Boys wrestling: St. Charles East’s Davino aims for 4th state title

CHAMPAIGN — The stage is set for an exciting finish when the 87th boys state wrestling tournament begins its third and final day inside State Farm Center Saturday on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign.

The area hit the jackpot Friday night when it advanced 12 into their respective championship matches which begin at 6 p.m. Saturday.

St. Charles East star Ben Davino (49-0) will look to add a fourth state title to his trophy case when he faces TJ Silva (Hononegah, 28-4) himself a two-time state champion at Dakota before moving over to the NIC-10 powerhouse.

The No. 1 ranked Davino (132) will be joined by teammates Dom Munaretto (113, 47-2) and Jayden Colon (144, 40-5) in the Grand March with the sophomore Munaretto in search of his second straight title.

He will face Nicholas Garcia (Marmion Academy, 44-7) while Colon meets No. 3 Evan Gosz (37-0) from Fremd.

Colon is after his third title, with Gosz, twice a third-place state medalist, is going after the Vikings’ sixth state crown in program history.

“We're all wrestling for Tyler (Guerra) the rest of the way,” said Colon, who watched his teammate suffer a tournament ending injury during his quarterfinal match with Zach Stewart (Marmion Academy) who finds himself in the 138-pound final against Justin Wardlow (Lockport, 41-6) who was a state runner-up a year ago.

Guerra was favored to win in this weight class, and Saints fans hope their senior star will return for dual-team sectionals next Tuesday.

The aforementioned Stewart will be joined by Joseph Favia (215) in the finals, where he will face No. 1 Kai Calcutt (30-4) from Loyola Academy.

It will be another Collin Carrigan (Glenbard West, 45-1) vs. Gunnar Garelli (Lyons Township, 47-2) final — this one the most important contest of the season.

Carrigan defeated Garelli last weekend in the sectional final at Hinsdale Central to help himself earn a top four seed here.

Garelli would stun No. 1 Owen Uppinghouse (Quincy, 53-1) in their quarterfinal to advance.

Garelli's teammate, Markus Ivanisevic (40-2, 285), produced a pair of marvelous victories Friday to reach his first final.

The first came over No. 4 Wyatt Schmitt (Joliet Central, 34-3) with an overtime thriller, then later against No. 2 Jonathan Rulo (Belleville East, 34-1) thanks to a strong finish over the 2023 state runner-up in 5-2 decision.

Next up for the Red Devils senior is No. 1 Dillan Johnson (Joliet Catholic Academy, 36-1) who is looking for a fourth straight title.

Ivanisevic has finished fifth here two straight years.

Fellow heavyweight Andy Burburija (Crystal Lake South, 35-0) is closing in on the fourth state title in program history and will have the opportunity to do so when he meets No. 2 Jack Barnhart (42-0) from Champaign Centennial in a final between the top two in this weight class.

“Anything can happen at 285 pounds (so) it was important to be smart, and take advantage of (him) starting down in the third period,” said the No. 1 man in his weight class who rode Alex Pasquale (Lemont, 32-4) hard for the entire third period to preserve his 1-0 victory.

No. 1 Michael Calcagno (IC Catholic) ran his record to a stunning 50-4 after his second pin of the day sent him into the 2A final at 215 pounds against Kaiden Morris (40-3) from Rochelle.

Calcagno won his first state title two years ago as a sophomore, but an ACL injury last season dashed his hopes to collect another big trophy.

No. 1 Jaylen Thomas (19-1) became the first from St. Francis to advance to a state final. He will wrestle Jason Dowell from Althoff for the Class 1A 285 title.

Day No. 3 begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with a series of wrestle-back matches all across the three classes — ending with the third-sixth place matches.

The always thrilling Grand March begins at 5:30 p.m., and will be followed immediately by the championship matches.

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