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By Brad Spencer
Joey Ariola kept this varsity record perfect by sweeping through the Class 3A Individual State Wrestling Meet over the weekend and becoming OPRF High School's second state grappling champ in as many years.
Ariola won the 182-pound weight class by defeating Donnie Bell (36-8) of Homewood-Flossmoor 1-0 on Saturday at University of Illinois's Assembly Hall. Sammy Brooks won the weight class at state for the Huskies last year. Ariola takes a record of 46-0 into the upcoming Dual Team State playoffs. The senior scored the lone point on an escape.
Ariola wasn't the only Huskie to find success at the individual state meet. Four other grapplers placed for OPRF, including sophomore Larry Early, who finished second at 132 pounds to Marmion's George Fisher. Last season, Early placed third at state in the 120-pound weight class.
Davonte Mahomes emerged from the wrestlebacks to secure third place at 160 pounds. The junior also finished third at state last season.
Freshman Isaiah White (126) also finished third after losing to Jordan Northrup of Harlem. White defeated Nick Gil of Crystal Lake South 7-1 in the third place match. Fellow freshman Kamal Bey outwrestled A.J. Villareal of Lyons for the fourth time this season, securing a 6-3 decision to finish fifth at 152 pounds.
OPRF now turns its attention to the Class 3A Dual Team Sectionals that begin on Tuesday at Lake Park High School in Roselle. The Huskies face Conant. A win will advance OPRF to the Class 3A Dual Team State Meet to be held at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington on Feb. 23.