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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
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.
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
Takedown King Zach Brinner | Pin
King Andre Lee | MVP Emonte
Logan | Coaches James Jarasek
JUNIOR VARSITY |
MVP Brian Toledo
ROY Davonte Mahomes | Most
Improved Darius Henry | Tough Guy
Chirino Watson |
Susan Collins Kris Ellis |
Takedown King Davonte Mahomes |
King Sam Brooks | MVP Sam
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
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
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
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
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
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
IHSA.tv 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
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
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
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 IHSA.com and -- new this year --
video on IHSA.tv.
Here are the details:
| Assembly Hall (University of
Illinois) - 1800 S. First St., Champaign, IL 61820
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
$8.00 (general admission) or $10.00 (reserved) for each session (per IHSA)
Top 6 in each weight class
Qualifying wrestlers from |
All Class 3A schools
Individual pairings &
Tournament time schedule
Follow online LIVE (or just
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.
It is my understanding that you can order photos of the
place-winners through IHSA.org.
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.
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
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
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.
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
| 112 pounds, sectional champion.
| 171 pounds, sectional
| 135 pounds, third place winner.
| 119 pounds, fourth place
| 152 pounds, fourth place
Sectional in progress: 3 in semi's,
4 in wrestlebacks
Leyden High School
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
Wrestling begins again at 9:00 am, with finals at
OFFICIAL sectional bracket
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.)
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
Cameron Harris (119) - 3rd.
| Cameron swam through a strong
swamp and persevered after losing an early match to a worthy
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.
treacherous, but nothing stops our
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