DuPage County and Fox wrestling notes: Marmion, St. Charles East separate from the pack
From the middle of December, and right up until 2023 is welcomed, wrestling tournaments galore splash across the area at venues such as Rex Whitlach, Dvorak and the Flavin.
The host towns of Hinsdale, Rockton Hononegah and DeKalb for the above high profile tournaments become, in essence, the epicenter of high school wrestling for the area -- and in the end, separate the best from the rest.
It's clear from the results at the Dvorak and the Flavin the best is Marmion Academy and St. Charles East, the two top teams in our most current Daily Herald Top 20 poll.
Just a few days ago, Marmion brushed aside all of its rivals in the 32-team field in DeKalb, including state powers Prospect, Marist and Joliet Catholic Academy on the second day to lift the championship trophy.
"The Flavin lived up to the hype, and is truly one of the best, if not the best tournaments in the state," said Cadets coach Anthony Cirrincione. "And for our guys, we wrestled and fought hard in all six duals to earn six victories over some terrific competition.
"This is the tightest knit group that I have ever been part of. The boys are truly brothers, and they all show each other tremendous support, both on and off the mat."
The quintet of Zach Stewart (120, 18-4), Jameson Garcia (126, 19-4), Collin Carrigan (9-1), Jack Lesher (182, 15-6) and Teddy Perry (220, 19-4) were all 6-0 at the Flavin, and each are all in the top four of their respective weight divisions, with the junior Carrigan No. 1 at 152.
St. Charles East (15-1-0) won the big prize at the Dvorak, on par with the Flavin. The Saints used individual titles from the No. 1 guys at 106 Dom Munaretto and Ben Davino (126) to edge-then No. 1 Marist (195-185).
St. Charles East then went 5-1 at the Flavin with its lone defeat (36-32) at the hands of reigning 2A state champion Joliet Catholic Academy, which dashed its hopes of reaching the team final.
Earlier in the month, both Munaretto and Davino were crowned champions at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman in Cleveland to further validate their status as the favorites in February in Champaign.
Notes and quotes:
The dynamic duo from Aurora Christian -- Deven Casey (113) and Josh Vazquez (120) -- along with Montini Catholic junior David Mayora (152) have had a terrific start to their 2022-2023 seasons as each have raised their level of quality from a year ago.
Casey and Vazquez, both No. 2 in their respective weight divisions, have taken aim at the men above them with the goal of reaching the top of the podium in Champaign.
Casey, who lost to Drew Davis (Glenwood) in his 106-pound state final last year, currently sits just behind Davis in the most recent polls, while Vazquez, fourth at state at 132, has reigning state champion Gylon Sims (Joliet Catholic Academy) in front of him.
Vazquez was second overall at the Dvorak, while Mayora, No. 1 in the state currently, was crowned champion at the Dvorak.
While awaiting reinforcements to its lineup from its 7A state runner-up football team, Batavia opened slow, but has since picked up its play to become one to watch not only in the DuKane Conference, and also the postseason.
The Bulldogs boast a fabulous foursome of Ino Garcia (113), Aidan Huck (120), Cael Andrews (145) and 2022 state runner-up Kaden Fetterolf (152, 27-0) to lead the way for coach Ryan Farwell.
"We have two great seniors (Andrews, and Fetterolf) who are showing the way in and away from the room, and I like how things are beginning to come around for us," said Farwell, in advance of his club winning the team title at the Glenbrook South Rus Erb Invite.
With the postseason assignments released, it appears both the Conant and Hinsdale Central 3A sectionals will be fiercely contested for area wrestlers.
A quick glance, has Nos. 2 (Jayden Colon, St. Charles East), Cody Tavoso and Batavia's Andrews (26-1) the headline acts at 145 on Tavoso's home mats at Hinsdale Central.
Colon was a 2A state champion last year at Montini Catholic, Tavoso has the chance to become only the third in Red Devils program history to claim four state medals, while Andrews is a two-time state qualifier.
At that same sectional venue, it will be No. 1 Carrigan (Marmion Academy), No. 3 Harrison Konder (Downers Grove North) and the aforementioned the No. 5 rated Fetterolf in a monster group at 152.
These two weight classes are just a few to mention among several at both sectionals that will put fans at the edge of their collective seats.
While Tavoso is in search of a fourth state medal, Downers Grove North senior, Ben Bielawski (285) hopes he can earn his fourth trip downstate and first state medal for himself, and first for the program since Cullen Cummings did so in 2013.
"Ben is an amazing young man who has fallen one match short of (placing) two years in a row at 182. (He's) hungry to get on that podium and his leadership is just invaluable to this team and our program," said coach Chris McGrath of Bielawski, who will play football next fall at D-III power, UW-Whitewater.
While Jacobs is young, two of their men are doing the program proud with their efforts thus far.
Seniors No. 7 Dominic Ducato and No. 4 James Wright stand tall at 113, and 132, respectively, each coming off strong performances at the Dvorak.
Ducato, runner-up at Dvorak is a two-time state qualifier, while Wright, third at Dvorak, is a three-time state qualifier.