St. Charles East's Davino among 4 locals who reach 3A state title matches
CHAMPAIGN -- The celebration of a long list of all-star wrestlers from the area who will compete for a state title has likely inspired their family, friends and peers to be in attendance Saturday night inside State Farm Arena to cheer on their heroes.
Heading this vaunted group in 3A competition is St. Charles East super soph, Ben Davino, along with Jameson Garcia (Marmion Academy, 113) and his teammate, Tyler Perry. Batavia's Kaden Fetterolf also advanced into the final at 138.
"I believe now, Kaden has realized just how good he can be, and we look forward to his final tomorrow against Kole Brower (Moline, 46-1) where he has the chance to give us a second straight state championship after Mikey Caliendo did so last year," Batavia coach Scott Bayer said after Fetterolf's win over No. 2 Cole Rhemrev (Stevenson, 39-1).
Fetterolf is now 41-5.
Over in 2A, both Crystal Lake South and Aurora Christian can be seen all over the brackets when the spotlight shines brightly.
Davino (36-1) currently No. 4 in the nation, will face Massey Odiotti (Loyola Academy, 40-4) in the 120-pound final, while reigning state champion Garcia (31-4) has Damian Resendez (30-8) from state power Mt. Carmel.
Perry (39-3) will have No. 1 Braydon Thompson (Lockport, 44-0) opposite of him in the 170-pound final.
"(Sammie) Hayes (Sandburg) is tough on (legs), but when I was able to hit my shots on the outside, then go to work on him, and just have fun out there, I knew I could win this match and go on to the final," said Davino after his 9-2 victory.
It will be Shane Moran-Matt Jens (Grayslake Central, 47-2) III when the two top men at 182 pounds meet on Saturday night.
Moran (35-4) avenged an earlier loss to Jens last weekend in their sectional semifinal, and will now have the chance to give the Gators program its first state champion since Christian Olsen did so in 2019, after Eric Barone claimed the first ever in 2015.
"Having Eric in the room with me has been a big reason for my success, plus he's helped me so much with my mental game, and physically as well," said Moran, the No. 1 man in the state heading into this weekend.
"Shane came to me for help while I was finishing up my career at Illinois, and slowly but surely, I went back into the room at South, and he's a guy with an impressive GPA, and work ethic, so I am not surprised by his success thus far," added Barone.
Moran's teammate, Josh Glover (28-1), was dealt his first defeat of the season in a heartbreaking 5-3 semifinal defeat to Xavier Villalobos (Rochelle, 45-5) and will now have to work his way back through the 113-pound consolation bracket to earn a state medal.
Aurora Christian sent three into the 2A finals: Joe Fernau (126, 26-6), Braden Stauffenberg (152, 39-4) and Nate Wemstrom (36-5) at 195.
"It was a very good night for us at Aurora Christian, and for all of us seniors, this is something we've all been working towards since our freshman year," said Wemstrom.
"We've all be working as hard as we could, in and out of the room, with the plan of competing for a state title, so it feels great that the three of us will have the chance to do so," added Wemstrom.
Kaneland senior Cameron Phillips (39-6) was looking to reach the final just as former star Dan Goress did so in 2013.
Phillips lost to No. 1 Anthony Alanis (48-4) at 106 pounds, and will now look to navigate through wrestle-backs.
Burlington Central senior Nathan Kim (43-11) is still in the medal hunt in wrestle-backs where he is set to meet Aiden Cohen (42-4) of Deerfield Saturday morning.
"As a sophomore, Nathan was a .500 wrestler, and didn't get many matches last season due to COVID," said BC coach Vince Govea.
"(But) he's a difficult guy to wrestle because of his jujitsu-style background, and of his (11) losses, all have come against state ranked opponents, and we feel he's been closing the gap on all of them during these past few weeks."
Saturday will open with quarterfinal action in all three classes at 9 a.m. followed immediately with semifinal wrestle-backs, and third-, and fifth-place medal bouts.
The highly anticipated Grand March will begin at 5:30 p.m. with finals in all three classes to start at 6 p.m.