Boys wrestling: St. Charles East’s Davino completes 4-peat; Carrigan wins Glenbard West’s 1st title in 58 years

St. Charles East senior Ben Davino made history on Saturday when he became a four-time state champion.

The Ohio State recruit entered the Class 3A 132-pound championship match with a lot of name recognition – everyone at the State Farm Center was well aware of Davino’s impressive career.

And rightfully so.

Ranked No. 1 in the country in his weight class and hailed as “one of the best wrestlers to ever come out of Illinois” by St. Charles East coach Jason Potter, Davino had all eyes on his mat on Saturday night.

Davino’s road to his fourth state title wasn’t easy. He faced off against Hononegah two-time state champion Thomas Silva (28-4) in the first match of the finals on Saturday.

Davino made headlines throughout the season across the country with his drive to finish his career with a fourth state championship. Saturday was his crowning moment, the perfect capper to his illustrious career. Davino closed out his career in style with a tech fall (20-5) victory over Silva.

“Last year was kind of close in the finals, so I wanted a big win to end my career,” Davino said.

Davino (50-0) said he never let the pressure of his season-long pursuit for perfection faze him.

“It’s been fun,” Davino said. “There’s been no breaks, from going from one big tournament to another, just all these big tournaments. With everyone watching me, it just makes it that much more fun. It’s been a fun ride. This is my last time in high school. To end 50-0 in my individual season is great. I’ve had a lot of teammates supporting me and practice partners. I’ve had a phenomenal support group. That’s what it takes and that’s what I have. It’s been going really well for me. I’m happy to get there and do this.”

At 144 pounds, St. Charles East senior Jayden Colon (41-5) followed up Davino’s stellar showing on the mat by capturing the Saints’ second individual title in the opening 30 minutes of the finals. Colon won his third career state title by notching a 14-5 major-decision win over Fremd’s Evan Gosz, his first defeat of the season.

Colon, an Illinois recruit, said he was thrilled to end his career on his future mat with a memorable win.

“It’s crazy because I’m just getting over the fact that the match went like that, didn’t go as planned but I still got my hand raised,” Colon said. “I overcame a lot of adversity. It was kind of tough. It was awesome to come back and get those matches back that I had lost previous in the year and show how I can wrestle here. Every year there’s a new obstacle you have to get through. This year it was self-confidence and getting through the season mentally and prepare myself for the get ready to go on the big stage again.”

With Colon watching from the first walkway directly above his match, St. Charles East sophomore Dom Munaretto (47-3) was aiming to win his second straight state title in his career to put him on the same path as his Davino. But Marmion Academy’s Nicholas Garcia netted his first championship, defeating Munaretto 4-2 in the 3A 113-pound title match.

Seconds after his victory, Garcia (45-7) leaped into the arms of his two Marmion coaches following the conclusion of his spirited win.

“I’m feeling really excited,” Garcia said. “The key was to do the plan we set for the past month and it worked. It’s been 16 years waiting for this moment. I’ve been wrestling for like 13 years, so I’ve been waiting for this since I saw everyone else at my kids club winning.”

Marmion sophomore Zach Stewart opened up his program’s title run by winning the 2A 138-pound state championship, defeating Lockport’s Justin Wardlow 6-3 to accomplish his primary goal.

“Obviously, I had a tough opponent,” Stewart said of his 30th win. “He’s a very good wrestler. I went out there thinking I could win. I just had to go out there and do what I know what to do. I was hoping for a state title last year but battled through a few injuries. I came back with the right mindset and came back and got what I deserved.”

Marmion sophomore Joseph Favia lost to Loyola’s Kai Calcutt in the finals at 215 pounds, falling to 37-7 on the season.

Other area medalists included Batavia senior Ino Garcia, third at Class 3A 120 pounds; Batavia senior Aidan Huck, fourth at 144 pounds; St. Charles East senior Gavin Connolly, third at 150 pounds; St. Charles East junior Anthony Gutierrez, fourth at 165 pounds; St. Charles East senior Brody Murray, third at 175; and Kaneland senior Kamron Scholl, fifth in the Class 2A 120-pound division.

Naperville Central senior Nicholas Bestiero came close to advancing into the 215-pound final after an intense semifinal match with Joseph Favia (Marmion Academy) ended in a 3-2 defeat.

Bestiero (29-8), who finished fourth last weekend in his high profile weight class at Hinsdale Central, beat a pair of returning state qualifiers to stay alive in the front draw before meeting Favia.

Bestiero would later finish sixth overall to give the Redhawks their 19th state medal in program history, and first since Jackson Punzel did so in 2019 at 170 pounds.

West Aurora’s power-packed duo of Dominic Serio and Noah Quintana finished three hard-fought days in Champaign in style when they each claimed fourth place 3A state medals.

Serio (33-4) needed four matches in wrestle-backs to garner his first medal at 150, while his teammate Quintana (157, 31-8), a three-time state qualifier, grabbed the first of his career.

"My dad (Rob Serio, Glenbard North) reminded me after I lost my state qualifier that he came back in 1994 to finish third overall - so I guess I never really felt like I didn't have the chance to do the same after what my dad told me," said Serio.

Quintana bounced back with confidence after his semifinal loss on Friday to eventual state champion Aaron Stewart (Warren) with a well deserved victory in his wrestle-back semifinal dropping a decision to No. 3 Brody Sendele (Hononegah) in his final contest of his career.

"I knew it would an unbelievable effort to get past Stewart - so I just tried to wrestle smart, not get injured (then) turn my focus towards my next match here this morning so I could get a top six finish," said Quintana.

Jake Matthews was a three-time state qualifier for Addison Trail, but in his trips downstate he was not able to bring home a state medal. However, Saturday afternoon senior Damian Valdez (34-13) did just that when he earned a sixth-place medal at 132 pounds, and the 19th in program history.

DuPage County

Collin Carrigan’s impact on the Glenbard West wrestling program can’t solely be measured by titles.

He already put his championship stamp on the Hilltoppers by showing his teammates his mental and physical training methods to become a state champion.

A transfer from wrestling factory Marmion, Carrigan brought his talents this season to the Glen Ellyn campus.

“I think we haven’t even had a finalist since 1966 or so or at least something crazy,” Carrigan said. “I was new this year, so it was sweet to be here and help the program.”

Carrigan provided his best example on Saturday night in the Class 3A 165-pound state championship match against Lyons senior Gunnar Garelli.

Carrigan battled a familiar foe in Garelli. Both wrestlers share a bond through their college commitment. Carrigan is a North Carolina recruit, while Garelli is a Virginia Tech signee.

The two future ACC wrestlers are very familiar with each other after having faced each other in the regular season, plus at regionals and sectionals this season, leading up to a third postseason match at the state tournament.

As expected, the Carrigan-Garelli match was must-see, extending into overtime on Mat 3. Carrigan celebrated his 6-5 victory with a double-bicep pose, while doing a circle around the mat to allow all sections of the arena to notice his accomplishment.

Carrigan became Glenbard West’s second state champion, joining Fred Beilfuss from the 1965-66 season.

“I got the job done,” Carrigan said.

Garelli (47-3), who placed fourth at state last season to become the first all-stater at Lyons since 2017, lost to Carrigan in the sectional finals. But he earned an upset over top-ranked Owen Uppinghouse of Quincy in the quarterfinals to set the stage for another matchup with Carrigan.

In front of a large crowd cheering on the match, Carrigan’s sudden death victory improved his record to a stellar 46-1.

The two West Suburban Conference Silver opponents entered the finals with an even record in the playoffs, with Garelli defeating Carrigan in the regionals. Carrigan returned the favor by beating Garelli at sectionals.

“It was hard to prepare for him again because we’ve wrestled so many times,” Carrigan said. “I had to mentally prepare and I knew it was going to be a dogfight and he wanted it as much as me. I had to get the job done.”

Montini’s David Mayora captured a hard-fought 3-2 win over IC Catholic’s Brody Kelly in the Class 2A 150-pound title match. Mayora (38-1) said he accomplished his season-long goal, battling for six minutes to notch a state title against a quality opponent in Kelly (33-8).

“I was able to get the job done, so I’m happy and everyone is happy,” Mayora said. “I had a great season. I felt like I should’ve pushed the pace more, but I’m happy with the state title.”

Calcagno, a standout football player, bounced back from a tough injury-filled junior season to win the state title in 2A at 215 pounds, pinning Rochelle’s Kaiden Morris in the second period for his second career title.

“I just went out there and got it done,” Calcagno said. “I controlled my position and capitalized on his mistakes. I still have team sectionals on Tuesday. Last year was tough because I tore my ACL, but I got it done this year.”

His teammate, Deven Casey, added to IC Catholic’s title run by winning at 120 pounds to raise his record to 34-4, earning a 3-0 win over Glenwood star wrestler Drew Davis (42-1), a three-time defending state champion.

“I’ve lost to (Davis) three times, so I kind of knew what I was getting myself into,” Casey said. “I went out there and put everything out there on the mat. I trained hard for this match and knew in close matches that if I’m tired, then he’s got to be tired. A lot of people thought it was an upset, but I knew looking at the bracket that this was mine.”

Montini freshman Allen Woo lived up this season-long promise by ending his season with the 2A 106-pound state title, knocking off veteran Wauconda junior Gavin Rockey for the second straight week with a 7-4 triumph in the finals.

“I put in hard work in the practice room and was training every day,” Woo said. “My family and my coaches helped me. My brother taught me everything and he got me into the sport.”

Hinsdale Central senior Marko Ivanisevic lost via pin to four-time state champion, Joliet Catholic’s Dillan Johnson, in the 3A 285-pound championship. In 1A, St. Francis sophomore Jaylen Torres suffered a 2-1 defeat to Althoff Catholic’s Jason Dowell in a spirited bout in the 285-pound final.

Other area medalists included York’s Zack Parisi, fifth at Class 3A 132; Downers Grove South’s Matt Lapacek, fourth at Class 3A 190; Montini’s Mikey Malizzio, third at Class 2A 113; Montini’s Kam Luif, third at Class 2A 132; IC Catholic’s Omar Samayoa, fifth at Class 2A 132; IC Catholic’s Bryson Spaulding, third at Class 2A 138; IC Catholic’s Pat Mullen, third at Class 2A 144; Lemont’s Noah O’Connor, fifth at Class 2A 150; Montini’s Harrison Konder, third at Class 2A 157; IC Catholic’s Joe Gliatta, third at Class 2A 165; IC Catholic’s Foley Calcagno, third at Class 2A 190; Lemont’s Alex Pasquale, fifth at Class 2A 285; and Wheaton Academy’s Lincoln Hoger, fifth at Class 1A 126.

– Mike Garofola contributed

  Marmion Academy’s Zach Stewart is declared the winner against Lockport’s Justin Waredlow in the Class 3A 138-pound bout at the IHSA state individual boys wrestling championships at the University of Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. John Starks/
  Fremd’s Evan Gosz and St. Charles East’s Jaden Colon, in orange, in the in the Class 3A 144-pound bout at the IHSA state individual boys wrestling championships at the University of Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. John Starks/
  Glenbard West’s Collin Carrigan after his win against Lyons’ Gunnar Garelli in the Class 3A 165-pound bout at the IHSA state individual boys wrestling championships at the University of Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. John Starks/
  Glenbard West’s Collin Carrigan after his win against Lyons’ Gunnar Garelli in the Class 3A 165-pound bout at the IHSA state individual boys wrestling championships at the University of Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. John Starks/
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