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2010-2011 Postseason


End to another beginning: Season banquet a delicious treat
Individual honors, recognition well-deserved as pursuit remains relentless and constant · 03/14/2011

Head coach Mike Powell (center) was his eloquent and loquacious self at the OPRF Wrestling season banquet.

Families, friends, wrestlers, and coaches congregated as one in the north cafeteria of Oak Park & River Forest High School on Monday.  The occasion?  All of us.  All of you.  Without your support, we couldn't be what we are: unmistakably...without equivocation...the best high school wrestling program in this great state.

As is every year, the food was an utter bounty of mastery and wonder.  After each and all filled their bellies, the coaches (from Freshman to Junior Varsity to Varsity) spoke of the 2010-2011 season and its Huskie characters, the wrestlers.  The Huskies boasted 5 Academic All-Conference, 5 All-Conference, 7 Sectional Qualifiers, 9 JV Conference Placewinners, 10 Sophomore Conference Placewinners, and 7 Freshman Conference Placewinners.


  "Freshmen, stick together." - Freshman coach Ryan Ven Horst  

"I'm a changed person because of this program." - Brian Toledo, senior

  "When you're done wrestling Oak Park for six minutes, you'll have a tough time holding up your head." - Head coach Mike Powell  

"Win or lose, you compete like a warrior with courage." - Mike Powell


It was a night to behold, and here are the award winners:


Takedown King Zach Brinner | Pin King Andre Lee | MVP Emonte Logan | Coaches James Jarasek


MVP Brian Toledo


ROY Davonte Mahomes | Most Improved Darius Henry | Tough Guy Chirino Watson |
Susan Collins
Kris Ellis | Takedown King Davonte Mahomes |
Pin King
Sam Brooks | MVP Sam Brooks

In warm tributes, each of the seven graduating seniors was recognized with his own individualized acknowledgement.  Our heartfelt recognition to these fine young men and woman -- through the trials, tribulations, failures, successes, hiccups, growth; we would never be the same Huskie Family without each one of you.  Here are the Senior Seven:

  Chirino Watson Brian Toledo Pat Alcock Kris Ellis
  Eddie Guen-Murray Nate Crain Jesse Christiano  

Onward and upward, our dear friends.  "Once a Huskie, always a Huskie."



Food for thought: End of season banquet this Monday at OPRF
Many helpings of food and fun to be on display at OPRF H.S. at 6:30 pm · 03/10/2011

The Orange & Blue Wrestling Crew will take a look back -- and forward -- at 6:30 pm this Monday night, March 14, at Oak Park & River Forest High School.

It is a pot luck affair, so please review what you will share.  View the potluck flier.

The 2010-2011 season has been another success.  Come out and take a seat at our (Huskie) family table!



Not in the cards: Sammy Brooks takes second at state
Huskies' ace wins three before falling to Steve Congenie of Willowbrook · 02/19/2011

Sam Brooks finishes 2nd in his bracket. (Photo by B.T.)

Sam Brooks chiseled his way into history one year ago by becoming the youngest ever state champion in Oak Park & River Forest history.  Sam became the only underclassman to take home a state bracket board in this fine school's history.

This year, Sam's goal was just the same: repeat as champion.  He worked tirelessly all year helping his team first and his personal agenda second.  In Champaign this year, the junior took care of business in his first three matches.  In the finals match, Sam faced Steve Congenie of Willowbrook, who also won a state title last year (at 152).  Sam didn't overcome Congenie on this night, as Congenie defeated Sammy 15-8.

This defeat, while sour in nature, is not all bad.  Sammy will be a senior next year, and he'll work harder than ever to amend this situation.  His fellow wrestlers will work harder themselves to keep pace, and team growth (both in maturity and skill) will be on an exponential level.

It is true that while Dual Team State is this coming week, the Huskies have concluded their season due to being unable to win the Regional team title.

However, make no mistake: the 2011-2012 Varsity squad will be a team to be reckoned with.  Only three members of the Regional lineup will graduate: Chirino Watson (135), Nate Crain (140), and Eddie Guen-Murray (189).  With new talent also to enter the spotlight, there will be several new Varsity regulars and perhaps new faces altogether.

It's never too early to get excited about this upcoming season, and for goodness sake, don't skip out on all the fun of every dual and tournament the Huskies will have.

Don't think I'm done reporting on the season either.  Check back in the next few weeks for a few more tricks up my sleeve.  And of course the season ending banquet will be taking place, with details to be announced.



Lone star showdown: Slingin' Sammy to wrestle in state semifinals
Sam Brooks is two wins from 171 pound title; all other Huskies are eliminated · 02/18/2011

Assembly Hall (Champaign, IL)

Sam Brooks will wrestle in his semifinal bout this Saturday morning at approximately 10:30 am (the semifinal round is scheduled to begin at 9:30 am).  His opponent is Dustin Ventimiglia (44-2), a senior from Belleville West.  In the other semifinal, Steve Congenie (32-1), a junior from Willowbrook, will square off against Sam Apland (40-6), a senior from Downers Grove South.  Jahwon Akui (26-0), a senior from St. Rita, was not eligible to wrestle this weekend due to disciplinary reasons. 

If Sammy wins his semifinal, he will wrestle in the state finals.  The Grand March is slated to begin at 6:15 pm with the championship matches to follow immediately.  You can follow video on if you are unable to travel down.



Step brothers: Final five conclude this season's journey together
Huskies stride downhill toward the ultimate prize in just another tournament · 02/17/2011

Assembly Hall (Champaign, IL)

Nick Dardanes, OPRF class of 2010 and 2-time IHSA state champion, forwarded an email to Coach Powell that was shared with the team prior to the beginning of the tournament:

The number 1 ingredient to aggressive wrestling is ATTITUDE...  It's not about striving to be a state champion or national champion as much as it's having an intense desire to win at all cost within the rules.  Whether it's practice or competition, good hard-nosed intelligent wrestling to the point where at the end of the match your opponent is mentally broken WINS.  Your matches were won long before this weekend based on your work ethic and your internal competitive spirit.  You have never wrestled a match that you could not win and you won't wrestle a match this weekend that you cannot dominate.  So be in the moment and wrestle the way you have trained with tenacity, scoring the next points, and mentally breaking your opponents.  The will to dominate is the common attribute of all great individual athletic performances, so...

"wrestle hard and make your own luck." - Dan Gable

We are fierce.  We are a force.  We are the Huskies.



Call to Hall: Five still alive at individual finals this weekend
Follow the leader format as top six in each weight class receive a medal · 02/15/2011

Assembly Hall (Champaign, IL)

Darius Henry (112), Cameron Harris (119), Chirino Watson (135), Michael Woulfe (152), and Sam Brooks (171) will each compete in a 16-wrestler bracket to determine the state champion (and six place-winners) at his weight.

Wrestling will take place at Assembly Hall in Champaign, IL.  Wrestling will begin at 8:30 on Friday and Saturday and will last all day long.

If you can't make it down this year, you can follow the action with the results on and -- new this year -- video on

Here are the details:

Where | Assembly Hall (University of Illinois) - 1800 S. First St., Champaign, IL 61820
When | Friday at 8:30 pm (Session One), Friday at 6:00 pm (Session Two), Saturday at 8:30 am (Session Three), and Saturday at 4:30 pm (Session Four - Championship Round)
Admission | $8.00 (general admission) or $10.00 (reserved) for each session (per IHSA)
Place-winners | Top 6 in each weight class
Qualifying wrestlers from | All Class 3A schools

Individual pairings & brackets | brackets | Tournament time schedule | time schedule

Follow online LIVE (or just about) | brackets | video on

Follow the leader format | Only wrestlers who lose to opponents who, in turn, make it to the semifinals enter the consolation bracket.  Of the 16 wrestlers, two will make it to the finals while ten others will duke it out for places 3-6.  If you make it to the semifinals, you are guaranteed no worse than 6th (i.e., you are guaranteed a medal).  In addition, a new format this year is that there are no "walkover" matches; if two wrestlers meet again in the consolation bracket, they will wrestle out the match for advancement.

Photos | It is my understanding that you can order photos of the place-winners through 

Reasons to come out | 1) Huskie Pride; 2) Witness Huskie History; 3) Wrestling always cures that winter blues!



Sippin' Champaign: Five advance downstate from Sectional
This Huskie handful can savor the taste, but one last tournament remains · 02/12/2011

5 make state-ments (clockwise from center): Darius Henry,
Cameron Harris, Sam Brooks, Michael Woulfe, and Chirino Watson.

H Chirino Watson, the lone OPRF senior participant in the Leyden Individual Sectional, stood toe to toe with Elias Shiheiber of Niles West in a make-it-or-break-it match.  Chirino had already won two do-or-die matches, and now he had to win this match to enter the third place match (and earn a spot in Champaign).

In the middle of the first period, Chirino attempted a move but found himself quickly on the mat and on his back.  He fought off the pin but faced a 5-0 deficit at the end of the period.  The second period furthered Shiheiber's lead, as Shiheiber earned an escape.  No other offense was had in the middle frame.  Chirino had to make up six points in one period.  He earned an escape before earning a takedown plus two near fall points.  Still down one, Chirino allowed Shiheiber's escape.  With time counting done, Chirino frantically worked to tie the score.  An out of bounds call stopped the clock with under ten seconds left.  Never giving up, Chirino grabbed the inside of his opponent's knee and fell on top of him in the last seconds, also scoring the needed back points for victory.  In the crowds, Huskie Nation erupted.

In the third place bout, Chirino dispatched of Troy Valdez from York.  This is the same Troy Valdez who defeated Chirino twice just weeks earlier: by major decision 14-2 and by decision 12-7.  Chirino worked his heart out and found one of the sixteen "golden tickets" to Champaign.

H Darius Henry was the first Huskie to wrestle in the medal round, and it wasn't even a match as he secured the only sectional title of this tournament.  His opponent, Terry Calkins of Maine South, entered the match with a record of 37-5.  Darius "The Dismantler" Henry broke his opponent early and often in a 21-6 technical fall in 4:10.  There are lots of sharks in the 112 pound bracket at state, but Darius is surely one of them.

H Cameron Harris needed to reverse a result from earlier in the year in order to qualify for state.  In the consolation semifinals (the state qualifying round), Cameron faced Dominic Boggia from St. Patrick.  In the first dual of the year, Cameron lost 10-6.  Cameron shook that off in impressive fashion in a 10-4 decision to claim his first trip downstate.  In the third place match, Cameron fell to a tough opponent.  However, 119 lb-ers beware: Cameron is tough as nails when he wrestles his best.

H Michael Woulfe has been on a tear in recent months.  In his first fourteen bouts, Michael's record stood at 4-10.  Entering the sectional, his record ballooned to 22-16, an improvement of 18-6 in his last 24 matches.  Michael's path to Champaign was not in question as he scored a first period fall in the qualifying match to end all uncertainty.  A cross-village downing in the third place bout did not put a damper on Michael's accomplishments.  With another year to go, Michael has a chance to surprise some wrestlers downstate.

H Sam Brooks, as you would expect, was head and shoulders above his opponents in preparation for the well-anticipated championship bout against Jahwon Akui of St. Rita.  Trying to even the season record against the unbeaten Mustang, Sam fell short 7-5.  Is the third time the charm against a top 5 nationally ranked wrestler in Jahwon Akui?  Sam likely would face Steve Congenie, Willowbrook, in the semifinals in Champaign.  All three -- Akui, Congenie, and Sammy -- are returning state champions, so follow this bracket closely.

H Linear Vining came out of hibernation this season to make a name for himself as a wrestler.  On Friday, Linear received a bye before losing a close match to a St. Rita opponent.  Linear defaulted on Saturday and did not wrestle, but this junior does have one more year remaining before his days at OPRF are over.  There's no question about his talent, and he could be a major contributor next year.  Time will tell, but it is an absolute joy watching Linear's talents on the mat.

H Davonte Mahomes has had such a down then up year.  He battled tough opponents on many occasions, sometimes coming out the victor and sometimes just the opposite.  One thing is crystal clear: this freshman has the skill set to be one of the premiere wrestlers across the state.  Watch this kid as he almost certainly will battle OPRF's greats for ultimate supremacy.  In this tournament, Davonte fell a little short against Chepe Mariscal of Morton and Kevin Skryzpiec of Mt. Carmel.  Both battles were close when either one would get Davonte downstate.  These losses were character losses, and I don't envy Davonte's opponents next year.

Darius Henry | 112 pounds, sectional champion.

Sam Brooks | 171 pounds, sectional runner-up.

Chirino Watson | 135 pounds, third place winner.

Cameron Harris | 119 pounds, fourth place finisher.

Michael Woulfe | 152 pounds, fourth place finisher.



Sectional in progress: 3 in semi's, 4 in wrestlebacks

Leyden High School    Individual Sectional

Semifinalists include Darius Henry (112), Davonte Mahomes (145), and Sam Brooks (171).  All three need to win one of the next two matches to qualify for the State tournament in Champaign.

These four will begin the wrestleback climb tomorrow morning: Linear Vining (103), Cameron Harris (119), Chirino Watson (135), and Michael Woulfe (152).  Each did win in his first match before losing (Linear Vining advanced with a bye).  In order to qualify for State, this group must win three consecutive matches on Saturday.

Wrestling begins again at 9:00 am, with finals at 2:00 pm.

OFFICIAL sectional bracket (updated) | Leyden Sectional brackets



OPRF's 7 Sectional Qualifiers to wrestle at Leyden on Fri & Sat
With team chances over, all eyes on Leyden with top 3 advancing to Champaign · 02/09/2011

Leyden High School    Individual Sectional

This Friday and Saturday will be another war of attrition at Leyden High School (Franklin Park, IL) as twelve wrestlers per weight (three in each of four Regionals) vie for one of the top four spots and a spot on the medal stand.  Unlike the Regional tournament, the Individual Sectional advances the top four onto Individual State.  Even if a wrestlers loses in a 3rd place bout, he is guaranteed a ticket to Champaign.  The result of the 3rd place bout will affect his spot in Champaign's bracket.

The seven Huskies competing are Linear Vining (103), Darius Henry (112), Cameron Harris (119), Chirino Watson (135), Davonte Mahomes (145), Michael Woulfe (152), Sam Brooks (171).

Friday's wrestling begins early for its only session at 4:30 pm, and Saturday's wrestling has two sessions: 9:00 am and 2:00 pm.  Admission is $5 per session.

OFFICIAL sectional bracket | Leyden Sectional brackets | Unofficial/discussion



OPRF takes 2nd at York, 7 Huskies advance out of Regional
Huskies don't pace rival Lyons Township, but half of roster to make trip to Leyden · 02/05/2011

OPRF placed 7 (left to right): Linear Vining, Davonte Mahomes, Chirino Watson,
Darius Henry, Sam Brooks, Michael Woulfe, and Cameron Harris. (Photo by B.T.)

OPRF entered this Saturday's event as two-time defending Regional champions.  In the way were ten tough teams in one of the few premier opening-round tournaments across all of Illinois.  For the first time this season, the Huskies put forth a full lineup of fourteen wrestlers prepped to wrestle Huskie Style.

Linear Vining, sidelined until this weekend, set the tone early with a first period fall over a wrestler who battled back for third place.  As a team, OPRF and York grappled for second place in the early rounds.  In the final round, the Huskies took control of that second place finish.  Even if a few matches turned out differently, it would have been very difficult to catch the Lions of Lyons Township.

The fireworks were had early with, within seconds, two of the quickest falls all season.  It seemed as Eddie Guen-Murray had a plane to catch as he scored perhaps the shortest pinfall in OPRF history with a fall at 0:11.  Not thirty seconds later, Zak Ladwig-Scott made short work of his opponent for a fall at 0:25.  Steady work continued as the Huskies had ten in the medal round, with only the top 3 advancing to the Leyden Individual Sectional.

Falling short of the medal round were Donald Hicks (125), Jake O'Mara (130), Joe Ariola (160), and Zak Ladwig-Scott (215).  Falling short in the third place bouts were Nate Crain (140), Eddie Guen-Murray (189), and Marq Brumant (285).  Finding the final spot on the medal stand (and a ticket to Leyden) were Cameron Harris (119), Chirino Watson (135), and Michael Woulfe (152).  The lone second place award went to Linear Vining (103) in a an epic battle.  Three took home Regional brackets: Darius Henry (112), Davonte Mahomes (145), and Sam Brooks (171).

"We battled today." ~ M.P.  (Photos by B.T.)

2011 Sectional Qualifiers

Linear Vining (103) - 2nd.  |  Linear, a junior, debuted to dispatch the competition before taking new crosstown rival Matt Garelli (#1 ranked) to the limits for the title.

Darius Henry (112) - 1st.  |  Darius avenged an earlier loss and is ready to cement his name as a household one across this fine state.

Cameron Harris (119) - 3rd.  |  Cameron swam through a strong swamp and persevered after losing an early match to a worthy opponent.

Chirino Watson (135) - 3rd.  |  Chirino is not ready to finish this, his senior season, as he placed in a tough, but small, field.

Davonte Mahomes (145) - 1st.  |  Davonte looks to have hit his stride while serving a hat trick to Luke Polka of Lyons Township.

Michael Woulfe (152) - 3rd.  |  Michael had to win twice over a budding superstar to gain access to his first individual sectional.

Sam Brooks (171) - 1st.  |  Sam continues to rack up the takedowns -- and falls -- over the field of admiring onlookers.



Second season: Huskies begin where they ended at York
Saturday's regional takes place in Elmhurst where 11 teams war to place wrestlers · 02/03/2011

After surviving Blizzard-geddon 2011, nothing is a better cure than white hot wrestling.  OPRF begins its postseason tournament at York this Saturday, where the regional champion advances to the team tournament.

Wrestling begins at 9:00 am, with the championship round set to begin at 2:00 pm.  Only the top 3 wrestlers advance to the Leyden individual sectional the following week.  Admission is $4 per session (9 am or 2 pm) or $6 per day.

Teams involved are Addison Trail, Maine West, Elk Grove Village, York, Leyden, Proviso West, Lyons, Proviso East, Fenwick, Maine South, and our own OPRF.  Mother Nature will be kind to all of us on Saturday.  So come on out!

To read more about IHSA postseason schedule and policies, view the 2011 IHSA Postseason Manual.

Blizzards are treacherous, but nothing stops our Huskie Hurricane!



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