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News Archive - Most Recent News Is at the Top

2011 Offseason


Strip down to strip it up: Huskies end "preseason" in Vegas
Larry Early and Cam Harris place for the Orange and Blue · 11/01/2011

After a tough two day tournament, the travelling Huskies had a chance to unwind on the Las Vegas strip -- in their singlets!  As a reminder, only a handful of wrestlers attended.  Here's a rundown of the results, per our fearless leader:

As always, wrestling tells the truth. We got to see some very good things this weekend. We also were witness to deficiencies. We have a ton of work ahead of us. Pointed in the right direction, on the shoulders of a strong senior class, we are well on our way. With full commitment and everybody bought in, this is going to be a fruitful year.

We had a great time. The boys celebrated Halloween in their singlets on the strip. Literally. Special thanks the Kevin O'Mara to treating everyone to the buffet at Paris!

High school division
Ben Sissler wrestled sick but tougher out two good wins. Ben is a second year wrestler winning matches at national tournaments. Not bad.

Sam Koenigsberg did a nice job managing his weight. It paid off with a third place finish. We think Sam could have won it, but he fought every inch of the way to third. Nice job Sammy!

Elite Division
Johnny Gahagan is a very good competitor. At 2-2, he had a good tournament. As Johnny gets further into our program, he is going to thrive.

We were not sure what to expect from freshman Larry Early. Then he came out and gave the eventual champ and 10th ranked guy in the country all he could handle in round one. After rattling off several wins to place, Larry got hurt and defaulted to 6th place. With hard work and discipline, Larry will could earn a place in the history books when all said and done.

Darius Henry ran into a couple of studs, but he did get a win in between. Wrestling up a weight, Darius' best will come when he gets lean and mean.

Captain Cam Harris battled to 7th place. Cam won several hard fought matches on his way to All-American status. One coach refused to believe Cam started wrestling as a freshman. He looks ready to have a special senior year.

Jake O'Mara went 2-2 with a huge win over five time national champ and Michigan State commit Freddy Rodriguez. After a bit more tuning, Jake will be ready to make a name for himself in IL.

Maurice Wilson also went 2-2 and battled hard. Maurice's dedication and hard work is beginning to pay off. He is a unique young man.

Colin Rogers went 3-2. Like Darius, Colin was small for his weight but battled tough. Colin has put in a very good preseason as is ready for his senior campaign.

Zach Pickering battled hard to go 1-2. Zach has mad big gains this fall and will continue to do so. With hard work, Zach will continue to build toward his significant potential.

Michael Woulfe went 2-2, pushing two of the top guys but falling a bit short. Four and a half minute matches were not quite enough for Woulfe to grind his guys down. He has had a great preseason but knows there is work to do to reach his lofty goals!

Sammy Brooks won his first match but got plunked on his head. He is fine but was removed from the tourney for precautionary reasons.



Goal for gold: Ellis Coleman named OW at Sunkist
OPRF fab grad defeats Joe Betterman in finals · 10/29/2011


While Sam Brooks (see below) is the most decorated all around OPRF wrestler in history, he doesn't have the most Varsity victories in high school history.  That current honor goes to Ellis Coleman, 2009 graduate.  Ellis has been lighting up the Greco scene lately (did you see him on ESPN?), and this weekend Ellis was named Outstanding Wrestler at the Sunkist Kids International Open.  Ellis outscored his opponents 26-0 on the tournament.  He defeated all-universe wrestler Joe Betterman in the 60 kg / 132 lb finals.  The tournament is also a 2012 Olympic qualifier event.  The winner in Greco qualifies for the trials.  Congratulations, Ellis! | Videos

Pete Kowalczuk, another OPRF Greco sensation, also wrestled in the tournament.  He placed 3rd in a tough 120 kg / 264.5 kg weight class.  Pete's been battling injuries, but it's great to see him back on the mat.  Congratulations on the place, Pete!



Wresting freaks beware: Huskie Halloween planned for Las Vegas
OPRF to send several wrestlers to Nevada to compete in a preseason tournament on Oct. 29 and 30 · 10/23/2011

The beginning of the wrestling season is always a cause for celebration.  The pre-beginning of the wrestling season is always a cause for sweat, determination, and pride.  The Huskies will attend their third different preseason tournament in three years: The NUWAY Southwest Kickoff Classic.  The tournament takes place over the Halloween weekend.  Here are the Huskies that will be competing (along with their division and weight):

      Larry Early (Elite 122) - Johnny Gahagan (Elite 122) - Darius Henry (Elite 128) - Cameron Harris (Elite 133) -
      Maurice Wilson (Elite 138) - Jake O'Mara (Elite 138) - Colin Rogers (Elite 148) - Michael Woulfe (Elite 163) -
      Sammy Brooks (Elite 192) - Ben Sissler (Varsity 128) - Sam Koenigsberg (Varsity 138)

Note that several wrestlers are also football players, and their season just ended. 

Follow the action live: TrackWrestling.  Visit the tournament website: NUWAY Freak Show.



'Eye on the future: Sam Brooks commits to Iowa
Slammin' Sammy to take his talent to Iowa City next fall · 10/17/2011

Sun-Times Article |  There have been many wresters at Oak Park (and River Forest) High over the school's long history.  None have been more decorated than senior Sam Brooks.  He is the third of three successful Brooks brothers, and he is the youngest state champion in OPRF history.  The list goes on and on.  Well, you know the lore.

On October 17, Sam verbally committed to a university with an extremely rich tradition: the Iowa Hawkeyes.  Sam also visited Minnesota, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Missouri.  You can watch Sam this season (watch him, folks) as he battles alongside his Orange and Blue Wrecking Crew teammates.

Congratulations, Sammy! 



IHSA votes to amend the individual state tournament
More medals to be awarded, wrestling starts earlier; Changes in effect this season · 09/12/2011

After much debate and consideration, the IHSA accepted a recommendation to expand the IHSA individual state championships, currently in Champaign.  The changes take effect immediately.  Here are the changes, from a September 12 article:

The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors approved a recommendation for a format change to the IHSA Individual Wrestling State Finals at its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, September 12, 2011.

The new format will feature 16 qualifiers per each of the 14 weight classes in each of the three classes. The format will also feature consolation wrestlebacks beginning after the quarterfinal rounds and the top six individuals in each weight class will medal. In order to complete the expanded tournament, the state tournament will now begin on Thursday, which had previously been reserved for warm-up mat time and meetings.

To view the complete release, please click here.



Practice (both inside and out) leads the way
Huskies pummel the competition -- and sometimes each other · 09/11/2011

Click on photo to enlarge | Pic 2

Cameron Harris and Ben Sissler recently represented the Huskies to the community in a public exposition on the streets of downtown.  Cam and Ben displayed pummeling along the street.  Way to represent the Huskies, gentlemen!



FILA Cadet Worlds: Two more Huskies compete, Matt Rundell 8th
New Huskie Matt Rundell places, Darius Henry competes · 08/28/2011

In the second half of the men's competition, two Huskies competed in Hungary against the world's best of their peers.  Impact freshman Matt Rundell went 1-1 to finish 8th.  Dynamic junior Darius Henry lost in his only match, but he is a Greco-Roman dynamo.  Just earning a slot at FILA Cadet Worlds is a tall achievement.  Congratulations, gentlemen!

Overall Results – The Huskies had three compete: Sam Brooks (FS 85 kg), Matt Rundell (GR 46 kg), and Darius Henry (54 kg).  Sam Brooks placed 3rd and Matt Rundell placed 8th.

View Photos | Sam Brooks 1 | Sam Brooks 2 | Sam Brooks 3

46 kg/101.25 lbs. - Matthew Rundell, Oak Park, Ill., 8th
WIN Mario Stjepic (Croatia), 0-2, 6-0, 7-0
LOSS Kasutoshi Ichioka (Japan), 0-1, 9-3, 0-6

54 kg/119 lbs. - Darius Henry, Oak Park, Ill.
LOSS Murad Mammadov (Azerbaijan), 0-7, 0-3

85 kg/187.25 lbs. - Sam Brooks, Oak Park, Ill., 3rd
WIN Aleksander Wojtachnio (Poland), pin
WIN Vasile Caras (Romania), 5-3, 6-0
WIN Shavkatjon Odinayev (Uzbekistan), 0-4, 1-1, 2-0
LOSS Aslan Bibulatov (Russia), 0-6, 2-6
WIN Beka Rotchikashvili (Georgia), 0-1, 3-1, 2-1



Family support: Youth football/wrestling family shows strong
Supporters arrive to Board meeting in droves; no decisions yet made by Board · 08/25/2011

This past Thursday, August 25, the OPRF third floor library was packed to the brim with over 100 concerned coaches, fans, parents, wrestlers (past and present), and youth who appeared at an OPRF board meeting to contest OPRF usage fees that could cripple both the wrestling and football youth programs.

On this night, the Board made it clear that they are not trying to "shut down" these programs but work to help make them thrive.  A conversation was had, but no policies were established or enforced.  The conversation will continue at the next Board meeting in September, another opportunity for you to arrive and show your support.

My individual take on tonight was that it is a good step forward.  The Board admitted that, through their policies, they are handcuffed to charge what they have.  They will continue to look at operating costs and look for a fair solution to allow these two wonderful youth programs to continue and thrive as well as possible.  Let me stress again, though, that no concrete policies were amended or upheld.  Stay tuned, and keep yourself informed.  Thanks again to the dozens and dozens and DOZENS who came out on this night.  I am so blessed to be a part of this amazing organization and family.



Meeting 8/25: Please show support at OPRF board meeting

Thursday, Aug. 25th, is a pivotal meeting concerning Huskie youth programs.  Please come out and show support for the youth programs.  The OPRF board meeting begins at 7:15 pm on the second floor overlooking Scoville.  Read the important message from the wrestling and football staffs.



FILA Cadet Worlds: OPRF Huskie Sam Brooks places 3rd
Sam's only loss is to Aslan Bilubatov of Russia · 08/24/2011

Sam Brooks

Sam Brooks, a senior, traveled to Hungary to wrestle against the world's best in his freestyle weight class and took home a bronze medal.  Congratulations, Sammy!  In the Greco competition, Huskies Sam, Darius Henry (junior), and Matt Rundell (freshman) will compete. 

Here's some of the text from an article that featured Sam: | View Article

SZOMBATHELY, Hungary – Sam Brooks of Oak Park, Ill. won a bronze medal at 85 kg/187.25 lbs. on the opening day of the FILA Cadet World Championships on Tuesday.

Brooks defeated Beka Rotchikashvili of Georgia in his bronze-medal bout, 0-1, 3-1, 2-1.

Brooks won his first three matches, beating Aleksander Wojtachnio of Poland, Vasile Caras of Romania and Shavkatjon Odinayev of Uzbekistan. In the semifinals, he was defeated by eventual runner-up Aslan Bibulatov of Russia.

“He wrestled great. He showed a lot of guts. He was tough all day and very tenacious. In the quarters, he had a tough match with Uzbekistan and won it at the end. He got stronger as the day went along. Sam showed a lot of heart,” said National Freestyle Developmental Coach Bill Zadick.

85 kg/187.25 lbs. - Sam Brooks, Oak Park, Ill., 3rd
WIN Aleksander Wojtachnio (Poland), pin
WIN Vasile Caras (Romania), 5-3, 6-0
WIN Shavkatjon Odinayev (Uzbekistan), 0-4, 1-1, 2-0
LOSS Aslan Bibulatov (Russia), 0-6, 2-6
WIN Beka Rotchikashvili (Georgia), 0-1, 3-1, 2-1



Worlds Collide: Cadet, Judo, and OPRF "World" all upcoming
Three Huskies to visit Hungary; graduate Brad Bolen challenges; OPRF school year to begin · 08/18/2011

Cadet Call Three OPRF Huskies who will compete this winter during the wrestling season will represent a country in Szombathely, Hungary, between August 23-28.  Sam Brooks (Freestyle and Greco), Darius Henry (Greco), and new freshman Matt Rundell (Greco) will all represent the U.S.  For more information on the tournament and this great opportunity for the trio, visit the USA Wrestling article here.  Good luck, gentlemen!

Brad Bolen (Courtesy of Forest Leaves/Sun-Times)

"Bolen" over the Rest Brad Bolen, former OPRF wrestler and class of 2007, will compete in the Judo World Championships in Paris, France, on August 21-26.  Brad, an Olympic hopeful, will compete in the 145 pound weight class.  Read a recent article in the Forest Leaves.  


Back to School  The summer will soon be over, and with it comes the beginning of the school year at Oak Park & River Forest High School.  Sadly, old faces will be gone, but new faces will also arrive.  The fall marks the football season, too, and many OPRF wrestlers will be competing.  Visit to view the football schedule.  Come out and support the squad!



Joint venture: Mike Powell and Chris McGrath launch RPW
Relentless Pursuit Wrestling instructs and trains; boasts incredible results · 08/14/2011

Relentless Pursuit Wrestling

Mike Powell (instructing, left) and Chris McGrath (instructing, right) pursue relentlessly.

Mike Powell, our own OPRF Head Coach, and Chris McGrath, Downers Grove North Head Coach, have teamed up to provide top level wrestling technique and instruction to high school students near and far.  Although conference foes, these two leaders have a mutual respect and both bring amazing talents and credentials to this endeavor.

Just recently, Relentless Pursuit Wrestling has launched a website.  Click here to visit the website.  Follow the program as, undoubtedly, it continues to contribute to the high-reaching successes of its participants. 



Team Illinois Cadet World's fundraiser this Saturday (8/13)
Come on by, you'll be "hanging out" with Cali and so many more! · 08/11/2011

If you're coming, give a heads up phone call or email to Mike Rundell.  Contact info below.  Hope you can come out and show your support!  It will be a great time!

Full details:

Illinois’ World Championship Party! - a benefit to raise money for Illinois wrestlers competing in the 2011 FILA World Championships in Hungary August 23-29

Send-off party for the athletes
August 13, 6-10pm
Guide’s Sports Club 5544 S. Archer Ave Chicago, IL 60638

(located near Midway Airport)
Tickets are $50 per person (includes pizza, pasta, salad, and open bar)
Split-the-Pot, raffles and auction, too!

Please make all checks payable to Little Huskies Wrestling Club

Contact: Please call Mike Rundell @ 312-343-3988 or email at with questions.



Ellis Coleman (OPRF class of 2009), internet and TV sensation
Alumnus soars to 3rd place at Junior World's · 08/01/2011

ESPN Video - Watch Here!

If you have followed OPRF Wrestling for some time, you are familiar with the name Ellis Coleman.  There are many alumni who have continued a career in wrestling.  Many alumni still work hard and excel professionally, in the community, or in many other areas.  Well, I can say what most can't about wrestling and its athletes: Ellis Coleman has become an internet sensation.

Click here to watch the video.  It has 1,327 comments as of 10:30 pm tonight.  Ellis recently finished with a bronze medal at the 2011 Junior World Championships.

ON ESPN2, Tuesday, August 2, and 10:20 am Central time - Ellis interviews on "First Take"

Watch Ellis on TV!!  Here's the article!



Huskie News: "Little" success, "camping" in, "Hungary" to help
Drew Matticks continues to shine, OPRF wrestling camp a success, FILA fundraiser upcoming · 07/29/2011

Matticks Matters Andrew Matticks, a wrestler in the Little Huskies feeder program, recently competed in the USA Wrestling Kids Greco-Roman and Freestyle National Championships in Farmington, Utah.  The competition took place on June 28-29.  Andrew medaled to a 2nd place in Greco and a 3rd place in Freestyle.  Both were at 105 pounds.  Andrew is a 12 year old student at Julian.  Visit the Wednesday Journal article.  Congratulations, Andrew!

The Thrill of Drill Last week, the OPRF wrestling camp took place at the high school.  It was open to both students inside and outside of the OPRF walls. Vista wrestlers from California made the trip as the second leg of a wrestling-type pen pal agreement.  Clinicians included our own Mike Powell as well as Brad Bolen, a former OPRF wrestler and current judo standout.  View pics. 

FILA-ing Good   The FILA Cadet World Championships are upcoming, and they will have Huskie international flavor.  Darius Henry (Greco) and Sam Brooks (Greco and Freestyle) each have earned the right to fly to Hungary to compete against the best in the world.  The competition takes place on August 23-29.  There is an upcoming send-off party for the Illinois wrestlers at Guide's Sports Club (Chicago) on August 13 from 6-10 pm.  Come out and support them if you can.  Details are below.

Full details:

Illinois’ World Championship Party! - a benefit to raise money for Illinois wrestlers competing in the 2011 FILA World Championships in Hungary August 23-29

Send-off party for the athletes
August 13, 6-10pm
Guide’s Sports Club 5544 S. Archer Ave Chicago, IL 60638

(located near Midway Airport)
Tickets are $50 per person (includes pizza, pasta, salad, and open bar)
Split-the-Pot, raffles and auction, too!

Please make all checks payable to Little Huskies Wrestling Club

Contact: Please call Mike Rundell @ 312-343-3988 or email at with questions.



Farwent: Results overview from the nation's stage
OPRF notches 4 All-Americans; all Huskies wrestle at or above a .500 record · 07/24/2011

Each July, many of the nation's best Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlers congregate in Fargo, North Dakota, to display the best that they have under the under-populated Fargodome.  Not all of the country's top gunmen make the trip to North Dakota (it is important to know that a spot at Fargo must be earned through feeder tournaments), but as the saying goes, "You can't win it unless you're in it."  In other words, nobody can crown you national champion unless you go out there and prove it.

As you may be aware, USA Wrestling separates its divisions by age.  Most of the Cadets (not to be confused with FILA Cadets) are graduating freshmen and sophomores.  Although, depending on your age, a Cadet may be a graduating 8th grader.  Wrestlers may also wrestle up, but not down.  Juniors (not to be confused with FILA Juniors) are typically graduating juniors and seniors.

This year, the Huskies sent to Fargo four current members of the OPRF student body.  In the Cadet Greco tournament, Darius Henry (119), Jake O'Mara (130), and Davonte Mahomes (145) all had All-American abilities and desires.  Darius, a rising high school junior, came to Fargo for the second time after not placing a year ago.  He struggled during the IHSA season as a freshman but found his Greco-Roman groove in the 2010 offseason.  Darius wrestled well in the tournament and took home a 3rd place medal.

Jake O'Mara has exploded on the Cadet scene this year in both styles: Greco and Freestyle.  He only lost one match at the two Cadet dual tournaments this summer.  Jake won four bouts this year in the Cadet Greco tournament, but he also lost two.  He did not place.  Jake, a rising high school junior, has similarities to Darius.  A year ago, Darius had a record of 5-19 in the IHSA season before beginning to find his place with the international styles.  In this IHSA season, Darius finished with a 32-8 record and a state tournament appearance.  Jake completed this IHSA season with a 3-7 record and is now pushing the competition with the international styles.  Look for big things from Jake this November through February.

Davonte Mahomes came into the Greco tournament as a favorite, and his results didn't disappoint.  After an early loss, Davonte refused to lose.  Davonte, a rising sophomore, demonstrated his amazing young talent en route to a 3rd place finish.  If you remember, Davonte was an eyelash away from qualifying for the IHSA state tournament this year.  He was the takedowns leader for the Huskies in 2010-2011 as well.  I'd say that's not a bad feat for a freshman.

Note that Joe Ariola, a rising high school junior, also qualified for Fargo in the Cadet Greco tournament.  He elected not to attend and compete in Fargo.

In the Cadet Freestyle tournament, Jake and Davonte both competed while Darius sat out.  Jake had a tough go and finished with a 2-2 record.  Davonte wrestled up a weight class (152) and managed a 3-2 record until his finish.

Looking at the Junior tournaments, all you need to utter is two words: "Sam Brooks."  Slammin' Sammy was the lone junior entrant for the Huskies, wrestling in both the Greco-Roman and Freestyle tournaments.  A rising high school senior, Sam took home All-American status in both styles at 189 pounds: 3rd in Greco and 4th in Freestyle.  That makes six All-Americans in six attempts for Sam.  The only other OPRF wrestler to have medaled in both styles at Fargo is Peter Kowalczuk (OPRF 2007).  With one year to go, Sam is perhaps the most decorated wrestler in OPRF history.  You can be sure Sam will be eyeing a pair of second state titles this year.  He was a member of the 2008-2009 team champions, and he won the 2010 individual state title at 160 pounds.

Watch many of the Fargo bout videos at

More TrackWrestling | | | ILUSAW



Ready, set, Fargo: Great action upcoming
Follow Nationals when you're not "camping" at OPRF · 07/14/2011

OPRF runs the premier wrestling summer camp, as we all know.  See the below article for an update on Vista and the summer camp at OPRF High School.  However, for the casual fan (like me), the Fargo National Championships are something to follow as well.

Several Huskies are participating.

Current Huskies to Watch | 

Greco (Cadet) - Sun & Mon |  Darius Henry (119), Jake O'Mara (130), Davonte Mahomes (145)
   After Day 1: Darius Henry is undefeated thus far and has locked up a top 8 finish.  Tomorrow's round robin will determine his place match.  Jake O'Mara fared well but finished the tournament with a 4-2 record.  He has been eliminated.  Davonte Mahomes has lost one bout so far but is still alive.  He must win his first match (or two) on Monday in order to guarantee a place.
    Day 2:  Darius Henry and Davonte Mahomes each will place with a top 4 finish, either in 3rd or 4th.  The medal round begins at 2:00 pm.  Good luck, Darius and Davonte!
    Results:  Darius Henry wins 3rd place over Cole Weaver, Michigan, by Dec 2-0, 0-2, 1-0.  Davonte Mahomes wins 3rd place over Jared Scharenbrock, Wisconsin, by Dec 4-0, 3-0.  Congratulations, gentlemen!

Greco (Junior) - Mon & Tue |  Sam Brooks (189)
   After Day 1: Sam Brooks is undefeated thus far and is one of 8 remaining on his side of the bracket.  The top four on each side will medal.  He will face nemesis Jake Waste, Minnesota, in his first bout on Tuesday.
    Results:  Sam Brooks wins 3rd place over Nathan Burak, Colorado, by Dec 0-2, 1-0, 1-0.  Congratulations, Sam!

Freestyle (Cadet) - Wed, Thu, Fri |  Jake O'Mara (130), Davonte Mahomes (152)
   After Day 1: Davonte Mahomes has lost one bout so far but is still alive.  He is one of 12 alive on his side of the bracket.  The top 4 advance to the medal round.  Jake O'Mara lost a pair of close three period matches and ended the tournament with a 2-2 record.  He has been eliminated.
   After Day 2: Davonte Mahomes lost his second bout and has been eliminated.  He finished the tournament with a 3-2 record, wrestling up a weight class from his time in the Greco-Roman tournament a few days ago.

Freestyle (Junior) - Thu, Fri, Sat |  Sam Brooks (189)
   After Day 1: Sam Brooks is undefeated thus far and is one of 9 remaining on his side of the bracket.  The top four on each side will medal.
   After Day 2: Sam Brooks lost his final bout today but will wrestle for third place tomorrow morning.  His bout will be against Nathan Burak, Colorado.  Sam defeated Burak in the 3rd place bout in Greco.
   Results:  Sam Brooks places 4th in the nation after a loss Nathan Burak, Colorado, by Dec 6-1, 2-0.  Despite the loss, Sam has now earned an unprecedented 6-for-6 mark in All-American possibilities at Fargo (GR/FS: Sam was 2nd/2nd in 2009; 7th/2nd in 2010; and now 3rd/4th in 2011).  Congratulations on all of your success, Sam!

More Schedule | TrackWrestling | | ILUSAW

Previews |  Full Tournament | Cadet GR | Junior GR | Cadet FS | Junior FS



OPRF camp upcoming, rides needed; also follow Fargo
Friend of the program, Vista, to visit; more pick-ups and drop-offs needed · 07/11/2011

OPRF Camp (July 18-23) |  From Coach Powell:

Wrestling Parents,

Our senior trip, the National Dual teams, the Vista camp, and all other wrestling related activities have been hugely successful this summer. More on that in a later email.

We are now getting focused on our camp, which takes place next week, July 18-23. We are bringing in 5 NCAA Division 1 wrestlers/coaches as clinicians. We anticipate having a great camp. Football players will have football in the morning and wrestling in the afternoon, making for a long day and even greater opportunity for growth (toughness)!

If your wrestler is not yet signed up for camp, he can sign up on the first day.

We have had several families agree to host Vista kids. We need one or two more. If you are willing, please contact me.

Lastly, we are looking for rides to and from the airport for Vista guys. Coach Pitts is getting me flight info today and I will relay to anyone willing to drive. They arrive this coming Sunday (17th) and depart the following Saturday (23rd). Please let me know if you are willing to drive.

Thank you for everything, it really has been a great summer thus far for Huskie Wrestling!

Coach P

Fargo Nationals (July 15-23) |  USA Wrestling

Also upcoming is the annual national event known as the ASICS/Vaughan Junior & Cadet National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota.  Divisions are Cadet Greco, Cadet Freestyle, Junior Greco, Junior Freestyle, Women's Cadet Freestyle, and Women's Junior Freestyle.  Watch for several current (and perhaps future) Huskies.  As always, follow on TrackWrestling.  Added this year is extended live feeds -- up to 8 live mats via

More | Schedule | TrackWrestling | | ILUSAW



Ellis Coleman earns spot on 2011 U.S. Junior World Greco Team
Former OPRF wrestler scores with three seconds left to win special wrestle-off in Colorado Springs · 07/02/2011

image via USA Wrestling

This past week, Ellis Coleman continued to blaze his way across the Greco-Roman "world" sky as he earned a special best-of-three matches wrestle-off for a spot on the U.S. Junior World Greco Team at 66 kg / 145.5 lbs.  Ellis, OPRF's career wins leader, was injured at the time of the national tournament.  He had this opportunity because he medaled at last year's Junior World Championships.  Ellis won the wrestle-off in last second dramatic fashion by a count of two bouts to one.  Congratulations, Ellis!

More | Article on The Mat/USA Wrestling | Videos on



Make room for the broom: Team IL sweeps duals in Cadet, Junior
For perhaps first time ever, a state -- this state -- owns Greco and Freestyle for Cadet and Junior · 06/27/2011




The #1 seed Illinois squad ravaged through competition en route to the Illinois Junior Freestyle Duals championship trophy this Monday in Oklahoma City.  Our own Sam Brooks wrestled to a perfect 6-0 record in the Freestyle Division.  Add the 6-0 to his 7-0 from Greco, Sam finished with a cool baker's dozen victories to nary a loss.

Congrats Sam, and congrats to all of the Illinois wrestlers and coaches!!!

Junior Freestyle title dual |  Title Video | TrackWrestling


The USA Wrestling Junior National Duals tournament is happening as we speak in Oklahoma.  Darius Henry and Sam Brooks are both undefeated thus far.  Darius Henry, you may remember, wrestled for the Cadets as well.  The sophomore is wrestling at 112 pounds for the Junior team.  Sam Brooks is at 189 pounds and will wrestle on the Junior Freestyle group.  Darius will not.

Team Illinois is undefeated thus far, and is seemingly on a collision course with a rock-solid Wisconsin group for the title.

Updated:  Team Illinois devoured Wisconsin 40-17 in the title bout of the Greco Junior dual team tournament!  Our own Darius Henry (112) and Sam Brooks (189) each finished the tournament with unblemished 7-0 records.  Darius went a combined 14-0 in both the Cadet and Junior Greco dual team competitions (eligible as a sophomore).  Absolutely amazing.  And don't forget that both these wrestlers have qualified to travel to Hungary to compete in the FILA Cadet world tournament in August.

Freestyle tourney starts Sunday!!

Greco tournament |  Article | Title Video | TrackWrestling | Illinois Matmen Coverage



Senior-itis: Huskies complete senior trip
Studly get studlier among Mother Nature's bests · 06/19/2011

OPRF seniors and coaches pose for snapshots on their Senior Trip. (click to enlarge)

Recently, the OPRF Huskie Seniors had a chance to get away with OPRF coaches on a trip for the ages.  With a whole lot to look forward to (and I'm not just talking about the 2011-2012 season), these fine young men had the opportunity to connect with themselves, with each other, and with nature.  We hope your trip was spectacular.  I'm sure it was.



Double dose: Cadet completes sweep of national duals (GR, FS)
Cadets rise again to top of podium; bevy of Huskies integral parts of the Illini machine · 06/19/2011



After the Cadets took the Greco-Roman national duals title (see below), they continued to dominate all in their path en route to double titles in Daytona Beach, FL.  Current Huskies on the Freestyle team included Darius Henry, Jake O'Mara, and Davonte Mahomes.  Jake O'Mara was named to the All-Tournament team with his 7-0 record.  Davonte Mahomes also finished unbeaten, with a 4-0 record.

Congrats Huskies, and congrats to all of the Illinois wrestlers and coaches!!!

Cadet Freestyle title dual |  Article | Video | TrackWrestling


A splattering of OPRF Huskies helped the Cadet Greco Illinois dual team to a title in Daytona Beach.  Current Huskies included Darius Henry, Jake O'Mara, Davonte Mahomes, Terry Martin, and Joey Ariola.  Darius Henry was named to the All-Tournament team with his 7-0 record.

Congrats Huskies, and congrats to all of the Illinois wrestlers and coaches!!!

Cadet Greco title dual |  Article | Video | TrackWrestling



Illi-noise: National Duals on tap, with Huskie flavor
Schoolboy duals complete, attention turns to Cadet and Junior tourneys · 06/13/2011


Dual duals |  Each June, through ILUSAW, many of Illinois' best Greco and Freestyle wrestlers compete against other states in dual competitions.  The "dual" duals comes from both style of wrestling: Greco-Roman and Freestyle.  Remember that OPRF wrestles Folkstyle wrestling during the winter season.

Schoolboy: June 8-12 in Indianapolis, IN |  TrackWrestling

The Illinois Schoolboy Greco team placed 3rd, and the Freestyle team placed 3rd.  Schoolboy is generally graduating 7th and 8th graders.

Cadet: June 14-18 in Daytona Beach, FL |  TrackWrestling

The Illinois Cadet Greco team placed TBD, and the Freestyle team placed TBD.  Cadet is generally graduating 9th and 10th graders.  Huskies competing: Greco / Darius Henry, Jake O'Mara, Davonte Mahomes, Terry Martin, Joey Ariola; Freestyle / Darius Henry, Jake O'Mara, Davonte Mahomes.

Junior: June 23-27 in Oklahoma City, OK |  TrackWrestling

The Illinois Junior Greco team placed TBD, and the Freestyle team placed TBD.  Junior is generally graduating 11th and 12th graders.



Upcoming of note

The USA Wrestling Second Chance opportunity is upcoming this Saturday, May 28, at Sycamore High School.  The winner of the open tournament in each Cadet/Junior and Freestyle/Greco combination will wrestle the 3rd place winner from the Illinois State Tournament (FS or GR) in the respective combination for the right to the 3rd and final Nationals spot from Illinois.  For more information about Second Chance, go to ILUSAW.

Car Wash |  Don't forget about the upcoming annual car wash at Oak Park & River Forest High School to support the wrestling team.  Ask your wrestler for more details.  Then, spread the word!

Upcoming in June will be National Duals (Cadet Greco/Freestyle, Junior Greco/Freestyle), and then Fargo Nationals takes place in July.



Still climbing: Alumni update

Brad Bolen qualifies for his second consecutive
World Team in judo.  (photo courtesy of Mack Bolen)

Recently, Brad Bolen has defended himself in the honor or representing his country in the World Team Championships, to be held this year in Paris.  This competition will be held in August.  Brad qualified in the 66 kg division.  He will be back home as a guest instructor for an upcoming wrestling clinic at OPRFHS.  Congratulations, Brad!

Two other wrestlers you may have also heard of are Chris and Nick Dardanes.  They will be competing this weekend in the FILA Junior World Team Trials.  You can follow the action on TrackWrestling.  The event takes place in Franklin, IN.  The twins compete under "Minnesota Storm" as it is the name of their university.  Look out for these two Golden Gophers in the NCAA after sitting out this past year.

Results |  Nick placed 2nd in 60 kg Freestyle while Chris placed 3rd in the same weight class.

On May 12-14, both Nick and Chris competed in the Northern Plains Senior Freestyle tournament in Waterloo, Iowa.  Chris finished 3rd in 60 kg Freestyle and Nick competed, but did not place, in 66 kg Freestyle.



Welcome to the resistance: Wrestlers shine at Greco state
Kenny Powers just that at OPRF for Illinois Greco-Roman tournament · 05/15/2011

Kenny Powers and family boasted 11 state champions (left to right, top then bottom: Joey Ariola, Sammy Brooks,
Davonte Mahomes, Rodrick Smith, Michael Johnson, Darius Henry, Michael Sepke, Jacob Rundell,
Matthew Rundell, and Gabriel Townsell.  Andrew Matticks is not pictured).  (photo by B.T.)

Fargo, North Dakota, is the destination of so many.  The Fargodome is the mecca of wrestlers across this expansive country, as it hosts Cadet and Junior Nationals each and every July.  Five current Huskies have earned the right to make that trip and compete in Greco: Darius Henry (Cadet-119), Jake O'Mara (Cadet-130), Davonte Mahomes (Cadet-152), Joey Ariola (Cadet-171), and Sammy Brooks (Junior-189).  Of this quintet, only Jake placed second.  It is important to note that more Huskies could qualify in future events.

For full results, go to Greco State on Trackwrestling.  Click on "Team Results" and then "Kenny Powers WC" for individual resuts.  Of note, not all KPWC wrestlers are OPRF students.  Jaleel Hollingsworth (Little Huskie WC) and Cameron Harris (Team Overtime) are also competitors.

For more pictures of the event, click here

Many thanks to the entire OPRF Wrestling Family as another USA Wrestling Illinois Greco-Roman State Championship is in the books.  We certainly appreciate all of the time and efforts from parents, coaches, friends, and the wrestlers themselves.  As I've been saying for years, the future of OPRF Wrestling is brilliantly bright.  A number of the wrestlers that wrestled this weekend attribute to this fact.  If you haven't taken a seat on the bandwagon, I implore you to join the Orange & Blue Express.  You won't be disappointed.



Greco State - Day one recap
Sunday is final day for Cadets, Juniors · 05/14/2011

The Field House upon exit Saturday (photo by B.T.)

The Huskies (both of the high school and prior varieties) wrestled in full force on Saturday, and many OPRF Cadets (generally freshman and sophomores) and Juniors (generally juniors and seniors) remain.  The kids tournament concluded on Saturday.

For full results, go to Greco State on Trackwrestling.  Click on "Team Results" and then "Kenny Powers WC" for individual resuts.  Of note, not all KPWC wrestlers are OPRF students.  Jaleel Hollingsworth (Little Huskie WC) and Cameron Harris (Team Overtime) are also competitors.

Wrestling begins again at 9:00 am on Sunday.  The top two wrestlers in each bracket automatically advance to Greco Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota.



Help needed for Greco State at OPRF this Sat & Sun (14th & 15th)
OPRF High School to once again host Greco-Roman State Championships; contact Mike Powell to help · 05/08/2011

Greco state in 2010 (photo by B.T.)

Volunteer if you can | Email Coach Powell at or

Message from Mike Powell:

Parents of wrestlers who champion life,

Next weekend, May 14 & 15, is Greco state. We host and this is our big money maker for the spring. We are looking for help. Nancy and Amy have graciously taken on concessions and they are need of help. Further, we are looking for table workers. If you are will to donate a day next weekend, please let me know. While our program is heavy on quality, we lack quantity (small numbers), so we need all the help we can get!

It is with great pride that I report the following:
We have an amazing group of kids. Our wrestlers have out trained and outworked any other program in the state thus far. They have grown together as a team and genuinely care for each other. I have over heard guys getting on each other about grades, maturity and behavior, and – of course – hard work. Many of our young guys have already set goals for next year and the leaders of the 2011-12 team are emerging. We are proud of your sons.

Coach P

And lest we forget: Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful mothers!



Powers that be: Kenny Powers WC to compete at DGS on Sat. 5/7
KPWC to battle seven other teams; come out if you're feeling an itch · 05/04/2011

The OPRF High School off-season club (Freestyle and Greco) will compete in an 8-team Freestyle-only tournament this Saturday, May 7, at Downers Grove South High School.  Many of the Huskie faithful are members of the KPWC.  Wrestling begins at 10 am.  Each team will wrestle in three duals in pool play and then cross bracket in the medal round.  Wrestling might last until 2 or 3 pm.

And don't forget about the Illinois Greco-Roman State Championships on May 14 and May 15 (Sat & Sun) at OAK PARK & RIVER FOREST HIGH SCHOOL.

Downers Grove South High School | 1436 Norfolk Street, Downers Grove, IL (click for map)

RESULT | Kenny Powers fought hard and placed 3rd out of the 8 teams.  Well done, gentlemen!



O'My: Jake O'Mara wins Cadet Freestyle State
Strong force of Huskies wrestle in Champaign · 05/01/2011

Jake O'Mara and his father (provided by Kevin O'Mara)

View photos from the event (courtesy of Kevin O'Mara) -- 14 pics (1.52 MB) | View more on Flickr

Jake O'Mara, a current sophomore, was the lone champion by the Kenny Powers Wrestling Club at the Illinois Freestyle State tournament.  The tournament took place in Champaign, IL, this past Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1.  Here are the results of the members of the Kenny Powers Wrestling Club, the offseason wrestling club hosted at OPRF. 

View Kenny Powers Wrestling Club results | NOTE: not all KPWC wrestlers attend OPRF.

Tournament Info & Results | Trackwrestling

Visit | Illinois / USA Wrestling



Breaking news: Weight classes to change for '11-'12 IHSA season
NFHS votes to alter most weight classes; change in order for the winter season · 04/26/2011

OUT: 103, 112, 119, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 152, 160, 171, 189, 215, 285

IN: 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220, 285

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has voted to change the fourteen Varsity weight classes for the upcoming season.  This decision is permanent and will remain in effect unless it is altered in any way.

Read about the new season changes | Article

The National Federation of State High School Associations is the governing body of high school athletics.  The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) is a member of the NFHS.



FILA-ing good: Plenty of Huskies in action at FILA Cadet Nationals
Two wrestlers, three titles highlight results; Nick Dardanes keeps on keepin' on in Junior · 04/25/2011

April 20-23 in Akron, Ohio, was the setting for the FILA Cadet (and Junior) Greco and Freestyle tournaments.  Darius Henry (54 KG / 119 lbs) and Sam Brooks (85 KG / 187.25 lbs) took home titles in the FILA Cadet Greco division!  Way to represent OPRF!  Sam also doubled in the FILA Cadet Freestyle division!  The titles allow these two young men the opportunity to represent their country at the newly re-established FILA Cadet World tournament in Hungary on August 23-28.

Other Huskies competing in FILA Cadet Greco were:

Jake O'Mara (63 KG / 138.75 lbs), Davonte Mahomes (69 KG / 152 lbs), Colin Rogers (69 KG / 152 lbs), Michael Woulfe (76 KG / 167.5 lbs), Joe Ariola (76 KG / 167.5 lbs)

In FILA Cadet Freestyle:

Darius Henry (58 KG / 127.75 lbs), Jake O'Mara (63 KG / 138.75 lbs), Colin Rogers (69 KG / 152 lbs), Joe Ariola (76 KG / 167.5 lbs), Michael Woulfe (76 KG / 167.5 lbs)

Nick Dardanes second in ASICS University Freestyle

Two-time OPRF state champion Nick Dardanes continued his torrid path on the national level with a runner-up finish at the ASICS University Freestyle tournament, in the 63 KG / 138.75 lbs weight class.  Nick lost in the title bout 2-1, 5-2 over a wrestler, Andrew Long, who finished 3rd at the NCAA Division I tournament this year.

Up next | This weekend is the Illinois Freestyle State Championships upcoming on April 30-May 1.



Trending now: Offseason tournaments
Local and national wrestlers challenge top competition · 04/10/2011

As this post enters cyberspace, both the ASICS U.S. Open Nationals and the FILA Junior Nationals are in full swing in Cleveland, Ohio.  Many Illinois wrestlers, and a few former Huskies, are competing this weekend in Cleveland.  Follow the action on TrackWrestling.

Former OPRF Huskie Pete Kowalczuk placed 5th in the ASICS U.S. Open Greco-Roman Division.  He is ranked 6th in country in the 120 kg / 264.5 lbs weight class.  Another former Huskie Ellis Coleman did not compete this weekend, but he is nationally ranked 5th in the 66 kg / 145.5 lbs weight class.  2010-2011 OPRF assistant coach Max Nowry placed 7th in the U.S. Open Greco-Roman tournament.

In the FILA Junior Greco-Roman Nationals, our own Sam Brooks, also of the Kenny Powers Wrestling Club, competed.  He finished in 3rd.  Rodrick Smith, of rival Proviso West but a Kenny Powers teammate, placed 7th.

In the FILA Junior Freestyle Nationals, Rodrick Smith did not place, but Sam Brooks placed 6th.  Former Huskie Nick Dardanes was also in the mix, and he wrestled for the championship.  Nick defeated Keith Surber and Cody Brewer along the way, but fell to Tony Ramos, formerly of Glenbard North, by a score of 1-1, 1-0 in the title bout.

Current Huskie Sam Brooks (left) along with alumni Pete Kowalczuk (middle) and Nick Dardanes (right).

Up next | Don't forget to watch out for the ASICS University Nationals and the FILA Cadet Nationals upcoming on April 20-23.



Trio in Freshman-Sophomore State Championships this weekend
Springfield to host three Huskies in 125, 130, and 160 pound weight classes · 03/09/2011

Team Illinois Frosh-Soph State Championships

Three Huskies will participate in the Frosh-Soph State Championships in Springfield Illinois this Saturday and Sunday, March 12 and 13.  The tournament is open to all freshman and sophomore wrestlers who did not qualify for the individual state tournament.

Participating are: Ben Sissler (125), Jake O'Mara (130), and Joey Ariola (160).

Follow the results at Team Illinois.  Good luck, wrestlers!  We know you'll wrestle Huskie Style!

Results | Joey Ariola battled Huskie tough on his way to a 2nd place finish!  Congratulations, Joey!  Joey will be a junior next year.  Jake O'Mara and Ben Sissler did not place, but it is an honor to have made it to Frosh-Soph State.



Off-season sure is on: News from the program
Head coach Mike Powell shares the latest · 03/03/2011

Wrestling parents,

There are many wonderful things to say in regard to the last couple of weeks and I assure you they will be said at the banquet. In the meantime, this email is about business. Here goes:

• If your wrestler has his warm ups, he needs to return them asap. Same goes for singlets. The athletic department charges parents for gear that isn't handed back. They can bring it into the AD's office. Singlets go to me (Mike Powell). Thanks.

• The off-season begins March 1st (attached is the off-season wrestling club flyer). While we can't force guys to wrestle in the spring, we strongly encourage it (provided they aren't in a spring sport). Attached is the USA card form that your child needs to have filled out and sent in ASAP. We do not charge for our club (very, very rare), but each kid needs a USA card.

• The banquet is Monday, March 14th at 6:30. We do a potluck. The potluck flier is attached, each class is assigned a dish. It's great fun.

• The off-season calendar is near completion and will be a comprehensive look at the spring and summer opportunities for our wrestlers. Once IL/USA wrestling solidifies their schedule, I will get all the wrestlers a calendar.

• The big ten’s are this weekend at Northwestern. If you are interested in seeing some great wrestling, this is the time.

Looking toward next year’s team, we are really excited. If we do the right things this spring and summer, next year will be quite memorable!


Mike Powell



My Voki just spoke-y: OPRF gets audio welcome
New, fun avatar website creates all sorts of video and audio fun · 02/25/2011

Earlier today, I was introduced to a really neat website:  This website allows you to create your own avatar that can play audio.  You can type speech text, use a microphone, upload audio, or even record over your phone!

There are all sorts of customizations you can make with your Voki, and I uploaded a picture of the OPRF Field House to serve as a background.

This Voki will sit along the left menu on all pages, ready to welcome all visitors.  This is a "head-turning" website, after all!

Go ahead: Click PLAY.  Listen to the warm welcome!



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