Whitlatch, Dvorak both feature best fields ever

Rob Sherrill’s Blog – December 18, 2019

We’re now approaching the holiday tournament season. This weekend beings the two biggest individual tournaments of the season, the Rex Whitlatch Invitational Friday and Saturday at Hinsdale Central and the Al Dvorak Memorial Invitational Saturday and Sunday at Machesney Park Harlem.

Both tournaments have beefed up their fields significantly. At Hinsdale Central, the field is the biggest ever, with 25 teams competing. Eighteen of the 25 are in the IWCOA state team rankings, and 11 are in the top 25. Barrington, Lincoln-Way West and Joliet Catholic Academy are the biggest names, bringing the number of top 25 teams in 3A to eight. Three of the top 10 teams in 2A are also in the field.

The team field is as follows:

3A – Sandburg (No. 5), Barrington (No. 7), Minooka (No. 9), Oak Park-River Forest (No. 11), Lincoln-Way West (No. 12), Stevenson (No. 15), Lyons Township (No. 17), West Aurora (No. 19), Downers Grove North (HM), Downers Grove South (HM), Glenbard West (HM), Grant (HM), Neuqua Valley (HM), Warren (HM), Belleville West, Hinsdale Central, Homewood-Flossmoor, New Trier, Rockford East, Willowbrook

2A – Lemont (No. 2), Joliet Catholic Academy (No. 6), Geneseo (No. 7), Brother Rice (HM), Hinsdale South

Individually, the tournament includes three wrestlers ranked No. 1 at their respective weight classes: Joel Vandervere (138) of Warren in 3A, two-time state champion D.J. Hamiti (152) of Joliet Catholic Academy and Apollo Gothard (220) of Lemont in 2A.

That’s pretty impressive, but wait until you see the Dvorak field. Now at 36 teams, it contains ranked teams from all three classifications, plus five out-of-state teams, including newcomers from opposite ends of the country, Phillipsburg (N.J.) and Orting (Wash.). The Stateliners won five consecutive
New Jersey state team titles from 2014-18, and Orting returns seven placewinners from a team that finished third in state last year. Cincinnati (Ohio) LaSalle, a former Dvorak champion, also returns to the field, led by nationally-ranked Dustin Norris at 120.

Individually, 11 of the 14 wrestlers ranked No. 1 in 3A are in the field, making it the toughest ever by the numbers. We could see a battle between defending state champions at 170, with 3A champion David Ferrante of Huntley and 1A champion Andrew Wenzel of Dakota in the field.

The 11 are: Colton Drousias (120) of Mount Carmel, Dylan Ragusin (126) of Montini, Noah Mis (132) of Mount Carmel, Fidel Mayora (145) of Montini, Joe Roberts (152) of Montini, Luke Odom (160) of Edwardsville, Ferrante (170), Trevor Swier (182) of Montini, Nick Stemmet (195) of Yorkville, Ben
Stemmet (220) of Yorkville and Lloyd Reynolds (285) of Edwardsville. Drousias, Ragusin and Ferrante are all defending state champions. So are Christian Olsen (113) of Crystal Lake South in 2A and Wenzel, making five state champions in all. Matthew Minick (106) of Althoff is the 14th No. 1 in the field.

Want more? The top four teams in 3A – defending champion Montini, Chicago Mount Carmel, DeKalb and Lockport – are all in the field. Add in Glenbard North, Huntley and Edwardsville, and seven of the top 10 teams in 3A are in the field. Of the 31 Illinois teams in the field, 24 are state-ranked. How’s that for a Murderer’s Row?

The team field is as follows:

3A – Montini (No. 1), Mount Carmel (No. 2), DeKalb (No. 3), Lockport (No. 4), Glenbard North (No. 6), Huntley (No. 8), Edwardsville (No. 10), Libertyville (No. 13), Yorkville (No. 22), Bolingbrook (No. 23), Addison Trail (HM), Machesney Park Harlem (HM), Jacobs (HM), Marist (HM), Moline (HM), Plainfield South (HM), Providence (HM), St. Rita (HM), Bradley-Bourbonnais, Hononegah, Metea Valley, Wheaton North

2A – Crystal Lake South (No. 16), Crystal Lake Central (No. 25), Freeport (HM), Fenwick, Rockford Boylan

1A – Dakota (No. 6), Belleville Althoff (No. 11), IC Catholic (HM), Bowen
Out of state – Wentzville (Mo.) Timberland, Phillipsburg (N.J.), Cincinnati (Ohio) LaSalle, Orting (Wash.), Milton (Wis.)