St. Charles East win 3rd straight DKC title

By Chris Walker For the IWCOA

The defending Class 3A state champs are now getting ready for their next challenge of an encore performance at the individual and team state finals after they finished the regular season by dominating the DuKane Conference Meet on Saturday.

St. Charles East had 11 wrestlers advance to the finals with eight crowned as champions, including Dom Munaretto (113), Ben Davino (132) and Jayden Colon (144) – who also won state titles last February.

Their champions included Munaretto (113), Davino (132), Tyler Guerra (138), Colon (144), Gavin Connolly (150), Anthony Gutierrez (165), Brody Murray (175) and Matt Medina (285). The Saints also matched their total of eight champions from a year ago with Munaretto (106), Davino (126), Guerra (138), Colon (145), Gutierrez (160) and Murray (182) winning back-to-back titles. It also was the third straight DuKane title for Davino and Guerra as the duo won at 120 and 132 respectively as sophomores.

“My standard hammers did their usual thing,” Saints coach Jason Potter said. “I feel bad overlooking them. It  stinks for them because everyone expects it, but at the same time they’re professionals and take care of business.”

Kaden Potter (106), Ryan McGovern (157) and Cooper Murray (215) each advanced to the finals and placed second for the Saints. Murray came closest to joining his teammates as a conference champion losing on a sudden victory against Batavia junior Ben Brown who remains undefeated.

Liam Aye (120) and Gavin Woodmancy (126) fought back to win their third-place matches while Brandon Swartz (215) took fourth place.

“I thought our young guys all the way around just gave great effort,” Jason Potter said. “They made some mistakes and we lost a couple of matches, gave a couple of them away, but the good thing about this team is they address it right away. They’re open to it. They’re coachable and I’m confident that we can fix those couple of little mistakes.”

The Saints outdistanced themselves from the rest of the field with 325 points. Runner-up Glenbard North finished with 219.5.

The Panthers produced a pair of champions in Kalani Khiev (120) and Christian Chavez (126) and a runner-up Dominick Marre (113). They were equally impressive on the third-place mats as Rylan Kradle (144), Treshon Williams (150), Tyler Ott (175), Brian Petrancosta (215), and Dylan Hendee (285) all finished the day with victories.

Wheaton North also had a pair of champs and took third with 201.

Batavia (165) and Geneva (143) followed in fourth and fifth place while Wheaton Warrenville South (107.5), Lake Park (80) and St. Charles North (64) rounded out the team finishes.

DuKane Conference tournament championship results:

106 – Rocco Macellaio, Wheaton North

Competing for the first time in the DuKane Conference Meet, Macellaio (28-12) earned a 17-6 major decision over St. Charles East’s Kaden Potter (19-20).

“Winning it is big,” he said. “It’s really cool. It’s what I’ve been working towards. We had a really close match earlier in the year, but (today) I hit my quick tilts a lot and scored a lot of points.”

Geneva junior Sammy Sikorsky (27-9) won by decision over St. Charles North’s Declan Sons (19-4) for third place while Glenbard North junior Jaden Quito (8-13) received a bye to take fifth place.

113 – Dom Munaretto, St. Charles East

After winning each of his 50 matches as a freshman en route to the state title at 106, one had to wonder what Munaretto would do for an encore this winter. The answer is a simple and obvious one: keep winning. Munaretto (40-2) finished off the regular season with a tech fall victory over Glenbard North senior Dominick Marre (29-5). Marre had taken second at 120 a year ago and won at 113 as a freshman in 2022.

Geneva junior Drew Holman (20-11) scored a major decision victory over Wheaton North sophomore Dylan Le (9-14) for third place. There was no fifth place match.

120 – Kalani Khiev, Glenbard North

Khiev (31-4) and Batavia senior Ino Garcia (19-5) battled for the title at 113 a year ago and Garcia prevailed 2-0. On Saturday, Khiev reversed the result, earning a 6-3 win to become a conference champion.

“We’ve wrestled during the season and the off-season the past two years,” Khiev, a junior, said. “But this is just the beginning, It doesn’t matter until you’re on the orange mats in Champaign. So yes I was able to get the win but it’s still not over. There’s no need to be satisfied or anything now. The point is to keep moving forward and keep wrestling and whatever comes, it comes.”

St. Charles East’s Liam Aye (19-20) prevailed by decision against fellow sophomore Caden Cahill (16-19) from Wheaton North to take third place while Wheaton Warrenville South sophomore Nolan Scholl (10-10) slipped past Geneva sophomore Caleb Fleck (9-24) for fifth place.

126 – Christian Chavez, Glenbard North

Chavez (31-4) is pleased so far with a regular season that has culminated with a major decision win over Lake Park sophomore Nick Merola (2-1) for the 126 title. Last year Chavez was injured during a semifinal match at 126 against Batavia’s Aidan Huck.

“So far this season I have nothing to complain about,” Chavez said,. “I feel like I’m doing my best and I’m coming for that title this year.”

He understood his game plan coming in against Merola and he followed it to rack up a 9-1 win.

“I just went into that match and just figured to put him away and score teams points for the team,” he said. “I just pretty much just got it done for the team, that’s it. You just need to get your mind right and just go out there and be ready to battle.”

About a month ago at the Al Dvorak tournament, Chavez placed fourth at 126.

“I did pretty well at Dvorak,” he said. “Maybe I could’ve made it to the finals. I beat the kid who ended up beating me in the finals.”

Over on the third-pace mat, St. Charles East freshman Gavin Woodmancy (25-16) won by decision over Batavia sophomore Kyle Pasco (25-17) while on the fifth-place mat Geneva junior Ben Deasy (18-16) won by fall over Wheaton North sophomore Joey Petruczenko (9-17)

132 – Ben Davino, St. Charles East

There are a couple of realities to consider regarding Davino (41-0), a three-time state champion senior. He’s already one of the state’s all-time best wrestlers. But also, his time competing for the Saints is almost over before he moves on to The Ohio State University.

Davino is now 160-1 after winning by fall against Wheaton North sophomore David Hyde (23-14) for the title at 132. The kid is one career match short of the number of games teams play in a Major League Baseball season. Coincidentally, MLB spring training begins the same weekend of the IHSA individual state tournament.

Since there wasn’t a conference meet in 2021 due to COVID, Davino didn’t wrestle in his first DuKane Conference meet until his sophomore year where he defeated a future champion in Glenbard North’s Christian Chavez. While Davino pinned Chavez in the 120 title bout two years ago, Chavez joined Davino on the award stand this year, winning the 120 title.

Batavia senior Ryan Adams (7-4) earned a major decision over Lake Park junior Sergio Hernandez (26-13) for third place while Geneva junior Andrew Wendt (19-15) won by ball over Glenbard North sophomore Trey Thompson (6-13) for fifth place. Wendt had met Davino in the semifinals earlier, losing by tech fall.

138 – Tyler Guerra, St. Charles East

Guerra (40-1) called his win by fall in 44 seconds over Wheaton Warrenville South senior Cooper Hills (26-8) at 138 a small step towards the ultimate goal of a state title.

“It’s a little, mini achievement to keep your head there,” the senior said. “These are good little check-ins to make sure I’m doing the right things to get the job done.”

While not officially the post-season, Guerra wrestled Saturday like is was, winning convincingly by fall in both of his matches.

“For me I’m in post-season (mode),” he said. “It’s go time. I’m feeling good. It feels good coming back and winning it with the team is awesome. Having all my guys with me in the finals felt great it’s good to get it done as a team. Feels good to get it done myself pretty quick. I got the pins. I feel good about today.”

Lake Park senior Vince Merola (22-8) won by decision over Batavia senior Ethan Brauer (23-15) for third place while Glenbard North junior Richard Morales (16-17) won by fall over Geneva sophomore Colin Huminsky (1-3) for fifth.

144 – Jayden Colon, St. Charles East

Colon (33-5) finished his final DuKane meet in strong fashion, earning an 8-3 decision against fellow senior Aidan Huck (34-5) from Batavia.

Huck advanced to the finals for the third straight season, losing last year to St. Charles East’s Ben Davino at 126 and at 113 to Dominick Marre two years ago. Marre was runner-up at 113 this year, falling to St. Charles East’s Dom Munaretto.

“I felt I got to my openings and my shots,” Colon said. “I’m getting back to wrestling how I would like to wrestle in a high-paced match and keeping up the pace and pushing the pace to wear these guys down.”

Call him Colon the aggressor.

“I would say what motivates me to keep going in my matches is fine-tuning my technique and getting to my offense rather than letting some of the other guys keep matches close,” he said, “I like to try to open up that distance and show how dominant I really am in the bracket.”

The two-time state champion is ready for the post-season again with eight fellow Saints champions including five who are also seniors.

“I’m feeling pretty excited, ready to go,” he said. “I’m ready to take on the next part of the season which is kind of what we call it. We have our calendar clock posted up there and it’s about 30-something days until the whistle for team state and little less for the individual tournament. That’s what keeps all the top level guys pushing towards the next tournament.”

Glenbard North junior Rylan Cradle (32-6) earned a major decision victory over Lake Park’s Bela Mohapp (15-10) to take third place at 144 while St. Charles North’s Brogan Sons (98) took fifth place as his opponent, Wheaton North junior Dane Fitzenreider (1-6), suffered an injury earlier.

150 – Gavin Connolly, St. Charles East

Connolly (33-10) won in his home gym again, earning a fall over Wheaton North sophomore Ryan Rosch (27-13) for the 150 title.

Meanwhile, on the third-place mat, Glenbard North junior Treshon Williams (17-18) won by fall over Batavia sophomore Dylan Wells while St. Charles North junior Liam O’Brien (9-8) won by decision against Geneva sophomore David Rueth (5-6).

157 – Thomas Fulton, Wheaton North

Last year Fulton pinned three straight opponents to win the title at152  in the JV II DuKane Conference Meet.

This year, he’s the varsity champ at 157.

“Well, I was in the mix last year with two other seniors; we were fighting for the varsity spot,” Fulton said. “But it feels pretty good to win the varsity conference. I think my weight class wasn’t as stacked as some of the others but it still feels good.”

Fulton, now a junior, was one of just three wrestlers to upend a St. Charles East wrestler in the finals as the Saints advanced 11 wrestlers to the championship round.

Fulton (34-8) won by fall against Saints junior Ryan McGovern (15-18) for the 157 title.

“I wrestled him earlier in the season and pinned him,” Fulton said. “He got a takedown at the beginning and then with twelve seconds left I shot off the whistle and he kind of went to his back. He should’ve let go of his hands so he pinned himself, kind of.”

Humble in victory, Fulton said he felt a little lucky with result.

“This match I kind of felt like I got a lucky pin there and wanted to show I was the better wrestler,” he said. “He got a takedown again at the beginning but I shot a double with 10 seconds left and got that too, so I was up in the second period and then he got an underhook, and I was able to hit my fireman’s that me and coach Rob talked about, which felt pretty satisfactory.”

But it’s got to feel good to be a conference champion, right?

“I guess so,” he said. “I’m just focusing on each match one at a time and not overlooking any opponents.”

Geneva senior Peyton Marzen (20-6) won by fall over Batavia freshman Jack Brown (9-12) to capture third place while over on the fifth-place mat Glenbard North sophomore Erik Esquivel (8-22) earned a win by decision over St. Charles North sophomore Damon Hill (5-6).

165 – Anthony Gutierrez, St. Charles East

Gutierrez (31-8) met Wheaton North sophomore Julian Flores (26-12) in the 165 title match but the two didn’t wrestle during the regular season. 

“I had too many matches already when we went against Wheaton North and you can’t have a certain amount of matches before regionals,” Gutierrez explained. “So I sat out that dual but didn’t have to sit out anything else.”

Unfamiliarity with Flores didn’t seem to affect Gutierrez as the junior won by fall .

“It was just pretty good to come out and execute all my shots and get to my offense and get a little practice in before the state series,” he said.

For third place in the DuKane, St. Charles North junior Nathan McLoughlin (14-3) won by fall over Batavia sophomore Colin Peyton (10-15) while Wheaton Warrenville South senior Corey Gul (22-15) took fifth place after also winning by fall over Glenbard North senior Jonathan Stakenas (2-10).

175 – Brody Murray, St. Charles East

Murray (34-8) handed Wheaton Warrenville South senior Sedeeq Al Obaidi (32-2) just his second loss of the season to win the 175 title. Last year Murray pinned Al Obaidi in the 160 semifinals before losing by decision in the finals to Lake Park’s Joey Olaide.

For third place at 175, Glenbard North junior Tyler Ott (24-11) won by decision over Wheaton North’s Nikolas Schaafsma while Geneva senior Charlie Faith (11-12) won by fall over Lake Park senior Elias O’Neill (8-6) to take fifth place.

190 – Ben Brown, Batavia

Brown needed sudden victory to get there, but the Batavia senior pulled off the rare awesome feat of completing the regular season undefeated.

Brown (27-0) kept his poise to defeat St. Charles East sophomore Cooper Murray (26-14) to become the conference champ at 190.

“I knew it was going to be a slow-paced match, but I just had to stay solid with my feet, not get in bad position and just kind of wear him down,” he said. “I could start to feel him going down in overtime and I eventually won.”

Last year Brown was on the other end of a tight battle, falling by a 4-3 decision to St. Charles North’s Drew Surges in the 195 semis. Surges would go on to win the 195 title.

Senior Elvin Muja (23-8) bounced back to beat Wheaton North junior Milo Saenz Palencia (21-16) by decision to take third at 190 while Glenbard North junior Julian Holland (12-16) received a bye to take fifth place.

215 – Joe Pettit, Geneva

Watching film of himself from early on the season and especially from a year ago, Pettit doesn’t see the same wrestler. 

When he goes back and watches the 215-pound final match against Batavia junior Asher Sheldon, he’s going to see the champion he’s become.

“My dad records all of my matches so I can see how I’m wrestling compared to last year,” he said. “I’ m like a different wrestler this year, even from earlier this season.”

Pettit won in sudden victory over Sheldon, getting back at the Bulldog who defeated him earlier this season in conference action.

“It was a pretty close match and it was a crazy atmosphere there at Batavia,” Pettit said. “I kind of got to my head a little bit and ended up just pinning myself. That loss kind of stuck with me so there was definitely some blood in the water going into the match. I really wanted to win.”

Focusing on technique and awareness has helped Pettit make the leap from taking fourth during the DuKane meet last year to being the top dog at 215 this year.

“I’m continuing to work on my technique and awareness,” he said. “That’s really the difference this year. Last year I would kind of go out there and freestyle, and this year I’m trying to control the match and control my ties, take shots when they’re there, and take advantage of their mistakes and that’s what I did today.”

Winning the third-place match was Glenbard North senior Brian Petrancosta (27-9) who was awarded the victory with St. Charles East senior Brandon Swartz (30-14) forfeiting, while Wheaton Warrenville South junior Mason Monte (20-16) won by fall over Wheaton North junior Zeke Psenicka (12-18) for fifth place.

285 – Matt Medina, St. Charles East

When Medina last squared off against Wheaton Warrenville South junior Ashton Kibbe the sophomore was down points in the third period and got pinned.

Medina (25-12) returned the favor on Saturday, pinning Kibbe in 1:51.

“I came back with a different mindset going in there,” Medina said. “I let up my grip and kind of got (put) on my back and my coach was like, ‘Medina, don’t do that roll unless you’re a hundred percent going to get through that roll,’ and for a second there mid-roll I was like coach (Jason Potter) is going to be really mad at me. But I was able to get through and I was looking at my other coach, and he helped me stick him and I got the job done.”

In the third-place final at 285, Glenbard North junior Dylan Hendee (13-13) won by fall over Wheaton North junior Dylan Stallings while Geneva’s Wesley Klein (5-5) received a bye to take home fifth place.

Top Individual statistics:

Most pins, least time – 3 in 5:39 by Geneva’s Peyton Marzen

Most tech falls, least time – 1 in 2:15 by St. Charles East’s Jayden Colon

Fastest fall – 0:09 by St. Charles East’s Brandon Swartz

Fastest tech fall – 2:15 by St. Charles East’s Jayden Colon

Most single-match points – 25 by Glenbard North’s Treshon Williams

Most total-match points – 45 by St. Charles East’s Gavin Woodmancy

DuKane Conference tournament championship match results:

106 – Rocco Macellaio (Wheaton North) MF 176 Kaden Potter (St. Charles East)

113 – Dom Munaretto (St. Charles East) TF-1.5 5:57 (17-2) Dominick Marre (Glenbard North)

120 – Kalani Khiev (Glenbard North) D 6-3 Ino Garcia (Batavia)

126 – Christian Chavez (Glenbard North) MD 9-1 Nick Merola (Lake Park)

132 – Ben Davino (St. Charles East) F 1:29 David Hyde (Wheaton North)

138 – Tyler Guerra (St. Charles East) F 0:44 Cooper Hollis (Wheaton Warrenville South)

144 – Jayden Colon (St. Charles East) D 8-3 Aidan Huck (Batavia)

150 – Gavin Connolly (St. Charles East) F 1:42 Ryan Rosch (Wheaton North)

157 – Thomas Fulton (Wheaton North) F 3:46 Ryan McGovern (St. Charles East)

165 – Anthony Gutierrez (St. Charles East) F 2:56 Julian Flores (Wheaton North

175 – Brody Murray (St. Charles East) D 3-1 Sedeeq Al Obaidi (Wheaton Warrenville South)

190 – Ben Brown (Batavia) SV-1 3-1 Cooper Murray (St. Charles East)

215 – Joe Pettit (Geneva) SV-1 3-1 Asher Sheldon (Batavia)

285 – Matt Medina (St. Charles East) F 1:51 Ashton Kibbe (Wheaton Warrenville South) 

Third-place results:

106 – Sammy Sikorsky (Geneva) D 9-7 Declan Sons (SC North)

113 – Drew Hosman (Geneva) MD 15-6 Dylan Lee (Wheaton North)

120 – Liam Aye (SC East) D 9-3 Caden Cahill (Wheaton North)

126 – Gavin Woodmancy (SC East) D 4-2 Kyle Pasco (Batavai)

132 – Ryan Adams (Batavia) MD 12-1 Sergio Hernandez (Lake Park)

138 – Vince Merola (Lake Park) D 5-0 Ethan Brauer (Batavia)

144 – Rylan Kradle (Glenbard N) MD 13-1 Bela Mohapp (Lake Park)

150 – Treshon Williams (Glenbard N) F 3:34 Dylan Wells (Batavia)

157 – Peyton Marzen (Geneva) F 2:48 Jack Brown (Batavia)

165 – Nathan McLoughlin (SC North) F 1:13 Colin Peyton (Batavia)

175 – Tyler Ott (Glenbard N) D 4-1 Nikolas Schaafsma (Wheaton N)

190 – Elvis Muja (WW South) D 5-2 Milo Saenz Palencia (Wheaton N)

215 – Brian Petrancosta (Glenbard N) fft. Brandon Swartz (SC East)

285 – Dylan Hendee (Glenbard N) F 1:21 Dylan Stallings (Wheaton N)

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