 2023 IHSA Finals after also finishing fourth at state at 105 in 2022. She hopes that she not only gets back to the awards stand for the third time but takes the next step and is able to compete for a state title. McDonnell advanced to the 110 title mat with three opening-period falls.

“The team has been doing good,” McDonnell said. “It’s our second year of having a girls team and everyone has been doing really good and everyone is improving. I’m happy that the girls program is increasing. There’s a lot of good girls here and they all deserve respect. The wrestling is hard, so every medal is deserved. I’d like to place higher, but placing at state is an overall good thing against all of these tough girls.”

Lusch, a senior who went 15-7 and placed sixth at 105 last season and also placed fifth at 105 in 2022 and is East Peoria’s lone medal winner, was the top finisher for coach Chad Dunham’s Raiders. She recorded four falls to reach the title mat. Belleville East junior Alexcia Harden, a two-time state qualifier who went 19-13 last season and fell one win shy of a medal at 105 in 2022, took third place with an 8-5 decision over Erie/Prophetstown’s Ryleigh Stephens. Homewood-Flossmoor’s London Gandy placed fifth after winning a 16-10 decision over another Morris competitor, Maggie Gordon.

115 – Eliana Paramo, Joliet Township

There’s no shame in finishing second when you are going up against Gabby Gomez. That’s what happened to Joliet Township’s Eliana Paramo when she faced one of the nation’s best in the 2023 IHSA Finals at 115 and she actually went the full six minutes before falling 12-3 to cap a 37-5 season. The Steelwomen senior, who took fifth at 115 while competing for Joliet West in 2022, hopes to make a third state appearance and would like to finish as a state champion.

Paramo was the lone champion and finalist for Joliet Township, last year’s NCHS Invite champions and a co-op team featuring athletes from Joliet Central and Joliet West that’s coached by Liz Short, who was the 2023 IWCOA Girls Head Coach of the Year Award winner. In the 115 finals, she claimed a 6-0 decision over Auburn’s Jasmine Brown. This was the second year in a row that she won the 115 title, joining Galesburg’s Hannah Almendarez (100), Moline’s Maryam Ndiaye (155) and Homewood-Flossmoor’s Ini Odumosu (190) as repeat champs. She had first-period falls in her initial three matches.

“I had a really phenomenal season last year, it was amazing,” Paramo said. “It was my first year as a team at Joliet Township so it was really exciting. This year we have a lot of new people so I’m really excited to see where the season takes us. And I’m really excited, being my senior year, and it’s going to be my last time coming to these tournaments and then I’m going to go off to college and continue to wrestle. 

“This was my second year at this tournament and second time winning it. Liz is an amazing coach. I don’t know how she does everything she does. She’s like Wonder Woman, handling all of these different things and different girls. We had such a big team year last year and if you thought our team last year was big, this year our team is even bigger. We’re getting a lot of these new girls matches, which is really awesome.”

Brown, who went 25-22 last season and fell one win shy of a medal at 115, was one of two finalists for Auburn, with Jadyn Perry the other at 145. Coach Matt Grimm’s Trojans were one of five teams that had two or more finalists. Brown got pins in her first two matches before edging University High’s Allison Kroesch 2-0 in the quarterfinals and Homewood-Flossmoor’s Nina Hamm 4-2 in the semifinals. Mahomet-Seymour’s Kalista Granadino took third with a 4-3 decision over Hamm, a junior who went 31-14 and placed sixth at 110 last season. East Peoria’s Kennedy McMenimen claimed a 4-2 win over Kroesch, who qualified for state at 115 in 2023, to capture fifth place.

120 – Isabelle Leyhe, Mahomet-Seymour

Two years ago when Normal Community hosted the first regular season tournament that featured only girls, Isabelle Leyhe was one of the champions. But the Mahomet-Seymour senior was unable to compete last season due to an injury. On Saturday, Leyhe was once again on hand for the third edition of the tournament and she captured a championship for the second time, defeating Normal Community’s Trey Fletcher 22-6 by technical fall in the 120 finals.

Leyhe is inspired by a Mahomet-Seymour legend, IWCOA Class of 2019 Hall of Famer Mary Kelly, who was a three-year starter who competed for third- and fourth-place AA dual meet teams. She hopes to become the first individual from coach Jeff Castor’s girls program to not only qualify for but also place at the IHSA Finals. Leyhe became her team’s lone finalist after recording three-straight first-period falls.

“I got kind of lucky because I got a bye in the first round because every girl that I faced, I knew that they were putting in the effort,” Leyhe said. “And to me, that’s really the biggest thing about girls wrestling is seeing these young girls come out and put in the effort. I love to see the growth of this sport. I’m a senior now and I started wrestling when I was in junior high. When I started wrestling, there were no other girls out there and now we have these tournaments and these sanctioned things. (Mary Kelly) Is definitely one of my biggest influences and she left some big footsteps to fill. 

“We lost a lot of seniors last year, but it’s really great to watch a lot of these underclassmen and these younger kids step up and take these varsity roles. It’s been great this year watching these younger and newer wrestlers showing a lot of effort and a lot of hard work. They’re really pushing themselves to make the team better. I had to take the year off because of my shoulder, so being able to come back and get back into it feels great, better than anything.”

Fletcher was the lone Normal Community girl to compete in the third edition of the historic tournament that Ironmen coach Trevor Kaufman started in 2021. She recorded three falls to reach the title mat, which included first-period pins in the quarterfinals and semifinals. Joliet Township’s Keily Centeno took third after recording a fall over Morris’ Makensi Martin and Schaumburg’s Anna Villarreal claimed fifth place after getting a pin over Homewood-Flossmoor’s Amirat Lawal. 

125 – Madyson Meyer, Schaumburg

Two years ago, Schaumburg’s Madyson Meyer was a member of the first girls team to win an invitational title when the Saxons defeated Joliet Central 172-100 for top honors at the Normal Community Invite. On Saturday, five of the individuals from that historic team won the title for a second time. With 125 champion Meyer and four other finalists leading the way, the Saxons took first by a 225-141 margin over Homewood-Flossmoor to win the 38-team tournament. 

Meyer recorded a fall in 1:13 over Centennial’s Ava Beldo to become the lone champion for coach Matt Gruszka’s Saxons. Meyer was one of the five individuals from Schaumburg who also qualified for the inaugural IHSA Finals in 2022, which includes three of her current teammates, Madeline Zerafa-Lazarevic, Alya Razzak and Valeria Rodriguez. The Saxons junior advanced to the 125 title mat after recording three first-period falls, needing just 42 seconds in the quarterfinals and only 32 seconds in the semifinals to secure wins.

“Last year, I kind of had a plateau at the end of the season,” Meyer said. “So this year, I promised myself that I was going to believe in myself a lot more and put in all of the effort that I could, and I feel like today, I did exactly that. I’m really proud of our team, we’ve really grown. This is our third year of being an all-girl official team and the second year that we won the tournament at Normal. 

“Our head coach (Matt) Gruszka, he really pushes us. He’s coached guys for years and years and he pushes us just as much as pushes the guys, and we all push each other, as a team. And we all work together and we’re really good friends, and I think that really helps. I like how good our personalities all mesh together. We all have different situations, but we all just fit together and it just works. It’s really nice having such a close team, they’re like a second family.”

Beldo, the only girl in the tournament field for coach Andrew Nyland’s Chargers, looks to become the first girl from Centennial to qualify for the IHSA Finals. She earned her spot in the 125 finals after recording four-straight falls. Homewood-Flossmoor’s Evie Regas claimed third place by recording a fall over Normal West’s Amelia McClure. Clinton’s Joi Lord finished in fifth place after capturing an 11-1 major decision over Joliet Township’s Briahna Klobnak. 

130 – Taylor Dawson, Collinsville

Taylor Dawson has performed very well in the first two IHSA Finals, finishing in third place last year at 130 to cap a 34-5 season after being a state runner-up at 125 and winning 19 matches during her debut. Now the Collinsville junior, who’s her program’s only medal winner, looks to not only capture a third medal at the IHSA Finals but also challenge once again for a state title. Dawson kicked off her 2023-24 season in impressive fashion, needing just 30 seconds to record a fall over Richwoods’ Isabella Motteler in the 130 finals.

Dawson was one of the three medal winners and the lone finalist for coach Jordan May’s Kahoks. She opened with a pair of falls before claiming a 14-4 major decision over Canton’s Kinnley Smith, who posted a 24-5 record and was the IHSA 135 runner-up a year ago. Dawson followed that up with a fall over Westville/Georgetown-Ridge Farm’s Laney Cook in the semifinals to earn her spot on the title mat.

Motteler, one of two finalists for coach Rob Penney’s third-place Lady Knights, went 31-7 last season and fell one win shy of a medal at 120 after going 16-5 and placing sixth at 115 in 2022. The junior advanced to the finals with four pins, with all but her quarterfinals match being decided in the first minute. Cook took third after recording a fall over Lemont’s Molly O’Connor. And Smith settled for fifth place following a pin over Mahomet-Seymour’s Jaycee Fancher.

135 – Ava Weatherford, Ottawa Township

Ava Weatherford opened her season on a high note by competing in the finals of two major invitationals in the season’s opening week. Her first title match was at Wednesday’s Minooka Thanksgiving Throwdown, where she lost by fall to Hoffman Estates’ Emmylina O’Brien in the 135 finals. However, it was a different story on Saturday for one of Ottawa Township’s two finalists as Weatherford won the 135 title with a 3-0 decision over Schaumburg’s Olivia Furlan.

Weatherford, who along with 235 runner-up Juliana Thrush, assured coach Peter Marx’s Lady Pirates to become one of the five teams in the 38-team competition that had two or more finalists. After opening the tournament with a pair of falls, Weatherford earned her trip to the championship match after pulling out a 5-4 decision over Joliet Township’s Izabel Berrera in the semifinals.

“It’s been super exciting,” Weatherford said. “It’s only my second year and I’m a sophomore. I worked all summer at the high school with the wrestling team and I went to a Jiu Jitsu place in the Peru Mall, and they helped me with wrestling stuff, too. It is a great start. Minooka’s tournament was a lot and this was a lot, but I’m glad that I got to make it to finals in both.”

Furlan, who was one of five finalists and four second-place finishers for the champion Saxons, followed a fall in her first match with a 9-5 quarterfinals win over Lemont’s Gabriella Estrada and then won by fall over Joliet Township’s Janelle Maldonado Gonzalez in the semifinals. Joliet Township teammates Berrera and Maldonado Gonzalez squared off in the third-place match where Berrera recorded a fall. Erie/Prophetstown’s Michelle Naftzger, a state qualifier who went 25-18 a year ago, claimed fifth place after winning by fall over Pekin’s Violet Pennington.

140 – Kaila Williams, Richwoods

A year ago, Kaila Williams put together a 32-7 record and fell one win shy of earning a medal at 135 at the IHSA Finals. So it’s quite understandable that the Richwoods senior will be determined to not only return to state, but to reach the awards stand this time. Williams kicked off this season in a good fashion, capturing top honors at 140 when she recorded a fall in 4:46 over Schaumburg’s Madeline Zerafa-Lazarevic, who went 32-7 and took fifth at 125 in last season’s IHSA Finals after going 18-6 and falling one win shy of a medal at 130 in 2022.

Williams was the only champion and joined 130 runner-up Isabella Motteler as one of the two finalists for coach Rob Penney’s Lady Knights, who took third place in the competition and were one of five teams in the field that had more than one finalist. After opening with a fall, Williams captured a 15-10 decision over Olympia’s Jordan Bicknell in the quarterfinals and then recorded a fall in 0:41 in the semifinals over Plainfield South’s Lexi Kachiroubas.

Zerafa-Lazarevic was one of five finalists for coach Matt Gruszka’s champion Saxons. The junior also won a title in the invite’s first year, 2021, when she became the program’s first individual tournament champion, one of the 14 individuals who won the first tournament championships and was a member of the first team to win an invitational title. She used three first-period falls to advance to the title mat. Kachiroubas won a 6-4 decision in sudden victory over Urbana’s Rickasia Ivy to finish third. Mahomet-Seymour’s Gabriela Dawson took fifth place with a 5-4 decision over Bicknell, a senior and two-time state qualifier who went 16-14 and finished one win shy of a medal at 145 last year.

145 – Annalisa Gibbons, Galesburg

Annalisa Gibbons made history for Galesburg last season when she became the program’s first state qualifier and won her opener in the tournament. The junior obviously has bigger goals this season and she definitely opened on a high note when she won the 145 title with a fall in 5:28 over Auburn’s Jadyn Perry to make coach Greg Leibach’s Silver Streaks the only team in the event that had two champions, with 100 title winner Hannah Almendarez the other.

Gibbons, who was one of three medal winners for Galesburg, opened with two first-period falls before capturing a 6-5 decision over Bloomington’s Alicia Swank in the quarterfinals. She earned her spot on the title mat after recording a fall in 1:48 in the semifinals over Erie/Prophetstown’s Jayda Rosenow. 

“Two years ago was our first year, and I was the first girl to go to state for Galesburg last year, so that really helped it grow,” Gibbons said. “I’m really proud of our program and I just want it to keep growing. We have 10 girls now and we’ve doubled our numbers. I’m really hoping that our program will grow and continue. I’m excited to see what everybody can accomplish this season and I want to see how I do at state this year.”

Perry, a state qualifier last year, was joined by teammate Jasmine Brown on the title mat. That gave coach Matt Grimm’s Trojans two finalists, making them one of the five teams with more than one individual in a championship match. Perry used four-straight falls, with three of those in the first period, to reach the finals. Rosenow, a two-time state qualifier, claimed third place with a fall over Homewood-Flossmoor’s Autumn Pace. And Schaumburg’s Keara Micek took fifth place with a fall over another Erie/Prophetstown place winner, Dena Cox. Micek had the most falls in the least time with five pins in just 2:56. The only other individual who had five falls was the 190 title winner, Homewood-Flossmoor’s Ini Odumosu, the defending IHSA 190 champion.

155 – Maryam Ndiaye, Moline

On a day where there were a lot of championship matches that featured clashes of IHSA place winners at the Normal Community Invite, certainly one of the most anticipated of those meetings was the title matchup at 155 where Moline senior Maryam Ndiaye and Schaumburg senior Valeria Rodriguez squared off. 

Ndiaye went 19-5 last season and placed second at 155 to Plainfield Central’s Alicia Tucker while Rodriguez went 37-2 and took third at 140, one year after going 32-2 and taking third place at 155. In the invite’s championship match at 155, Ndiaye captured a 7-3 decision to repeat as a champion while Rodriguez was denied in her effort to add to the title that she won in the state’s first girls tournament in 2021. Ndiaye, one of two individuals competing for coach Jacob Ruettiger’s Maroons, recorded three falls to earn her spot in the finals.

“It just pushes me to work harder this year,” Ndiaye said. “Of course, I want to get first this year and get back to the finals and win the title. It’s good to know that I have people that know where I’m coming from. I love to work hard and wrestling  is one way to put that work in and work hard for whatever you want. We’re a very young team, but I think that we have people that can go far as long as we keep working hard. And every day, we do work hard.”

Rodriguez, who was one of four Saxons who were members of the 2021 team that won the state’s first invitational title in the sport’s debut that are still in coach Matt Gruszka’s program, helped their team to this title with five finalists, which was three more than any other team had. Rodriguez had four first-period falls with two of those concluded in under a minute. Plainfield South’s Teagan Aurich, a state qualifier last year, took third place with a major decision win over Collinsville’s Tashieya Taylor and Canton’s Katelyn Marvel, a two-time state qualifier, won by fall over Unity’s Anna Vasey to capture fifth place.

170 – August Rottmann, Highland

After turning in a 21-1 campaign a year ago where she won the 170 IHSA title to follow up on a 22-15 debut season where she claimed third place at the same weight class, August Rottmann is excited about what awaits her in the 2023-24 season. The Highland junior kicked off her season in impressive fashion by winning the Normal Community Invite championship at 170 by getting a fall in 2:35 over Peoria Notre Dame’s Autumne Williams in the finals.

Rottmann, who was the lone medal winner for coach Nick Bellamy’s Bulldogs in the competition, won all four of her matches with falls. She had first-period pins in the second round and quarterfinals before needing 2:13 to record a fall in the semifinals over Auburn’s Heaven Workman to earn her trip to the title mat. Rottmann hopes to join the six individuals who have thus far been two-time IHSA champions, and she’s in good company in that quest since there are seven others who also won their first state titles last year who return.

“I’m excited to get back into the high school season,” Rottmann said. “This is what I train for and put in the work for. I’m also excited to see the sport grow. I can’t wait to see how my teammates flourish throughout a few short months in a sport that is completely new to them.”

Williams, one of two entrants for Irish coach Danny Burk in the girls division, hopes to become her program’s first qualifier and place winner. She won three-straight matches by fall to reach the finals, In the third-place match, Workman claimed a 6-0 decision over Shaumburg’s Alya Razzak, who is one of four current Saxons who competed on the 2021 team that made history by winning the first invitational title in this event. Richwoods senior Jaida Johnson, a two-time state qualifier who lost 10-8 in the 2021 IHSA Finals at 155 to Unity’s Lexi Ritchie, took fifth after recording a fall over Collinsville’s Hannah Jones.

Ini Odumosu, Homewood-Flossmoor

Last year, Ini Odumosu won the IHSA title at 190, and with Attalia Watson-Castro capturing her second championship, Homewood-Flossmoor had the distinction of being the lone school at the Finals to have two title winners and just the second to do it, after Hononegah got titles from Rose and Angelina Cassioppi in 2022. Now two-time placewinner Odumosu sets her sights on joining her former teammate and five others as winners of two state titles. She got off to a great start to this season by winning the 190 title with a fall in 1:15 over Plainfield South’s Keira Enright to repeat as a champion in the event.

Odumosu, a senior who went 36-4 last season, also won a medal in the first IHSA Finals, when she capped a 24-7 season with a fifth-place finish at 190. She recorded falls in all five of her matches, which all ended in the first period, and the length of time for the five matches was 7:45. Only one other individual recorded five falls, Schaumburg’s Keara Micek, but she did that in six matches and placed fifth at 145 after falling in the quarterfinals. Odumosu, who led all competitors with 34 team points, was the only champion and finalist for coach Scott Aronson’s Vikings, who took second to Schaumburg with 141 points.

Enright, a junior and two-time state qualifier who placed third at state at 235 in 2022 to cap a 12-4 debut season to become one of two medalists for her school along with 2022 130 champion Alexis Janiak. She won four matches by fall, with three of those under 30 seconds, to become the lone finalist for coach Daniel Saracco’s Cougars. Urbana’s Franciana Kalanga took third place with a win by fall over Granite City’s Chloe West and in the fifth place match, Schaumburg’s Nadia Razzak also prevailed with a fall over Pontiac’s Alix Robinson.

235 – Jurdan Tyler, Urbana

Jurdan Tyler made history in 2023 by becoming Urbana’s initial state medal winner when she capped a 14-8 season by claiming third place at 235 in the IHSA Finals in her first state appearance. The senior looks to take the next step in 2023-24 and get to the state championship mat and she claimed top honors in her first tournament of this season when she pinned Ottawa Township’s Juliana Thrush in 2:56 in the 235 title match at the Normal Community Invite.

Tyler became the lone finalist for coach Phil Sexton’s Tigers when she won by fall in her first-round and semifinals matches after winning by injury default in the quarterfinals. Her semifinals win over Unity’s Phoenix Molina was the longest time that she spent on the mat, 3:07. 

Thrush joined 135 champion Ava Weatherford as one of two finalists for coach Peter Marx’s Pirates, who were one of five teams in the field to have two in the finals. The sophomore, who fell one win shy of a medal at 235 in last year’s IHSA Finals, also took second place on Wednesday when she competed at Minooka’s Thanksgiving Throwdown. Thrush advanced to the title mat with three first-period falls. Molina won by fall over Normal West’s Cadence Duvall to place third and Joliet Township’s Fernanda Miranda recorded a fall over Galesburg’s

Isabella Rivera to claim fifth place.

Normal Community Invite championship matches

100 – Hannah Almendarez (Galesburg) F 0:34 Mya Down (Olympia)

105 – Tessa Donaldson (Pekin) F 0:43 Makenzi Aguilar (Schaumburg)

110 – Ella McDonnell (Morris) D 11-4 Bailey Lusch (East Peoria)

115 – Eliana Paramo (Joliet Township) D 6-0 Jasmine Brown (Auburn)

120 – Isabelle Leyhe (Mahomet-Seymour) TF 22-6 Trey Fletcher (Normal Community)

125 – Madyson Meyer (Schaumburg) F 1:13 Ava Beldo (Centennial)

130 – Taylor Dawson (Collinsville) F 0:30 Isabella Motteler (Richwoods)

135 – Ava Weatherford (Ottawa Township) D 3-0 Olivia Furlan (Schaumburg)

140 – Kaila Williams (Richwoods) F 4:46 Madeline Zerafa-Lazarevic (Schaumburg)

145 – Annalisa Gibbons (Galesburg) F 5:28 Jadyn Perry (Auburn)

155 – Maryam Ndiaye (Moline) D 7-3 Valeria Rodriguez (Schaumburg)

170 – August Rottmann (Highland) F 2:35 Autumne Williams (Peoria Notre Dame)

190 – Ini Odumosu (Homewood-Flossmoor) F 1:15 Keira Enright (Plainfield South)

235 – Jurdan Tyler (Urbana) F 2:56 Juliana Thrush (Ottawa Township)

Normal Community Invite third-place matches

100 – Ariadna Arciniega (Joliet Township) D 3-0 Kassie Ruiz (Joliet Township)

105 – Alisa Carter (Joliet Township) F 3:57 LT Diephuis (Canton)

110 – Alexcia Harden (Belleville East) D 8-5 Ryleigh Stephens (Erie/Prophetstown)

115 – Kalista Granadino (Mahomet-Seymour) D 4-3 Nina Hamm (Homewood-Flossmoor)

120 – Keily Centeno (Joliet Township) F 2:26 Makensi Martin (Morris)

125 – Evie Regas (Homewood-Flossmoor) F 3:57 Amelia McClure (Normal West)

130 – Laney Cook (Westville/Georgetown-Ridge Farm) F 1:38 Molly O’Connor (Lemont)

135 – Izabel Berrera (Joliet Township) F 1:05 Janelle Maldonado Gonzalez (Joliet Township)

140 – Lexi Kachiroubas (Plainfield South) SV 6-4 Rickasia Ivy (Urbana)

145 – Jayda Rosenow (Erie/Prophetstown) F 2:52 Autumn Pace (Homewood-Flossmoor)

155 – Teagan Aurich (Plainfield South) MD 13-1 Tashieya Taylor (Collinsville)

170 – Heaven Workman (Auburn) D 6-0 Alya Razzak (Schaumburg)

190 – Franciana Kalanga (Urbana) F 2:44 Chloe West (Granite City)

235 – Phoenix Molina (Unity) F 0:27 Cadence Duvall (Normal West)

Normal Community Invite fifth-place matches

100 – Amie Fuentes (Plainfield South) F 2:56 Stephanie Zahareas (Schaumburg)

105 – Heaven Sewell (Richwoods) F 1:15 Morgan Kelley (Joliet Township)

110 – London Gandy (Homewood-Flossmoor) D 16-10 Maggie Gordon (Morris)

115 – Kennedy McMenimen (East Peoria) D 4-2 Allison Kroesch (University High)

120 – Anna Villarreal (Schaumburg) F 0:29 Amirat Lawal (Homewood-Flossmoor)

125 – Joi Lord (Clinton) MD 11-1 Briahna Klobnak (Joliet Township)

130 – Kinnley Smith (Canton) F 0:31 Jaycee Fancher (Mahomet-Seymour)

135 – Michelle Naftzger (Erie/Prophetstown) F 1:37 Violet Pennington (Pekin)

140 – Gabriela Dawson (Mahomet-Seymour) D 5-4 Jordan Bicknell (Olympia)

145 – Keara Micek (Schaumburg) F 0:31 Dena Cox (Erie/Prophetstown)

155 – Katelyn Marvel (Canton) F 3:37 Anna Vasey (Unity)

170 – Jaida Johnson (Richwoods) F 0:56 Hannah Jones (Collinsville)

190 – Nadia Razzak (Schaumburg) F 3:25 Alix Robinson (Pontiac)

235 – Fernanda Miranda (Joliet Township) F 0:28 Isabella Rivera (Galesburg)

Normal Community Invite team standings

1. Schaumburg 225, 2. Homewood-Flossmoor 141, 3. Richwoods 112, 4. Joliet Township 109, 5. Mahomet-Seymour 84.5, 6. Galesburg 84, 6. Plainfield South 84, 8. Urbana 72, 9. Auburn 71, 10. Canton 67, 11. Collinsville 65, 12. Morris 61, 13. Ottawa Township 60, 14. East Peoria 57, 15. Erie/Prophetstown 53.5, 16. Highland 43, 17. Normal West 41, 18. Pontiac 39, 19. Unity 38, 20. Pekin 37, 21. Granite City 36, 22. Moline 30, 22. Peoria Notre Dame 30, 24. Olympia 29, 24. Westville 29, 26. Centennial 28, 26. Lemont 26, 28. Belleville East 27, 29. Normal Community 26, 30. Clinton 24, 31. University High 22, 32. Rochester 17, 33. Bloomington 10, 33. Rantoul 10, 35. Metamora 8, 36. PORTA 7, 37. Deer Creek-Mackinaw 4, 38. Heyworth 0.

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