Fenwick High School had four wrestlers participate in the IHSA Class 2A individual state finals held Feb. 16-18 at State Farm Center on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.
The Friars were hoping to get at least one wrestler on the podium, which would have meant all-state status. But against strong opponents, Fenwick could manage just two victories, and all four wrestlers who had advanced to the meet were eliminated on the competition’s second day.
“The spots we got in the brackets were pretty tough,” said Fenwick coach Seth Gamino. “We ran into some stiff competition.”
At 152 pounds, sophomore Aiden Burns (20-11) lost both of his matches via pin. In the first round, he was pinned in by Connor Cumbee of Joliet Catholic, then pinned by Kenny Rutherford of Peoria in the wrestleback.
Senior Vincent Fioravanti (21-14) at 160 also dropped both of his matches. He lost his opener to eventual state champion Mason Alessio of Joliet Catholic via technical fall, then dropped the wrestleback to Isaiah Duckworth of Carbondale 1-0.
“It was a locked hands call that cost Vincent [in the wrestleback],” Gamino said. “I didn’t agree with it, but you respect the referee’s opinion.”
At 170, senior Finn McGee (36-6) was pinned in the first round by Rock Island’s Amare Overton. He won his first wrestleback 9-4 over Alec Miller of Hinsdale South but lost 13-6 in his next match to Brenden Banz of Carbondale.
Sophomore Jack Paris (19-9) was the lone Friar to win his first-round match, defeating Cary-Grove’s Gabe Simpson 3-1 in the 182-pound class.
“In total Jack Paris fashion, he got a last-second takedown to win,” Gamino said. “That was exciting.”
But in the quarterfinals, Paris was pinned by Brennan Hauser of Mahomet-Seymour, then lost to Triad’s Koen Rodebush with one second left in the wrestleback.
“Finn and Jack each were one win away from advancing to the placement matches,” Gamino said.
The Friars are optimistic that with several key returnees, they can take another step forward next season.
“I’m extremely pleased with where the program is going,” said Gamino. “The guys are young and hungry; they want to be good and put Fenwick back on the map.”
OPRF’s Knackstedt knocked out in quarterfinals
Oak Park and River Forest High School had two wrestlers participate in the IHSA Class 3A individual state finals.
Sophomore Joe Knackstedt scored a major decision (12-4) in his first-round match at 132 pounds over Glenbrook South’s Max Brown. But in the quarterfinals, he was pinned in 3:14 by eventual state champion Sergio Lemley of Mount Carmel. Knackstedt then lost the wrestleback 9-8 to Sandburg’s Ryan Hinger to finish with a 35-13 record.
Freshman Zev Koransky saw his splendid debut season come to a quick end. He got pinned in his 113-pound opening match at 1:31 by Homewood-Flossmoor’s Deion Johnson, the eventual state runner-up, then fell in the wrestleback via a major decision (17-8) to Alejandro Cordova of Round Lake to finish the season 34-1.