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2021 Herald-News wrestling preview capsules

Southwest Suburban Conference


Coach: Joe Di Gregorio (third year, fourth overall)

Last season: 12-7

Top returners: Justin Brown, 113, 23-15, sr.; Luis Bazan, 126, 39-10, so.; Andre Giurini, 126, 24-11, sr.; Joe Dermott, 132, 36-12, jr.; Emilio Gil-Lane, 145, 4-1, so.; Antonio Maldonado, 152, 4-8, sr.; Sergio Gutierrez, 160, so.; Elias Medina, 170, 6-5, jr.; Lucas Churulo, 182, 16-13, sr.; Elijah Escamilla, 195, 6-10, jr.; Gavin Jones, 22-, 5-3, sr.; Frank Oliviera, 285, 5-14, jr.; Ehric Washington, 285, 2-0, jr.

Key newcomers: Andrew Serna, 145, jr.; Julian Myrick, 106, fr.

Worth noting: Bazan and McDermott both advanced to the Class 3A state meet and Bolingbrook returns many starters and wins from the starting lineup last season. “We roll into the season with the most experienced team in some time,” said Di Gregorio. “We return some very strong talent, with solid freshman bolstering the lineup. The upper weights are finally upperclassmen and should really have an impact for us this season. I expect to be extremely competitive with pretty much every team in the state and we’ve loaded up our schedule to challenge us as much as we can.”

Lincoln-Way Central

Coach: Tyrone Byrd (third year, 13th year overall)

Last season: 9-12, 3-2 in conference

Top returners: Nathan Knowlton, 106, 13-8, so.; Joey Malito, 120, 36-14, jr.; MJ Hollingsworth, 138, 26-11, jr.; Max Becker, 145, two wins, so.; Dustin Kozlowski, 160, 17-17, jr.; Max Villasenor, 170, nine wins, sr.; Fabian Villasenor, 182, 26-18, sr.; Andrew Hesse, 195, 26-22, sr.

Key newcomers: Braeden Barrett, 220, jr.; Michael Olson, 152, so.

Worth noting: “We are returning many young varsity wrestlers along with quality experience to our lineup this season,” said Byrd. “We are young, but I’m excited about our future and current lineup.”

Lincoln-Way East

Coach: Kevin Rockett (third year, 14th overall)

Last season: 7-13, 1-3 in conference

Top returners: AJ Lizak, 152, 30-15, sr.; Dominic Adamo, 170, 23-11, jr.; Ari Zaeske, 145, 22-10, so.

Key newcomers: Connor Koehler, 120, so.; Zach LaMonto, 160, so.

Worth noting: Lizak is a three-time sectional qualifier, Adamo advanced to state in 2019 and was a sectional qualifier last season, while Zaeske was also a sectional qualifier in 2020. “Our mantra is and has always been “Get comfortable being uncomfortable’,” said Rockett. “It is something we say often, but this year it means even more. As a team, we need to be flexible in a year like this. Our outlook of the season is to not waste any time. So many things were taken from us over the last year and we will not take for granted any moment we have to get better and compete. Some athletes decided wrestling wasn’t for them this year, but the kids that are in our practice room want to be here, they want to wrestle.”

Lincoln-Way West's Javen Estrada wrestles Pekin's Ryan Haynes in the 138 pound 3A wrestlebacks during the IHSA individual state wrestling tournament on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 at the State Farm Center at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in Champaign.

Lincoln-Way West’s Javen Estrada wrestles Pekin’s Ryan Haynes in the 138 pound 3A wrestlebacks during the IHSA individual state wrestling tournament on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 at the State Farm Center at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in Champaign. (Matthew Apgar/)

Lincoln-Way West

Coach: Brian Glynn (12th year)

Last season: 20-5

Top returners: Karter Guzman, 126, 26-15, so.; Tyler Mansker, 132, 13-13, so.; Javen Estrada, 152, 41-4, sr.; Jack Pedigo, 195, 19-21, sr.; Mike Yario, 160, 4-1, sr.; Jake Ziemniarski, 285, 15-16, jr.

Key newcomers: Anthony Gorman, 170, sr.; Jacob, 182, sr.; Cameron Knepper, 145, jr.

Worth noting: Estrada advanced to the Class 3A state meet in 2020. “I’m extremely happy to get any type of wrestling this year and I’m excited the seniors will get a chance to finish off their careers, It takes a lot of dedication and sacrifice to wrestle all four years in high school, so it is great for those guys to be able to finish with some matches,” said Glynn. “We have quite a few new young guys that will be in the varsity lineup for the first time, so it will be nice for them to get experience. I still expect us to wrestle at a high level even with our lack of experience. This program has been able to reload each year and I see another great squad again this year.”


Coach: Josh Oster (ninth year)

Last year: 20-1

Top returners: Ryan Oster, 113, 21-20, sr.; Jad Alwawi, 120, 1-2, so.; Logan Kaminski, 126, 17-13, so.; Carlos Munoz-Flores, 132, 24-10, so.; Keegan Roberson, 138, 36-10, jr.; Troy Mutz, 145, 7-3, so.; Nate Ramsey, 152, 26-18, sr.; Paul Kadlec, 160, 6-5, jr.; Paul Rasp, 160, 1-3, jr.; Cody Silzer, 195, 11-8, jr.; Jon Kratz, 195, 11-5, sr.; Andrew Blackburn-Forst, 220, 46-10, jr.; Mario Herrera, 285, 14-12, sr.; Nore Turner, 106/113, 4-3, so.; Isaiah Rogers, 113, 4-4, jr.

Key newcomers: Cole Silzer, 195, jr.; Ben Markham, 106, so.; Aidan Nolting, 170/182, so.; Boden Bielik, 145, fr.

Worth noting: Lockport, which was a Class 3A regional champ and dual state qualifier, returns a solid group, led by Blackburn-Forst (placed 5th at 195 at Class 3A state), Roberson (state qualifier), Munoz-Flores (sectional qualifier), Ramsey (sectional qualifier), and Cody Silzer (sectional qualifier). “We return a lot of kids with meaningful varsity experience and a majority of last year’s team that was undefeated until meeting Montini in the (state) quarterfinals return. With our schedule that is pretty difficult to do,” said coach Oster. “We had wins over four teams that brought home trophies last year and it was done with incredible depth, which I believe we still have this year.”

Southwest Prairie Conference

Joliet Central

Coach: Patrick McGovern (second year)

Last year: 16-11

Top returners: Tony Toledo, 113, jr.; Jesus Vazquez, 113/120, jr.; Joe Carroll, 160, sr.; Neriah Ayivor, 170, sr.; Phil Johnston 195, jr; Camron Davis-Jones, 145, jr; Dean Adler, 126/132, sr; Keonte Lindsey, 285, sr; Josh Bierly, 170/182, jr; Stephanie Castro, 152, sr.

Key newcomers: Edwyn Ochoa, 126/132, jr.; Ryan Ruiz, 182, fr.; Juan Leon Zavala, 113, so.; Ed Davilla, 145, sr.

Worth noting: “I’m is excited about the group of incoming freshmen this year, and also the great senior leadership in the room with Carroll and Ayivor for the young athletes to look up to,” said McGovern. “Both athletes qualified for the sectional tournament last year, while Carroll (28-15) and Toledo (at 106) are both primed for a possible shot at all-conference again this year. We have a lot of underclassmen this year and hope the seniors make the most out of their season in 2021.”

Joliet West

Coach: Chuck Rumpf (seventh year)

Last year: 15-5 overall, 4-1 in conference

Top returners: T.J. Mackey, 182, sr.; Justin Pullen, 170, jr.; Marcus Godfrey, 126, so.; Matteo Russi, 120, jr.; Jacob Schmitt, 195, jr.; Bryan McCoy, 220, jr.; Jovon Johnson, 195, so.

Key newcomers: Gavin Garcia, 152, fr.; Wyatt Schmitt, 285, fr.

Worth noting: “After graduating a great senior class in 2020, this group has big shoes to fill, but they are ready,” said Rumpf. “I’m really impressed with their toughness. We wrestle in a tough conference, so the dual schedule will be challenging. We are excited to have a season and ready to wrestle!”

106 pound class Minooka's Jack McClimon has control of Plainfield South's Gabe Hinkle and Jack McClimon won on Thursday, January 25, 2018 held at Plainfield South High School Joliet,Ill.

106 pound class Minooka’s Jack McClimon has control of Plainfield South’s Gabe Hinkle and Jack McClimon won on Thursday, January 25, 2018 held at Plainfield South High School Joliet,Ill. (Larry W/)


Coach: Mike Kimberlin (first year)

Last year: 21-2

Top returners: Dylan Harder, 106, 23-10, jr.; Joe Cecala, 120, 31-12, sr.; Nathan Berta, 138, 27-8, sr.; Michael Ruettiger, 145, 29-13, sr.; Landon Jaimie, 152, 13-9, sr.; Jack McClimon, 160, 31-13, sr.; Justin Lechelt, 220, 26-13, sr.; Dominic Schiavonne, 126, 10-9, so.; Elijah Munoz, 132, 10-2, so.

Key newcomers: Isaac Alvarez, 113, jr.; Nate Masters, 170, sr.; Eli Lewis, 170, sr.; Mason Spivey, 182, sr.; Louis Johnson, 195; Luc Strange, 195.

Worth noting: Minooka, which was the conference dual and tournament champions, as well as sectional champs and team state qualifier, returns a number of solid wrestlers from a year ago including McClimon (three-time sectional qualifier, regional champ, sectional runner-up, and state qualifier in 2020), Cecala (two-time sectional qualifier, state alternate), and Berta (two-time state alternate). Only two losses came against Mt. Carmel to begin and end the season. “This season will be anything but normal, but we are grateful to have the opportunity to compete,” said Kimberlin. “Our wrestlers and coaches are going to make the most out of the situation we are in.”

Plainfield East

Coach: Chuck Trabaris (first year, 13th overall)

Last year: 16-13, 3-2 in conference

Top Returners: Tommy Manetti, 170, 33-10, sr.; Hunter McCluskey, 126, 15-20, jr.; Cole Peterson, 145, 8-5, sr.

Key newcomers: Aidan Villar, 113, fr.; Nico Duggan, 138, fr.

Worth noting: Leading that group of upperclassmen is Manetti, who was a sectional qualifier during last season, and according to Trabaris, is looking to dominate this season. “We are in the process of rebuilding our lineup after graduating a lot of seniors last year,” said Trabaris. “We have a strong group of wrestlers who are looking to make a name for themselves by stepping into the varsity lineup on a more permanent basis. In addition, we have a good core group of athletes that had significant varsity time last year who are looking to build on their success.”

Plainfield South

Coach: Miguel Silva (first year)

Last year: 15-14, 5-0 in conference

Top returners: John Pacewic, 195; Ethan Hartnell 145; Alexis Janiak, 126 (Women’s); Gabe Hinkle, 126

Key newcomers: Rudy Silva, fr., 113; Rocco Silva, fr.; 120, Matthew Janiak, fr., 152

Worth noting: Silva has a young varsity team with lots of potential to complement the junior and senior groups. Pacewic is a returning state qualifier and is currently ranked #3 at 195 by Illinois Matmen. Silva and Janiak were both IKWF state qualifiers last year as eighth graders and are expected to be strong contributors in the lineup this season. Janiak is currently training for the World Team Trials in May. Plainfield South was the Eastern Division Champs last year in the SPC Conference going 5-0 in dual action.


Coach: Rick Dellamorte (fourth year)

Last year: 2-4 in conference

Top returners: Jaden Ruiz, 120, sr.; Kaden McShaw, 126, so.; Sergio Dondiego, 145; Johnathan Espinoza-Luna, 195; Jordan Maloney, 220; Brain Farley, 106; Mason Gougis, 160

Key newcomers: Brain Farley, 106, fr.; Greyson McDonald, 113, fr.; Josh Dennison, 170, sr.

Worth noting: Dellamorte said his teams have has improved each year and he expects the same this season. He also is hoping to see his squad improve its conference record and moving forward to the postseason.”

South Suburban Conference

February 15, 2019 - Champaign, IL - Lemont's Evan Schiffman wrestles Marian's Josh Glover during their -pound semifinal match at the Illinois High School Association Individual Wrestling State Finals. (Photo: PhotoNews/Chris Johns)

February 15, 2019 – Champaign, IL – Lemont’s Evan Schiffman wrestles Marian’s Josh Glover during their -pound semifinal match at the Illinois High School Association Individual Wrestling State Finals. (Photo: PhotoNews/Chris Johns) (Chris Johns/)


Coach: Erik Murry (first year)

Last year: 23-2, Class 2A state champions

Top returners: Tyler Bentley, 113, sr.; Evan Schiffman, 126, jr.; Sam Schuit, 132, so.; Jake Zator, 145/152, jr.; Conner Stomp, 160, sr.; Alex Tagler, 170, jr.; Moe Khalil, 182, jr.; Tyler Wilms, 220, jr.; Mo Jarad, 285, sr.

Key newcomers: Carter Mikolajczak, 106, fr.; Cooper Mikolajczak, 138/145, sr.; Peyton Saloman, 145, so.; Cole Brannigan, 182/195, jr.; Johnny O’Connor, 138, so.; Noah O’Connor, 120, fr.

Worth noting: Lemont returns to the mats as reining Class 2A champions and will be a tough team to beat again this season. Jarad captured the Class 2A state championship at 285 last season and Schiffman finished fourth at 106 in 2019. “We are elated to get back on the mat and compete,” said Murry. “Our kids are even more excited for the regional, sectional, and state competition in June. Our team goals are to win conference duals, while each individual wrestler has set up their own goals they want to meet by season’s end.”

Interstate 8 Conference


Coach: Lenny Tryner (third year)

Last year: 9-11

Top returners: Nolan Washburn, 120, sr.; Cameron Skoff, 138, so.; Milton Mondragon, 145, sr.; Julian Gonzalez Jr., 152, jr.; Bryce Claypool, 160, sr.; Jorge Loza, 182, jr.; Drayden McKerrow, 195, sr.; Brett Hall, 285, sr.

Key newcomer: Tyler Semlar, 132, fr.

Worth noting: McKerrow is a returning two-time sectional qualifier, while Washburn, Gonzalez Jr., and Claypool each qualified for sectionals in 2020. “We have four returning sectional qualifiers and a few freshman and sophomores that should be good contributors to the team this year,” said Tryner. “Our wrestlers have shown improvement over the last year and we have a few new wrestlers that are developing nicely.”

Illinois Central Eight Conference

Coal City

Coach: Mark Masters (20th year)

Last year: 39-9

Top returners: Mateo Blessing, 138, 17-11, so.; Gabe Ludes, 160, 30-24, sr.; Zach Finch, 145, 36-14, jr.; Connor Huston, 152, 35-8, sr.; Joey Brenneman, 182, 20-10, so.

Key newcomers: Brant Widlowski, 106, fr.; Jake Piatak, 120, so.; John Housman, 113, jr.; Chase Dehler, 126, fr.; Drake Dearth, 195, so.

Worth noting: “We are young, inexperienced, and lack depth,” said Masters. “We have three starters, as well as several underclassmen playing baseball or participating in track. Hopefully, this isn’t a sign for things to come in the future.”


Coach: Phil Thorne (first year)

Top returners: Marco Spinazzola, 145/152, so.; Kevin Hogan, 145/152, jr.; Brett Knapp, 152/160, sr.; Joey Knapp, 138/145, sr.

Key newcomers: Ian Krekse, 120/126, fr.

Worth noting: Spinazzola and Hogan were both Class 1A state qualifiers in 2020. “Our group of student-athletes is very focused on getting better. I anticipate our group being competitive but mostly just looking to make improvements with every opportunity that presents itself,” said Thorne. “As a coaching staff, we have put a lot of focus on changing the culture by raising the bar of expectation in each and every practice. With hopes to have a great group of kids who are all very high character kids who love to compete. We have added some depth to the schedule with more focus on providing the opportunity for the kids to face some good quality competition by adding some 2A and 3A teams. In regards to performance, we anticipate to be very solid 138-160 and hope those kids grow into those weights and take ownership in the leader’s role as the season progresses.”


Coach: Jeff Sukley (14th year)

Last year: 25-10

Top returners: Adell Gamboa, 39-4, sr.; Landon Markle; Ryan Tribble, 40-6, jr.; Kody Marschner, 34-8, so.; Brenden Tribe; Eric Housman

Key newcomers: Rex Pfeiffer; Sam Begler; Seth Billingsley

Worth noting: Gamboa (at 138), Tribble (at 113), and Marschner were all Class 1A state qualifiers in 2020. Sukley said the biggest goal will be to complete the season.


Coach: Rob Murphy (27th year)

Last year: 16-20

Top returners: Jack Narine, 152, 27-9, sr.; Nick Gornick, 220, 28-7, sr.; Aiden Wooters, 182, 27-13, sr.; Marcus Morris, 160, 24-21, sr.; Jake Prescott, 138, 19-18, jr.; Luke Boudreau, 152, jr.; Hunter Hays, 171, 21-21, so.; Aubin Shields, 106, 14-15, so.

Key newcomers: Landon Dooley, 113, fr.; Alex Fernandez, 106, fr.; Tristin Wandless, 106, fr.; Blake Adolfino, 120, fr.; Brandon Adolfino, 120, fr.; Parker Adams, 145, fr.; Priscilla Prescott, 132, fr.

Worth noting: Narine has posted a 110-36 mark in his previous three years and is a two-time state place winner and all-conference honoree and a three-time state qualifier. Gornick advanced to state and was an all-conference selection was Wooters. Dooley is an IESA state champion. “We are looking forward to a competitive season,” said Murphy. “I am very happy with the way practices are right now, everyone is working very hard. We should have a good year if everyone gets to the right weight classes.”

Sangamon Valley Conference


Coach: Todd Yegge (24th year, 27th overall)

Last year: 28-8

Top returners: Luke Sangston, 106, 36-12, sr.; Jaden Casey, 113/120, 34-13, jr.; Owen Feiner, 126, 37-11, jr.; Wilson Widman, 132, 22-20, sr.; Collin Wright, 145, 13-15, so.; Isaac Marques, 160, 23-21, sr.; Gavin Robertson, 182, 26-15, sr.; Gavin Mason, 195/220, 34-16, so.; Maveric Varland, 220, 23-16, sr.; Nathan Elliott, 285, 21-17, sr.; Dominick Griffin, 145/152, 15-2, so.

Key newcomers: Nate Othon, 113/120, fr.; Alex Bogner, 220/285, fr.; Kyler Hahn, 106/113, so.; Asher Hamby, 138, fr.; Chris Peura, 170, fr.

Worth noting: Mason was a Class 1A state qualifier in 2020, while Sangston, Casey, Feiner, Marques, Robertson, and Elliott were all sectional qualifiers. “We have a good mix of veteran and young talent, including three incoming freshmen that qualified for the IESA State tournament but did not get a chance to perform due to COVID,” said Yegge. “We have seven returning sectional qualifiers and two others that were fourth last year at regionals. We have a lot of strength in our lower weights and in the uppers as well. Feiner is ready to breakout this season, Mason may be down a weight from his state-qualifying performance last year, and I look for Sangston, Casey, and Robertson to have fantastic seasons. Our freshmen group is one of the most talented that I’ve had with experience coming in. We are excited by the challenging schedule we have set up with a lot of matches in a short amount of time. We have numerous 2A and a 3A teams on our schedule this season.”

Editor’s note: Some area schools declined to provide information about their programs.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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