Wrestling: Scouting DuPage County

  • Glenbard North's Paulie Robertson, top, is one of the best returning wrestlers in DuPage County this season.

    Glenbard North's Paulie Robertson, top, is one of the best returning wrestlers in DuPage County this season. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard North's David Gilliam, wrestles Lake Park's Dominik Mallinder at 120 pounds Saturday during the first DuKane Conference meet at Wheaton Warrenville South. ?

    Glenbard North's David Gilliam, wrestles Lake Park's Dominik Mallinder at 120 pounds Saturday during the first DuKane Conference meet at Wheaton Warrenville South. ? Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/29/2021 9:19 PM

Top athletes: Nolan Allen, Glenbard North, jr., 145; Nick Antonietti, Naperville Central, sr., 285; Sedeeq AlOeadi, Wheaton Warrenville South, soph., 160; Zean AlOeadi, Wheaton Warrenville South, jr., 152; Pierre Baldwin, West Chicago, sr., 126; Sean Berger, York, jr., 126; Ben Bielawski, Downers Grove North, jr., 182; Elliott Broccardo, Waubonsie Valley, sr., 138; Luke Buntin, Waubonsie Valley, sr., 285; Michael Calcagno, IC Catholic Prep, soph., 160; Griffin Carr, Hinsdale South, jr., 220; Victor Castro, Wheaton North, jr., 126; Oscar Choi, Hinsdale South, sr., 120; Cam Clark, Naperville North, sr., 138; Jayden Colon, Montini, soph., 145; Jack Connell, York, sr., 145; Garrett Dahn, Naperville North, sr., 160; Trye Davis, Glenbard South, sr., 120; Connor DelAlcazar, Glenbard South, sr., 195; Cody Dertz, Glenbard North, sr., 170; Michael DiBenedetto, Lake Park, jr., 120; Justin Dickson, Fenton, sr., 138; Philip Dozier, Glenbard West, sr., 195; Donny Fields, Downers Grove South, jr., 113; Diego Garcia, Glenbard East, sr., 138; Isaiah Gonzalez, IC Catholic Prep, jr., 285; Evan Grazzini, York, sr., 195; Andrew Gron, Glenbard East, sr., 132; Jacob Housour, Waubonsie Valley, sr., 195; Will Hupke, soph., 120; Peter Johanik, Wheaton Academy, sr., 220; Tag Kazmierczak, Wheaton Academy, jr., 126; Nathan Kelley, Glenbard East, sr., 285; Josh Killacky, Neuqua Valley, sr., 126; Victor Klimczyk, Fenton, sr., 170; Harrison Konder, Downers Grove North, soph., 138; Max Konopka, Glenbard West, sr., 170; Gavin Krisik, Glenbard South, sr., 220; Sam Lemp, Wheaton North, jr., 132; Jordan Lewis, Downers Grove North, sr., 285; Ayden Lutes, Naperville Central, sr., 160; Nick Mabutas, Willowbrook, sr., 170; Dominik Mallinder, Lake Park, sr., 126; Dominick Marre, Glenbard North, soph., 106; James Marre, Glenbard North, sr., 113; Ty Martin, Naperville Central, soph., 113; Charlie May, Willowbrook, sr., 152; David Mayora, Montini, soph., 152; Devin Medina, Wheaton North, jr., 160; Jaden Mims, IC Catholic Prep, sr., 220; Patrick Moore, Wheaton Warrenville South, sr., 145; Jimmy Nugent, Downers Grove South, sr., Joe Olalde, sr., 160; 138; Ethan Olson, Naperville Central, jr., 126; Paul Orizba, Glenbard South, sr., 152; Steve Orsolini, Glenbard South, sr., 170; Kon Papadopoulos, Fenton, sr., 170; Zach Parisi, York, jr., 113; Isaiah Perez, Glenbard West, sr., 126; Zach Poling, Glenbard East, sr., 113; Tommy Porter, Naperville Central, sr., 138; Will Prater, Montini, jr., 170; Jack Reina, Neuqua Valley, sr., 120; Nick Renteria, IC Catholic Prep, sr., 120; David Ridges, Neuqua Valley, sr., 170; Paulie Robertson, Glenbard North, sr., 285; Mikey Rosch, Wheaton North, jr., 170; Umair Siddiqui, Naperville North, jr., 106; Brennan Skoda, Glenbard West, sr., 160; Elijah Smith, Willowbrook, jr., 126; Isaiah Smith, Willowbrook, jr., 132; Luke Swan, Downers Grove South, jr., 145; Cody Tavoso, Hinsdale Central, jr., 126; Saul Trejo, IC Catholic Prep, jr., 113; Sean Van Sleet, York, jr., 132; Manny Wallace, Hinsdale South, sr., 160.

Notable female athletes: Amaya Askia-Day, Waubonsie Valley, soph., 125; Katelyn Bell, Montini, fr., 100; Dahlia Leighton, sr., 120; Sophia Sosa, Fenton, soph., 145; Gracie Swierczysnki, Downers Grove South, soph., 182; Noelia Vazquez, Fenton, sr., 190.

 

Scouting report: Montini and Glenbard North have been the undeniable standard-bearers among local programs since the dawn of the new century.

But the two traditional powerhouses could not be headed in more opposite directions as the new wrestling season begins in earnest.

Montini showed no mercy to its Class 3A brethren two seasons ago in storming to yet another state title, adding to its record for team state championships.

But the Broncos are moving in a different direction as Pernevlon Sheppard, a former standout for Glenbard West, will be their third coach in as many seasons.

All of the Broncos' all-state athletes who contributed to their 2019 title who have yet to graduate have transferred elsewhere.

Combined with a shrinking enrollment, Montini has been reclassified to 2A this season.

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Glenbard North, on the other hand, is seeking to reassert its influence on the largest-class system with an extremely talented, not to mention, deep squad.

The Panthers captured 11 state trophies between 2001 and 2015, capped by the only state championship in program history in 2011.

Travis Cherry has returned to his alma mater to replace legendary coach Mark Hahn.

Cherry, who directed the Wheaton North program before assuming the reins at the Carol Stream school, will begin his first full season after the pandemic forced the IHSA to move the traditional winter sport to a spring setting earlier this year.

"I think Glenbard North is probably the favorite (to win state)," said Naperville North coach Tom Champion, whose pulse for the talent in the sport extends far beyond the western suburbs. "But we don't see them as much anymore."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Since leaving the DuPage Valley Conference to help form the DuKane Conference, the Panthers have continued to showcase the traditional traits of the program.

"I wouldn't disagree (with Champion)," said St. Charles East coach Jason Potter, whose squad fell to the Panthers in the team dual series for the unofficial state championship in the coaches' association (IWCOA) tournament last spring. "Even though they are new to our conference, they have dominated in their past conference."

The Marre brothers and heavyweight Robertson are true bookends for Glenbard North.

Dominick Marre is ranked among the top 106-pounders in the state after finishing fifth at the coaches' tournament last spring.

Robertson, at the other end of the weight spectrum, enters the season as No. 2 in the coaches' poll.

At 138 pounds, the Panthers' Allen and Downers North sophomore Harrison Konder are primed to be prominently featured come February at the individual state meet in Champaign.

In the coaches' preseason poll, the Panthers were ranked No. 4, behind Mt. Carmel -- state runner-up to Montini two seasons ago -- Lockport and DeKalb.

Surprisingly, the only other local program ranked by the IWCOA near the top 20 is Naperville Central.

The Redhawks will face off against defending DuPage Valley Conference champion DeKalb behind its quintet of battle-tested veterans Martin, Olson, Porter, Lutes and Antonietti.

Naperville Central opened its season with a razor-thin win over highly regarded Batavia and a much more-comfortable triumph against York at its home quadrangular over the holiday weekend.

The Redhawks checked in at No. 21 in the coaches' poll.

City rivals Downers Grove South and North were not far behind in the coaches' preseason estimations.

Downers South coach Sean Lovelace seeks to continue the Mustangs' stranglehold on the West Suburban Gold.

"I would say that most (league) teams would say that we are the team to beat," Lovelace said.

Lovelace also pointed out a legitimate concern for all programs this winter, particularly those athletes who play both football in the fall before transitioning to wrestling in the winter.

"They are basically playing four seasons in one year," Lovelace said of the pandemic-altered scheduling of the two sports. "That's a lot for a 14-to-18-year-old athlete to handle."

Fields and Nugent are both state ranked entering the season for Downers South.

Downers North coach Dan McGrath will unleash not only Konder but also Bielawski -- ranked fifth at 182 -- on the Silver.

As is typically the case, there will not be a shortage of quality wrestlers on the Silver side this year.

Nick Posegay will end his 35-year association with Glenbard West with the conclusion of the girls track and field season in the spring.

But the Hilltoppers' wrestling coach has unfinished business this winter.

Dozier is the top-ranked 195-pounder in Class 3A.

"He is at the best level I have ever seen him wrestle," Posegay said of Dozier. "He wants to win the whole thing."

Konopka and Perez are also returning state qualifiers for Glenbard West; Skoda further anchors the Hilltoppers' upper-middle-weights.

"That's a good crop of seniors," Posegay said of his quartet.

At Hinsdale Central, Tavoso is the only returning all-stater from two seasons ago who has neither graduated nor transferred.

Back on the Gold side, Mabutas seeks the ultimate daily double at Willowbrook.

"He is looking to join that rare company at our school by being both all-state in football and wrestling," Willowbrook coach Rich Ortiz said.

Lake Park is another school with a monstrous duo.

The Lancers' DiBenedetto and Mallinder are both legitimate state contenders at back-to-back weight classes.

In the DuPage Valley, Waubonsie Valley and Neuqua Valley each have a bona fide all-state candidate in Houshour and Reina, respectively.

Among the local schools in the smaller divisions, IC Catholic Prep is poised for a potential breakthrough in Class 1A.

This will be a milestone season in the sport.

The IHSA has sanctioned its first girls state tournaments for both individuals and teams.

The girls individual state tournament will be conducted in conjunction with the boys three team dual-match state finals in Bloomington at the end of February.

The two most accomplished returnees on the girls side are Vazquez, the reigning state champion for Fenton, and Swierczynski, who was third in the same weight class -- 182 -- at the coaches' sponsored postseason even last spring.

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