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News Archive - Most Recent News Is at the Top

2008-2009 Postseason


Big banquet for the Little Huskies
Celebration forthcoming on April 16 · 04/06/2009

Little Huskies Wrestling Banquet

Who? All Little Huskies Wrestlers and their Families
When? Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 6pm
Where? OPRF South Cafeteria
Why? To celebrate another great wrestling season with participation trophies and special awards!

Catered dinner including: Fried Chicken, Mostaccioli, Meatballs, Salads and Dessert

Cost: This year, the cost of dinner is being covered by the Little Huskies Wrestling Club (anyone wishing to make a donation to the Club to help defray the cost of the banquet can do so that evening)

RSVP: RSVP with # attending to Mary Matticks by April 11th | Mary Matticks or to 708/524-2060 (leave message)

Event flyer: Click here to view the event flyer.  (Microsoft Word, 20 KB)



Historic wrestling banquet delivers the goods

Click on a photo to see a larger version (Photos by Brian Tideman)

OPRF was the site for the 2009 Huskie Wrestling End-of-the-Year Banquet.  As an unofficial spokesperson of the crowd that gathered in the cafeteria, I will speak for all and say that the banquet was a top notch event.  Here are a few (of the many) key points to take away:

  • Our parents and Huskie Wrestling Family deserve an amazing amount of thanks

  • Our coaching staff, too

  • Despite results on the mat, dedication and pride are rewards unto themselves

  • If you want to max your potential, commit yourself (offseason wrestling, anyone?)

  • OPRF wrestling looks just as cool on video than it does in person

  • Mike Powell is just as good an entertainer as he is a coach

  • The future is immensely bright

  • And, in the meantime, take a breath, and enjoy the present



Visual Image Photography presents: The coolest poster you'll ever see

View the complete version (PDF, 238 KB)



2008-2009 Postseason Awards

The Doings/Pioneer Press West All-Area Wrestling Team - link

First Team (4): Chris Dardanes (125), Nick Dardanes (130), Ellis Coleman (135), Dan Martin (145)
Second Team (2): Benny Brooks (189), LaQuan Hightower (285)
Honorable Mention (3): Joey Brown (103), Sammy Brooks (152), Matt Monson (215)

Pioneer Wrestling Awards - link

Co-Wrestler of the Year: Nick Dardanes, OPRF
Coach of the Year: Mike Powell, OPRF
Rookie of the Year: Sammy Brooks, OPRF



Huskie Wrestling Banquet upcoming on Wed. March 25

When: March 25 from 5:30-8:00
Where: OPRF cafeteria
Food: Pot luck (Freshmen - salads/appetizers; Sophomores - desserts; Juniors/Seniors - entrees)
Schedule: Eat (5:30-6:30) Awards (6:30-8:00)

Click here to view the event flyer.  (Microsoft Word, 24 KB)



2008-2009: One last look at history

Click here to view the featured articles.  Read and relive all of the action and stories from this historical season.  Thanks to Mack Bolen, the Wednesday Journal, and the Oak Leaves for the wonderful articles.

In my attempt to honor these fine young men, I have assigned a nickname to each Varsity wrestler.  Some names are borrowed; most are original.  Nicknames are meant to be complimentary.  If I missed a wrestler on the Varsity postseason roster, please let me know.

Thank you all for a wonderful season.  You are my heroes.

  • Benny "The Bulldozer" Brooks
  • Sammy "The Steamroller" Brooks
  • "Downtown" Joey Brown
  • Isaac "The Igniter" Chadri
  • Ellis "Bubbles" Coleman
  • Chris "The Cannon" Dardanes
  • Nick "The Knife" Dardanes
  • Brock "The Iceman" Friesen
  • "Eveready" Eddie Guen-Murray
  • LaQuan "The Low Down" Hightower
  • Kendall "Clutch Hutch" Hutchinson
  • Sean "Action" Jackson
  • Charlie "Chuckles" Johnson
  • Patrick "Marine" Lavigne
  • Anthony "The Manhandler" Manetti
  • Dan "The Marksman" Martin
  • "Scrappy" Aaron Minnis
  • Matt "The Machine" Monson
  • Jordan "The Punisher" Patush
  • "Laser" Liam Pegg
  • Frankie "Pickaxe" Picchiotti
  • Brendan "The Brawler" Rogers
  • Jake "The Jackhammer" Venerable
  • "Colossal" Chris Wilson
  • John "The Juggernaut" Wilson


Spring Fling: OPRF Huskie Booster Club Dinner Dance & Auction
upcoming on Saturday, March 21, 2009, at Concordia University

This Huskie Booster Club event will take place at 6:30 PM at Concordia University. 

Included will be: Dancing, Open Bar, Live & Silent Auction, Dream Vacation Raffle, Fresh & Fabulous Buffet

Music by: The New Invaders  |  Buy tickets online at:

Tickets are $85.00 per person or one table of 10 for $800.00.

RSVP by March 14 please!  |  Questions?  Email Patty Jurczak at

Click here to view the event flyer.  (Adobe PDF, 351 KB)



Nick Dardanes is the Tribune/WGN-Ch. 9 Athlete of the Month

Photo by Brian Tideman

Nick Dardanes has earned the Tribune/WGN-Ch. 9 Athlete of the Month Award.  To cap off a great season, Nick earned the first OPRF individual state championship since 1994.  Watch tonight's (Sunday, March 8) WGN News at 9 for a story.  Congratulations, NIck!

Read the Chicago Tribune article here -- now with video!



Pin kings and pin queens: Bowl and reception a success

Bowlers enjoyed the friends and fun at Circle Lanes.



Candlelight bowl this Saturday @ Circle Lanes (5-7 PM)

Adults, come out to support the Huskie wrestling program!  $50 donation gets you food and, better yet, exaggerated stories from Coach Mike Powell. 

Full schedule of the night's affairs:

5 - 7 PM: Candlelight bowling at Circle Lanes
After 7 PM: Reception at The Avenue Ale House.  Food will be served at the Ale House.

Circle Bowl (Forest Park) - 7244 Circle Ave, Forest Park, IL  60130

Avenue Ale House (Oak Park) - 825 S. Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL  60304

Updated: 2009 Candlelight Bowl (Microsoft Publisher, 251 KB)



Trophy triumph: 33-30 victory over Minooka
has OPRF nation in Huskie heaven
OPRF captures 1st dual team title · 02/28/2009


After his pin victory clinched OPRF's championship, Sammy Brooks hoists the 3A championship trophy.

What a day of wrestling!  Rather, I should say what a year!  The OPRF Huskies won their first dual team state championship in history win a 33-30 hard-fought victory over the Minooka Indians.  It was the second time in 13 years that two public schools met for state supremacy.

OPRF (24-0 overall) capped off an amazing season full of maturation, education, achievement, and -- yes -- surprises in front of an amazing group of family, friends and fans.  Here is a brief summary that doesn't do the day justice:

Quarterfinals: OPRF defeats Naperville Central 42-22.

The dual meet began at 160 pounds.  In one of only two non-forfeit victories, Naperville Central scored a victory when Joe Savina defeated Chris Wilson.  OPRF won 10 of the remaining 11 contested bouts.  The Huskies scored falls from Matt Monson and The Great Dardanes.  LaQuan Hightower sat out this meet, and you could see he was well-rested during his match versus Edwardsville.  Benny Brooks, Kendall Hutchinson, and Aaron Minnis scored decision victories.  Liam Pegg was defeated at 119 pounds, and Joey Brown, Jake Venerable, and Dan Martin earned bonus points in victories.  It was Naperville Central's first appearance at team state since the format began in the early 80's.  The Redhawks put forth all they could muster against OPRF, but the Huskie Might prevailed easily.

Semifinals: OPRF defeats Edwardsville 38-36.

Don't let the score fool you; OPRF won 7 out of the first 9 matches.  The Huskies had an astounding 5 falls in those 7 matches: Matt Monson, LaQuan Hightower, Joey Brown, Frankie Picchiotti, and Chris Dardanes.  Benny Brooks and Nick Dardanes scored major decision victories.  Despite close losses by Kendall Hutchinson and John Wilson, OPRF led 38-6 after the 130 pound weight class.  OPRF could afford to lose 30 team points in the next 5 bouts (5 bouts x 6 maximum team points per bout = 30 total team points), and Coach Powell decided to save his squad for the showdown against Minooka in the finals.

Championship: OPRF defeats Minooka 33-30.

From the get-go, this match was a seesaw affair of wits, wills, and wear.  Sitting in Minooka's section (for the pictures, I swear!), I heard one fan predict, "The dual will be seven matches for us, seven for them, and bonus points will decide it."  His crystal ball proved true as the matchups were tight and highly contested.  Beginning at 189 pounds, "Blazin'" Benny Brooks came out on fire in a dominating technical fall victory over Tim Meyer.  Matt Monson continued the scoring with an 11-5 decision victory over Brandon Haase.  At 285, LaQuan Hightower was overmatched by Cody Jones.  After three bouts, OPRF led 8-3.  Leo Ruettiger outlasted Joey Brown 4-2, and Bobby Zabel found Kendall Hutchinson's back.  After the 112 pound match, Minooka took its first lead at 12-8.  At 119, Minooka won its fourth straight match with a Joeie Ruettiger major win over Jake Venerable. 

Chris Dardanes and Brian Bokoski next engaged in a bout that many will never forget.  A week ago, Chris defeated Bokoski at individual state in a close match.  This time, Bokoski came out with a vengeance and maintained a lead for most of the match.  Chris persisted, attacked Bokoski, and shocked the Indian faithful with a pin victory.  The Huskie crowd erupted at the reversal of fortunes.  At 130, Nick Dardanes majored Blake Montella.  OPRF regained the lead at 16-14.  Ellis Coleman dated a tech fall but married a pin in a victory over Sean Kenny.  At 140, Marcus Rangel outlasted Aaron Minnis for a 10-1 victory.  Dan Martin stole back the momentum with a decision victory over Kalvin Hill.  With three bouts to go, OPRF led 27-20.  Ryan Warczynski scored a major decision over Brock Friesen.  OPRF now led 27-24.  A victory by Sammy Brooks (any victory -- since OPRF held the dual meet tiebreaker) would seal the deal.  Amongst cheers of "Sammy," the freshman wasted little time in gluing Mitch Brozovich's back to the mat.  The title would be finding a home in Oak Park!  In the last bout of the dual meet, Brandon Collofello took a forfeit victory at 171 pounds.

Mack Bolen wrote a full story on OPRF's day:


Huskies nip Indians for AAA crown - Mar 01

The Iditarod is a long grueling race held in Alaska every year covering over 1500 miles.  Much like a wrestling season it is a long and difficult journey filled with hardships, starvation, taxing both the mind and the body.  At the end lies the finish line.  This year the Oak Park - River Forest High School Huskies' sled towed by 14 "dogs", a dedicated musher, and a huge support group managed to cross that line first.  Looking at the OPRF line-up, one could easily mistake them for a MASH unit, bruised, bandaged, bleeding, knees with ice and wrapping and a whole lot of limping...a stark testament to the brutality of this sport.

It was a hectic Saturday with the IHSA debuting it's first ever 3 class team championship, 6 mats and plenty of action.  The Huskies came in to their quarter final match as huge favorites over Naperville Central and managed to wrap up the victory early 42-22 and rest some starters.

Next up was Edwardsville in the semi-finals, winners over Mt Carmel.  Once Again the Huskies had the match wrapped up early and forfeited the final 5 matches securing a 38-36 victory.  At this point OPRF's Matt Monson (215) had gone 2-0 winning both matches by fall.  Minooka defeated Glenbard North in a tight semifinal to set up IHSA ranked #1 vs #2.

The finals match began amidst a sea of orange, black and blue. Both teams had large cheering sections, turned out for the marquee match-up of two great, young, well-coached public school programs.  The match began at 189 lbs, and the Huskies jumped out to an 8-0 lead featuring a TF by Ben Brooks (189), and another big win by Matt Monson at 215, 11-5 over Brandon Haase.  Minooka then went on the warpath, winning the next 4 matches including a pin by Bobby Zabel at 112 and a 19-7 major decision by Joeie Ruettiger 119 for the Indians.  With Minooka out in front 16-8 and gathering momentum two of the states' best 125lbers stepped out on the mat in an individual tournament rematch.  Brian Bokoski came out strong, taking an early lead, but Chris Dardanes battled back and regained the lead in the 3rd period and with a quick half off of a take down caught Bokoski for the fall with seconds to spare.  At 130lbs Nick Dardanes faced one of the most underrated wrestlers in the state, Blake Montella. OPRF was able to get a hard fought major decision, 19-8 to go up 18-16.  Here, Minooka caught an advantage.  Because of the coin-toss (odds and evens), OPRF had to put their 135lber out first, allowing Minooka to move Rangel to 140 to face Aaron Minnis instead of Ellis Coleman.  The strategy worked; Coleman got the pin at 135, but Rangel got a 10-1 major decision at 140 to break the Huskies' string of 3 straight wins.  The score was now 24-20 in OPRF's favor.  Dan Martin won 12-5 but was unable to score any bonus points to give the Huskies some breathing room.  At 152lbs Minooka put Ryan Warczynski out and he followed with an 11-0 major decision, closing the team score to 27-24, with two matches to go.  At 160lbs, Minooka had sophomore Mitch Brozovich, hero of the team sectional victory over Providence.

The Huskies put out freshman Sam Brooks; ironically Sam hadn't wrestled a match at team sectionals or in the team state meet, yet here he was about to wrestle in the pivotal match of the night.  Even before the OPRF faithful were on their feet chanting "SAMMY, SAMMY, SAMMY", you could sense something.  Sam Brooks was not your typical freshman; a former kids state and national champ, winner at Conant and a state qualifier at 152lbs is a resume that states one is ready for "the big match".  And so it went...after getting a take down, scoring some near fall points on a tilt, and finally locking-up OPRF's first ever team title with a wicked cradle, the slap of the referees hand on the mat signaled the fall and the championship.  The crowds chant continued after the raised hand and team celebration, like a homage not just to the wrestler, but to the embodiment of the success of a young hard-working team that came out of nowhere in just the last 6 years to claim it's glory.  The final match was forfeited; the Huskies ended an undefeated dual meet season with a close 33-30 victory over a well-deserving, hard working, Minooka team with some of the best fans you will ever see.  In the end, Coach Powell was in the center, doused in water, surrounded by his kids, both arms skyward with extended fingers...we are #1. 



Updates from Team State

 Quarterfinals  Oak Park-River Forest 42, Naperville Central 22

 Semifinals  Oak Park-River Forest 38, Edwardsville 36 - (OPRF led 38-6; FFT in last 5 bouts)

 Championship  Oak Park-River Forest 33, Minooka 30

OPRF wins the Dual Team Championship!



Team State this Saturday

I hope you do all you can to travel down to Bloomington, IL, to watch Team State tomorrow (Saturday).  If you can't travel south -- but crave your updates -- try these links:

For detailed information on Dual Team State, click here!



Photo finish: Brian Tideman drops the pen, lifts the camera
Wednesday Journal features three of Brian Tideman's photographs from Individual State · 02/25/2009

If you viewed this week's wrestling article in the Wednesday Journal, you had a chance to read about local wrestlers making their mark on the state's grandest stage.  You also had a chance to enjoy photographs from yours truly.  My name was mistakenly absent from the print photographs, but my pictures can be seen online at the Wednesday Journal.  And, yes, that's my name there!  Pulitzer Prize, here I come!  =)  See the pictures!

Come out to support the Huskies this Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, IL, as they challenge for ultimate team glory.  I'm sure you'll see a number of sensational "shots."  Full details of Dual Team State are listed further down on the homepage. 

If you can't make it to Bloomington, the Frosh/Soph tournament (not related to IHSA) begins this weekend.  For more information, click here.



Blackjack: 21 dual victories earn OPRF a spot at the final table
OPRF defeats Sandburg, awaits Saturday's competition to decide team champion · 02/24/2009


Four teams prepare for the Marist Team Sectional.

Benny Brooks (189) competes in the meet's first bout.


Marist High School's location would seem to benefit Carl Sandburg High School in its dual meet against OPRF.  Almost in Sandburg's backyard, the crowd reflected a different story.  Sandburg's strong fan base sat perched in the stands with their Eagle-eyes affixed to the mat.  However, OPRF's side of the stands was nearly standing room only.  The Huskie crowd, as writers say, was not disappointed.

OPRF (21-0 overall, 6-0 in conference) won eight bouts to Sandburg's six in the Huskies' 35-26 victory.  The victory punches OPRF's ticket to Bloomington, IL, where the Huskies will compete on the final day of the IHSA season.  Scroll down to the end of this article to view full details of Dual Team State and its location at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.

Recap of the OPRF-Sandburg dual:

At 6 PM, the dual meet began in the 189-pound weight class.  Benny Brooks scored a decision victory over state placewinner Joe Schneider.  Matt Monson scored a pinfall victory at 215 pounds, and LaQuan Hightower gave up 50 pounds but nothing more in his 2-0 triumph.  When Joey Brown majored his 103 pound opponent, OPRF led 16-0.  Sandburg countered OPRF's four victories with four of its own.  Nick Fishback muscled an 8-0 major victory at 112, OPRF's Frankie Picchiotti made his Varsity return with a hard-fought decision loss at 119, Jake Venerable couldn't quite overtake the Eagles' Manny Ozoa, and Jon Morrison (state runner-up at 125 pounds) scored a tech fall victory over OPRF's Charlie Johnson.  The score was now OPRF 16, Sandburg 14 (the Eagles lost a team point for wrestler misconduct).  The Huskies scored consecutive tech fall victories at 135 and 140 (Chris and Nick Dardanes), and Ellis Coleman scored his team-leading 32nd fall at 145 pounds.  Dan Martin sealed the victory with a 6-4 decision over Jake Fishback at 152 pounds.  Sandburg ended the dual meet with falls from Juan Soliz and Chris Frostman.  OPRF competitors not mentioned above include Kendall Hutchinson, Brock Friesen, and Chris Wilson.

Here's another take on the dual: Illinois Matmen recap

OPRF now advances to the 8-team Dual Team State tournament this Saturday, February 28, in Bloomington, IL.

Here are the details:

Where: U.S. Cellular Coliseum (Bloomington, IL) - 101 S. Madison Street - Bloomington, IL  61701 - directions
When: Session One (Quarterfinals and Semifinals): Saturday, February 28 at 9:00 AM (OPRF to first wrestle at 11:00 AM); Session Two (Finals and 3rd Place Meets): Saturday at 6:00 PM
Cost: $7.00 per session
Teams: Grant vs. Minooka, Glenbard North vs. Wheeling, Mt. Carmel vs. Edwardsville, OPRF vs. Naperville Central
Advancement: The winners of the quarterfinal dual meets will advance to the semifinals and will comprise the top four team medal winners.  If a team loses its first dual meet, its season is over.
Brackets: For a state bracket, click here.

Here is a full schedule of Saturday's action (1A and 2A also have similar schedules):

Session One

9:00 AM (Quarterfinal dual meets in top half of bracket only)

Dual A: #14 Grant vs. #2 Minooka
Dual B: #7 Glenbard North vs. #25 Wheeling

11:00 AM (Quarterfinal dual meets in bottom half of bracket only)

Dual C: #16 Mt. Carmel vs. #17 Edwardsville
Dual D: #1 OPRF vs. Naperville Central

2:00 PM (Semifinal dual meets)

Dual E: Winner Dual A vs. Winner Dual B
Dual F: Winner Dual C vs. Winner Dual D

Session Two

6:00 PM (Championship and 3rd place dual meets)

Dual G: Loser Dual E vs. Loser Dual F (Third Place)
Dual H: Winner Dual E vs. WInner Dual F (Championship)



Good times will be rolling: Candlelight bowl set for March 7
Mark your calendars now and come out to support the Huskies in this fun evening · 02/05/2009


Attention Huskie Family and Huskie Wrestling Supporters!  The Huskie Wrestling Team invites you to the 2009 Candlelight Bowl.

Time: 5-7 PM (Adults Only)
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Circle Bowl (Forest Park) - 7244 Circle Ave, Forest Park, IL  60130
View the flyer: 2009 Candlelight Bowl (Microsoft Publisher, 251 KB)

Food will be served along with exaggerated stories from Coach Mike Powell.



Final stretch: Huskies hungry for 1st dual team state title
Tuesday's must-win pits OPRF versus Sandburg · 02/22/2009

For the vast majority of 3A schools, the individual state finals marked the end of their IHSA seasons.  If that were the case for OPRF, we would have complete stories about the individual state tournament -- including OPRF's first individual state title in 15 years.  For now, you may want to visit a host of websites to quench your individual tourney thirst: IHSA, Illinois Matmen, Premium Preps.  I can assure you that the team has turned its focus to the team tournament. This website has followed (pur)suit.

Marist High School (Chicago, IL) will host two unrelated dual meets this Tuesday.  At 6:00 PM, OPRF will combat Sandburg.  Also at 6:00 PM, Mt. Carmel will wrestle St. Rita.  Unlike previous years, the winners of the two dual meets will not face each other at team sectionals.  OPRF will wrestle only one dual meet on Tuesday, win or lose.

Sandburg (Orland Park) won consecutive dual team state titles in 2005, 2006, and 2007.  They failed to advance out of regionals last year.  OPRF also failed to advance out of regionals a year ago.  OPRF's best dual team state result was 2nd (in 1988).

There are a few facts to note about the team tournament.  All wrestlers can compete in the dual team tournament, not just wrestlers that competed in the postseason.  Jake Venerable, for example, did not compete in the regional tournament.  He is still eligible to compete in the team tournament.  Each team can weigh-in up to 21 wrestlers during each round of the tournament, and the roster of 21 can change from round to round.


Here is a breakdown of the two teams:


Oak Park-River Forest
State ranking: 1st
Ranked wrestlers: 10
Losses this year: 0
State qualifiers: 7
State medalists: 4
2008 state result: N/A

State ranking: 11th
Ranked wrestlers: 4
Losses this year: 4
State qualifiers: 5
State medalists: 2
2008 state result: N/A


Here are the details:

Where: Marist High School (Chicago, IL) - 4200 W. 115th Street - Chicago, IL  60655 - directions
When: Tuesday, February 24 at 6:00 PM
Cost: $5.00
Teams: OPRF vs. Sandburg - (Mt. Carmel and St. Rita will also compete)
Advancement: The winners of the dual meets will advance to the 8-team Dual Team State Finals on Saturday, February 28, in Bloomington, IL.
Brackets: For a state bracket, click here.



Individual State Finals results

Nick Dardanes is a State Champion!!!

OPRF place winners:

1st - Nick Dardanes (130)
2nd - Dan Martin (145)
3rd - Ellis Coleman (135)
4th - Chris Dardanes (125)

125 Chris Dardanes
WIN - Josh Katz (Deerfield) - Fall 2:50
WIN - Brian Bokoski (Minooka) - Decision 6-3
LOSS - Tony Ramos (Glenbard North) - Major 10-1
Chris qualifies for the consolation bracket.
WIN - Josh Zinzer (West Aurora) - Decision 13-12
LOSS - Luke Smith (Wheeling) - Decision 10-3
Chris finishes in 4th place.

130 Nick Dardanes
WIN - Andrew Haney (Plainfield South) - Major 13-5
WIN - Cameron Shaffer (Lake Zurich) - Decision 8-5
WIN - Jacob Wojcik (Providence) - Decision 7-0
WIN - Danny Fisher (Highland Park) - Decision 7-2
Nick finishes in 1st place -- state champion.

135 Ellis Coleman
WIN - Thomas Hubert (Granite City) - Fall 1:18
LOSS - Max Schneider (Lane) - Fall 5:55
Ellis qualifies for the consolation bracket.
WIN - Pat Callan (Libertyville) - Fall 1:48
WIN - Jason Montemayor (Grant) - Fall 1:27
WIN - Spartak Chino (Wheaton-Warrenville South) - Fall 1:54
WIN - Adam Stine (Neuqua Valley) - Fall 4:27
Ellis finishes in 3rd place.

145 Dan Martin
WIN - Tim Savenok (Wheaton-Warrenville South) - Decision 6-5
WIN - Demetrios Mitchell (Hersey) - Decision 3-2
WIN - A.J. Knoll (Lincoln-Way East) - Fall 3:52
LOSS - Elias Larson (Marian) - Decision 5-1
Dan finishes in 2nd place.

152 Sammy Brooks
LOSS - Trevor Wenmouth (Downers Grove South) - Decision 7-5
Sammy qualifies for the consolation bracket since his loss came to a semifinal wrestler.
WIN - Tom Gross (Lincoln-Way Central) - Decision 9-7
LOSS - Mike Ryan (Lyons Township) - Decision 6-5
Sammy is eliminated from the tournament.

189 Benny Brooks
LOSS - Thomas Davidson (Rolling Meadows) - Fall 1:27
Benny is eliminated from the tournament.

285 LaQuan Hightower
LOSS - Pat Clegg (Hinsdale Central) - Fall 2:29
LaQuan is eliminated from the tournament.



All eyes on Assembly Hall this weekend
Final details of individual state championships  · 02/18/2009

Here are the details:

Where: Assembly Hall - University of Illinois-Champaign - 1800 S. First Street - Champaign, IL  61280 
When: Full schedule is listed further down on this home page.
Cost: $8.00 per session ($10.00 per session for reserved) - I believe parking is $5 in the Assembly Hall parking lot
Teams: all 3A qualifying wrestlers
Place-winners: The top six wrestlers in class 3A will receive medals.
Brackets: For brackets, click here.
More information: Scroll further down on this home page.
OPRF wrestlers competing: Chris Dardanes (125), Nick Dardanes (130), Ellis Coleman (135), Dan Martin (145), Sammy Brooks (152), Benny Brooks (189), LaQuan Hightower (285).



IHSA releases individual state brackets (Feb. 15)
Huskies participants learn their opponents · 02/15/2009

IHSA released the individual state brackets for classes 1A, 2A, and 3A on Sunday.  OPRF will compete in Class 3A where there are 16 wrestlers per weight class.

Wrestling Main: click here|  Tournament Main: click here.

Brackets: click here|  Brackets #2: click here.  This might be easier on the eyes.  Pretend it's a bracket reading top to bottom.

Sessions schedule at Champaign: click here

IHSA will update the brackets throughout the tournament!!  So if you can't travel to Champaign, keep up-to-minute with results in Champaign at the website.

Here are OPRF links you can follow as they update them (From teams page):

Here is the full schedule of action on Friday and Saturday: click here to see PDF (go to p. 3)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Session One

7:30 a.m.--Doors open
8:30 a.m.--Class 3A First Round matches (6 mats)
11:00 a.m.--Classes 1A and 2A First Round matches (2 mats per class); Class 3A Quarterfinal matches (2 mats)

Session Two

5:00 p.m.--Doors open
6:00 p.m.--Classes 1A and 2A Quarterfinal matches (2 mats per class); Class 3A First Round wrestle-backs (2 mats)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Session Three

7:30 a.m.--Doors open
8:30 a.m.--3A Quarterfinal wrestle-backs (6 mats)
9:30 a.m.--Classes 1A, 2A and 3A Semifinals (2 mats each)
11:30 a.m.-Classes 1A and 2A Quarterfinal wrestle-backs
12:30 p.m.-Classes 1A, 2A and 3A Semifinal wrestle-backs (2 mats each)
3:00 p.m.-1A Third Place matches; 2A Third Place matches; 3A Third Place matches; 3A Fifth Place matches

Session Four

5:30 p.m.--Doors Open
6:00 p.m.--Line up for Grand March
6:30 p.m.--Start Grand March; Championship matches (3 mats)



Seven in heaven: Half of the OPRF squad to compete at state
On Valentine's Day, 7 Huskies' nights come up roses · 02/14/2009


Wrestlers "squared" off on four mats at De La Salle.

A sea of spectators oversees wrestling action.

OPRF wrestlers share a team bonding moment.

OPRF's Dan Martin (left) was one of 7 advancing wrestlers.


Click here to view OPRF's seven placing wrestlers from the medal stand!


Valentine's Day is a day to hold, to embrace, to fall head over heels, and -- when things go bad -- to escape from danger.  And that's just today's wrestling tournament!

Seven Huskies have a Valentine's Day to remember, and it has nothing to do with any romantic counterparts.  OPRF advanced 2 first-place wrestlers, 1 second-place wrestler, 3 third-place wrestlers, and 1 fourth-place wrestler to the individual state finals in Champaign, Illinois, that will take place on Friday and Saturday, February 20-21.

Nick Dardanes (1st @ 130) defeated Joe Wood of St. Laurence by a score of 11-3 in the championship.  In three matches, Nick outscored his opponents 30-5.  Nick disposed of two top 10 wrestlers en route to the title.  Nick also maintained the team lead in takedowns by a slim margin over Dan Martin.

Ellis Coleman (1st @ 135) defeated Mike Grice of Shepard by a technical fall score of 21-3 (4:00).  Ellis breezed to his fourth sectional title in four years.  Ellis's toughest match came from Brendan Murphy of Marian (10-5 decision).

Chris Dardanes (2nd @ 125) lost to #2-ranked Jon Morrison of Sandburg in the championship by a score of 7-4.  Chris (#3 at 125) looks forward to rematches with Morrison and #1 Tony Ramos (Glenbard North) at Champaign.  In the semifinals, Chris outlasted #8-ranked Mike Maggi of Mt. Carmel by a 9-7 score.

Dan Martin (3rd @ 145) won by forfeit in the 3rd place match.  (David Skrzypiec of Mt. Carmel did not wrestle due to injury.)  Dan lost a 1 point heartbreaker to #3-ranked Malik Taylor of Brother Rice.  Dan is only three wins away from 100 Varsity career wins.

Sammy Brooks (3rd @ 152) defeated Mike Sawyer of Mt. Carmel by a score of 3-2 (2OT) in the 3rd place match.  Sammy's only blemish was a defeat to Mike Ryan of Lyons Township for the second time in two weeks.  Sammy is the first non-103 pound freshman to qualify for state in OPRF history.  With 41 wins, Sammy has the most ever by a freshman of any weight.

Benny Brooks (3rd @ 189) defeated his "good friend" Anthony Solis of Morton by a score of 13-4 in the 3rd place match.  Benny heads to Champaign for the first time after winning Frosh-Soph state last year at 194 pounds.  In the semifinals, Benny was on the wrong side of a 5-4 decision to #3-ranked Clayton Kendall of host De La Salle.

LaQuan Hightower (4th @ 215) did not compete in the 3rd place match (Eddie Castillo of Bloom) due to being a little under the weather.  He should be fine come next week at Assembly Hall.  LaQuan butted heads against #2-ranked Curtis Blaydes in the quarterfinals but lost by fall.  LaQuan secured a state berth with a 10-4 victory over Brian Studnicka of Stagg.

Sectional qualifiers that did not place at this weekend's tournament were Joey Brown (1-1 at 103), Kendall Hutchinson (1-2 at 112), Brock Friesen (0-1 at 160), John Wilson (0-1 at 171), and Matt Monson (0-1 at 215).

LINKS: Visit IHSA's De La Salle Individual Sectional results page.

EXTRAS:  Remember, there are no team scores kept at individual sectionals.



Friday's sectional results: 6 Huskies make it to semifinals
5 others are waiting and watching · 02/13/2009

After the Friday night lights were turned off at De La Salle High School, six Huskies were still alive in the championship bracket.  Chris Dardanes (125), Nick Dardanes (130), Ellis Coleman (135), Dan Martin (145), and Ben Brooks (189) each won his only match.  Sam Brooks (152) won two matches to advance to the semifinals.

Joey Brown (103) and LaQuan Hightower (285) each won his first match before losing his second.  Each needs the wrestler who beat him to win in the semifinals to qualify to continue in the tournament.

Kendall Hutchinson (112), Brock Friesen (160), John Wilson (171), and Matt Monson (215) each wrestled one match and lost.  As of now, Kendall needs his opponent to win in the semifinals.  Brock is eliminated from the tournament because his opponent lost in his next match.  John may have a chance (I'm not sure if his opponent won in the second round or not).  Matt must have his opponent win in the semifinals for a chance to compete once again.

Saturday's schedule:

Semifinals begin at 10:00 AM, followed by wrestlebacks.  After the semifinal round, the wrestlers who qualify for wrestlebacks will be determined (those wrestlers that lost to a finalist at some point along the way).  Wrestlebacks will then be wrestled up to the 3rd place match.

Finals and third place matches begin at 4:00 PM.  There will be two matches per weight class (1st and 3rd place matches).  Wrestling will begin at 103 pounds and continue through 285 pounds.  All wrestlers who qualify for these matches will advance to Champaign.



De La Salle dozen: 12 Huskies vie for state berth this Fri and Sat
Wrestlers must finish in top 4 to qualify for state finals tournament in Champaign · 02/10/2009

With no team score kept at individual sectionals, twelve OPRF wrestlers aim to advance to the ultimate individual tournament: Illinois individual state championships.

In order to advance, a wrestler must end up as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place wrestler in his bracket.  There are 12 wrestlers per weight class.  Unlike the regional tournament, this tournament uses "follow the leader" bracketing.  A wrestler can only advance to wrestlebacks if he loses to a wrestler who makes the finals.  If a wrestler loses to an opponent who does not make it to the finals, that wrestler's tournament (and individual season) is over without even a shot in the consolation bracket.

In previous years, only the top 3 wrestlers made the state championship.  However, IHSA wrestling grew to three classes, and only the 3A class will advance 4 wrestlers per weight class in the sectional.  In other words, all wrestlers that compete in Saturday's medal round (championship and third place matches) will advance to Champaign regardless of any result.

Session one begins at 5:00 PM on Friday.  All OPRF wrestlers will compete on Friday night.  These 6 wrestlers were regional champions and will wrestle only one match on Friday: Chris Dardanes (125), Nick Dardanes (130), Ellis Coleman (135), Dan Martin (145), Benny Brooks (189), and Matt Monson (215).  The following 6 wrestlers were 2nd and 3rd place winners at regionals and will wrestle at least one match on Friday: Joey Brown (103), Kendall Hutchinson (112), Sammy Brooks (152), Brock Friesen (160), John Wilson (171), and LaQuan Hightower (285).  With a win, each of the non-regional champions (the second set of six wrestlers) would wrestle once more on Friday. 

Session two begins at 10:00 AM on Saturday.  Wrestling will begin with semifinal matches in all weight classes.  Wrestling will continue with wrestleback matches for only wrestlers who have qualified for wrestlebacks (as noted above).  Once a wrestler makes it to the championship or 3rd place match, that wrestler qualifies for the state tournament.

Session three begins at 4:00 PM on Saturday.  First and third place matches will take place.  The results of these matches will determine pairings at the individual state tournament, but all wrestlers in this session will advance to the individual state tournament.

The cost is $5.00 per session.

Here are the details:

Where: De La Salle Institute (Parmer Activity Center) - Institute Campus (Chicago, IL) - 3455 S. Wabash Blvd. - Chicago, IL  60616  (school is at corner of 35th St. and Michigan Ave. - directions)
When: Session one (preliminaries and quarterfinals) begins at 5:00 on Friday.  Session two (semifinals and wrestlebacks) begins at 10:00 AM on Saturday.  Session three (finals and third place matches) begins at 4:00 PM on Saturday.
Cost: $5.00 per session
Teams: Sectional qualifiers from the Mt. Carmel, St. Ignatius, Shepard, and Morton regionals
Advancement: The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to the individual state tournament.
Brackets: PDF's are not available at this time.  However, click here to view the pairings.

- Click here to view De La Salle Sectional weight breakdown (Premium Preps).

- For more information on individual and state tournament schedules and information,
  click to visit IHSA's 2008-2009 Boys Wrestling Series Terms and Conditions



Regional management: OPRF blows past competition at Morton
Huskies roll to Regional title with 12 advancing wrestlers · 02/07/2009


OPRF Huskies are all smiles after winning the tournament.
Click for larger pictures: one - two

Tournament champion Nick Dardanes holds up
OPRF's newest piece of hardware.

LaQuan Hightower was one of 12 OPRF wrestlers
to advance to individual sectionals.

Happy birthday, coach!  After the victory, wrestlers maul
Coach Mike Powell (left) to "celebrate" his 33rd birthday.

At Saturday's Morton Regional, the Huskies charged past the competition and won the team title going away.  OPRF scored 233 team points, 78 points ahead of the 2nd place team, Lyons Township (155 points).  OPRF earned its way into the dual team state tourney.  As a team, the Huskies will face Carl Sandburg High School (winners of the Shepard Regional) on February 24 at Marist High School in Chicago.  First things first, however.  The individual tournament is the news of today.

OPRF had 12 wrestlers that placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd and qualified for individual sectionals:

1st place wrestlers (6):
  • Chris Dardanes (125)
  • Nick Dardanes (130)
  • Ellis Coleman (135)
  • Danny Martin (145)
  • Benny Brooks (189)
  • Matt Monson (215)
2nd place wrestlers (2):
  • Joey Brown (103)
  • LaQuan Hightower (285)
3rd place wrestlers (4):
  • Kendall Hutchinson (112)
  • Sammy Brooks (152)
  • Brock Friesen (160)
  • John Wilson (171)
Seniors Liam Pegg (4th @ 119) and Aaron Minnis (140) did not advance to individual sectionals, but they anticipate returning to the mat in a few weeks during the team competition.

Of note: Sammy Brooks (152) was the second non-103 pound freshman to advance to individual sectionals in OPRF history.  Benny Brooks, Sammy's brother, was the first (placed 2nd at 171 pounds in 2006-2007).

External links: IHSA results | Full bracket results have not yet been released.  We will post link if and when it becomes available. Tournament article on

And a special thank you to Britany Goodman, aunt of Chris and Nick Dardanes.  She put together AMAZING t-shirts that were the hit of the tournament!  Pete Goodman, husband of Britany, displays the t-shirt masterpiece while waiting for action to begin (at right):

Click here for a much larger picture of the t-shirt!


More on the Morton Regional from Mack Bolen:
Huskies "Sleigh" Competition at Morton

OPRF ended the dual meet season with a 20-0 dual meet record, but seemed to struggle at the end of the regular season with a 3rd place in their own tournament, finishing behind Lyons who they had beaten in a dual meet to win the WSC Silver Conference title. As the Huskies limped into the post season it seemed they would be ripe for an upset, right? Uh...not so much. At the end of the day on Saturday at Morton, OPRF scored 233 points to Lyons Township's 155 to win the regional title. Argo finished 3rd with 123 and Fenwick was 4th scoring 113.5. The Huskies advanced 12 to the sectionals with 6 titles, 2 second places, and 4 third places.

Key matches:

The powerful middle of OPRF's line-up managed 4 first places by C. Dardanes at 125, N. Dardanes 130, Coleman, 135, and Martin 145. Sam Brooks, first place in any other regional, had to settle for 3rd behind Bobby Barnhisel who defeated Mike Ryan 7-1 in the 152lbs final. Big brother Ben Brooks took the 189lbs crown with a fall over Dennis Beauregard from Reavis. The match of the tournament took place at 215lbs with #3 and #4 ranked IHSA wrestlers colliding in the finals. OPRF's Matt Monson spotted Argo's Fred Moses to a quick 7-1 lead in the first period off of two TD's and 3-near fall points. The next two periods were an all-out war but Monson managed to come back and pull out a hard fought 12-11 win. At 285lbs, Argo's John Grubisch dominated the field and WBF over OPRF's Hightower in the final.


103: Gavrick LT WBF vs Brown OPRF; 3rd - Garelli Fenwick
112: Ciaolini Argo 9-5 vs Torres Morton; 3rd - Hutchinson OPRF
119: Macedo Morton 17-9 vs Windmoeller LT; 3rd - Rzechula Oak Lawn
125: C. Dardanes OPRF 15-5 vs Nora LT; 3rd - Rabah Oak Lawn
130: N. Dardanes OPRF 18-6 vs Bates LT; 3rd - Pedigo Oak Lawn
135: Coleman OPRF 18-6 vs Rutledge PE; 3rd - Polka LT
140: Heredia Fenwick 3-2 OT vs Kowal Argo; 3rd - Cammon PE
145: Martin OPRF 14-4 vs Dilcher LT; 3rd - Chittick Morton
152: Barnhisel Fenwick 7-1 vs Ryan LT; 3rd - S. Brooks OPRF
160: Sampey Fenwick TF vs Doleh Oak Lawn; 3rd - Friesen OPRF
171: Menendez Morton 7-4 vs Pizano Reavis; 3rd - Wilson OPRF
189: Brooks OPRF WBF vs Beauregard Reavis; 3rd - Solis Morton
215: Monson OPRF 12-11 vs Moses Argo; 3rd - Alcantara Reavis
285: Grubisch Argo WBF vs Hightower OPRF; 3rd - Ott LT


Regionals this Saturday is OPRF's first step this postseason
Morton (East) High School is the site of OPRF's first postseason test · 02/02/2009

This Saturday, February 7, will mark the Huskies first step for postseason glory.  Beginning at 9 AM, 14 OPRF wrestlers will begin their quest for ultimate individual --- and team -- respect.  Regionals is a 10-team individual tournament.  Only the top 3 wrestlers in each weight class will advance to individual sectionals.  Only the top 1 team (the team tournament champion) will advance to the dual team state tournament.

Here are the details:

Where: Morton High School - East Campus (Cicero, IL) - 2423 S. Austin Blvd. - Cicero, IL  60804
When: Session one begins at 9:00 AM.  Session two (finals) begins at 1:00 PM.
Cost: Either $4.00 per session or $6.00 all day
Teams: OPRF, Morton, Reavis, Farragut, Prosser, Lyons Township, Proviso East, Oak Lawn, Fenwick, and Argo.
Advancement: The top scoring team advances to the team tournament.  The top three wrestlers in each weight class advance to the individual sectional tournament.

Visit our FAQ page to learn the answers to questions like these:

  • How can a wrestler score points during a match?
  • How do teams advance in the postseason?
  • How do wrestlers advance in the postseason?
  • How is a team score determined in tournament play?
  • What is the difference between a dual meet and a tournament?


IHSA releases postseason wrestling assignments! (Dec 3)
OPRF to attend Morton Regional, De La Salle Individual Sectional, and Marist Team Sectional
View complete list on IHSA's website: 3A Assignments | 3A Sites

  • On Saturday, February 7, OPRF will travel to Morton (East Campus - Cicero, IL) to compete in the regional tournament.  The top 3 wrestlers in each weight class will advance to individual sectionals.  The Morton Regional will consist of these 10 teams: OPRF, Morton, Reavis, Farragut, Prosser, Lyons Township, Proviso East, Oak Lawn, Fenwick, and Argo.  Only the regional team champion will advance to the IHSA dual team tournament.

  • On Friday, February 13, and Saturday, February 14, OPRF will travel to De La Salle (Chicago, IL) to compete in the individual sectional tournament.  The top 4 wrestlers in each weight class will advance to the individual state tournament in Champaign, IL.  Team scores are not kept at individual sectional tournaments.

  • On Friday, February 20, and Saturday, February 21, OPRF will send its individual sectional place-winners to Assembly Hall at the University of Illinois (Champaign, IL) to compete in the individual state tournament.  Again, team scores are not kept at this tournament.

  • If OPRF is the Morton Regional champion, then on Tuesday, February 24, OPRF will travel to Marist (Chicago, IL) to compete in the IHSA dual team sectionals (the first round of the dual team tournament).  This year, there will only be one dual meet at team sectionals.

  • If OPRF wins in the dual meet at Marist, then on Saturday, February 28, OPRF will travel to U.S. Cellular Coliseum (Bloomington, IL) to compete in the dual team state competition.  The tournament consists of 8 teams.  If a team loses in the first round of the tourney, the team is done.  If a team wins in the first round, the team is guaranteed two more dual meets.  If it wins the next, it will battle for 1st.  If it loses the next, it will battle for 3rd.

Mark your calendars now for these amazing competitions!



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