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News Archive - Most Recent News Is at the Top

2012 Offseason


In relentless pursuit, always: ESPN E60 video on Mike Powell
13+ minute film originally aired on October 30 · 11/01/2012


"In Relentless Pursuit: Mike Powell's Fight" | ESPN direct link


NUWAY? Our way: Team Oak Park nets 3 titles, 4 more medals
Pat Walker, Isaiah White, Joey Ariola take brackets; valuable matches ensue for several · 11/04/2012

It has been a tradition to take several wrestlers to a preseason wrestling tournament. For the last few years, OPRF has sent wrestlers to the NUWAY Southwest Kickoff Classic in Las Vegas, Nevada. In this year's tournament, several Huskies (and a few non-Huskies) did quite well for themselves.

Champions | Pat Walker (13 & 15 - 95 lbs), Isaiah White (Elite - 128 lbs), Joey Ariola (Elite - 192 lbs)

Other Placewinners | Louie Hayes (3rd; 13 & 15 - 89 lbs), Ben Sisler (8th; Varsity - 133 lbs), Bobby Campos (5th; Elite - 106 lbs), Larry Early (7th; Elite - 133 lbs)

Other Competitors | SaVonne Bennette (Varsity - 122 lbs), Michael Ordonez (Varsity - 128 lbs), Zach Brinner (Varsity - 138 lbs), Gabe Townsell (Elite - 115 lbs), Matthew Rundell (Elite - 122 lbs), Johnny Gunther (Elite - 143 lbs), Zach Pickering (Elite - 155 lbs), Sam Koenigsberg (Elite - 163 lbs)

Congratulations to all! You can follow many of these wrestlers at OPRF this fall season. In relentless pursuit!



Roll the footage: Mike Powell featured by ESPN on Tues. at 6 pm
"Follow the leader" as ESPN E:60 highlights one of our very own · 10/26/2012

Mike Powell reflects with fellow HOF inductees (IL Chapter) on Oct. 21.
(Photo by

The sports outlet that deems itself "The Worldwide Leader in Sports" will air a program on Mike Powell, current head coach of our Huskies. Tune into ESPN this Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 6 pm (Central) for an E:60 story.

For a glimpse, catch the trailer on Vimeo.

A special thanks to Joel Edwards and Peggy Young for passing the word along.



Preseason preparation: Team Oak Park invades Vegas
Several in the mix at the NUWAY Southwest Kickoff Classic · 11/03/2012

Las Vegas, Nevada - Nov 2-4, 2012

As you know, football and wrestling go together like peanut butter and jelly (wink-wink), so many of this year's wrestling crop were in the midst of a football season. Several of the non-football individuals have been entered in one of the premiere high school wrestling preseason tournaments (say that ten times fast). So far, team Oak Park has done well with competitors in contention for medals. Noting that not all wrestlers are from OPRF, below are the results thus far.

Taken from TrackWrestling: Follow online!

2012 NUWAY Southwest Kickoff Classic Results for Oak Park - Final
13&15 89 - Louie Hayes's place is 3rd and has scored 24.50 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Louie Hayes (Oak Park) won by pin over Ethan Leake (The Empire) (Pin 0:45)
Champ. Round 2 - Louie Hayes (Oak Park) won by major decision over John Fox (Gilroy Hawks) (Maj 18-4)
Quarterfinal - Louie Hayes (Oak Park) won by tech fall over Dawson Downing (Las Vegas Gladiators) (TF 17-2)
Semifinal - Zander Silva (Alta Loma Elite) won by decision over Louie Hayes (Oak Park) (Dec 4-2)
Cons. Semi - Louie Hayes (Oak Park) won by pin over Nikola Petrucelli (Team Smackdown) (Pin 0:00)
3rd Place Match - Louie Hayes (Oak Park) won by pin over John Fox (Gilroy Hawks) (Pin 1:03)

13&15 95 - Pat Walker's place is 1st and has scored 29.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Pat Walker (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Champ. Round 2 - Pat Walker (Oak Park) won by decision over Daniel Long (Team Smackdown) (Dec 9-2)
Quarterfinal - Pat Walker (Oak Park) won by pin over Gabriel Gray (Lovatos) (Pin 0:00)
Semifinal - Pat Walker (Oak Park) won by decision over Kyle Slendorn (Team New Jersey First) (Dec 4-1)
1st Place Match - Pat Walker (Oak Park) won by major decision over Colby Harlan (Oakdale) (Maj 14-4)

Varsity 122 - SaVonne Bennette's place is unknown and has scored 7.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - SaVonne Bennette (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Champ. Round 2 - SaVonne Bennette (Oak Park) won by major decision over Darek Hillison (Arbor View Gladiators) (Maj 14-3)
Champ. Round 3 - Robby Standley (Smashmouth Wrestling) won by major decision over SaVonne Bennette (Oak Park) (Maj 11-1)
Cons. Round 4 - Jansen Engelbrecht (USA Gold) won by decision over SaVonne Bennette (Oak Park) (Dec 4-0)

Varsity 128 - Michael Ordonez's place is unknown and has scored 0.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Michael Ordonez (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Champ. Round 2 - Anthony Yocum (TEAM G) won by decision over Michael Ordonez (Oak Park) (Dec 5-4)
Cons. Round 2 - Michael Ordonez (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Cons. Round 3 - Michael Tim (Palo Verde) won by pin over Michael Ordonez (Oak Park) (Pin 1:12)

Varsity 133 - Ben Sisler's place is 8th and has scored 15.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Andrew Mazziotti (Team Jackrabbits) won by decision over Ben Sisler (Oak Park) (Dec 5-2)
Cons. Round 1 - Ben Sisler (Oak Park) won by pin over Trae Workman (Fallon Outlaws) (Pin 4:33)
Cons. Round 2 - Ben Sisler (Oak Park) won by major decision over Jared Furey (orange lutheran) (Maj 17-7)
Cons. Round 3 - Ben Sisler (Oak Park) won by major decision over Eugene Laksana (Chino Hills High School) (Maj 14-2)
Cons. Round 4 - Ben Sisler (Oak Park) won by major decision over Lee Valdez (Beaumont) (Maj 11-1)
Cons. Round 5 - Ben Sisler (Oak Park) won by pin over Kristopher Madrigal (Bruins Elite WC) (Pin 1:01)
Cons. Round 6 - Ben Sisler (Oak Park) won by major decision over Robert Cobler (Centennial) (Maj 10-1)
Cons. Round 7 - Jimmy Garcia (Hemet) won by pin over Ben Sisler (Oak Park) (Pin 1:00)
7th Place Match - Brady OKeefe (Carson High School) won by decision over Ben Sisler (Oak Park) (Dec 6-5)

Varsity 138 - Zach Brinner's place is unknown and has scored 10.50 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Zach Brinner (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Champ. Round 2 - Zach Brinner (Oak Park) won by pin over Roman Salcedo (San Fernando Tigers) (Pin 4:30)
Champ. Round 3 - Johnny OHearon (Champions wrestling club) won by decision over Zach Brinner (Oak Park) (Dec 4-0)
Cons. Round 4 - Zach Brinner (Oak Park) won by tech fall over Sergio Ramirez (San Ysidro Pumas) (TF 21-6)
Cons. Round 5 - Korey Jensen (cataline`s wildcat wrestling) won by decision over Zach Brinner (Oak Park) (Dec 9-2)

High School Elite 106 - Bobby Campos's place is 5th and has scored 13.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Bobby Campos (Oak Park) won by pin over Danny Vega (Tucson Cyclones) (Pin 1:06)
Champ. Round 2 - Juan J. Jimenez,II (porterville klaws) won by decision over Bobby Campos (Oak Park) (Dec 8-2)
Cons. Round 2 - Bobby Campos (Oak Park) won by decision over Cole Rohan (La Grande Mat Club) (Dec 6-2)
Cons. Round 3 - Bobby Campos (Oak Park) won by decision over Chris Marin (The Empire) (Dec 5-3)
Cons. Round 4 - Bobby Campos (Oak Park) won by decision over Denzel Tovar (Team New Jersey First) (Dec 4-0)
Cons. Round 5 - Bobby Campos (Oak Park) won by decision over Christopher Lacayo (TEAM SOCAL) (Dec 4-3)
Cons. Semi - Durbin (DJ) LLoren (The Empire) won by pin over Bobby Campos (Oak Park) (Pin 2:17)
5th Place Match - Bobby Campos (Oak Park) won by decision over Nico Colunga (Oakdale) (Dec 4-2)

High School Elite 115 - Gabe Townsell's place is unknown and has scored 5.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Gabe Townsell (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Champ. Round 2 - Sean Williams (Team Tiger) won by decision over Gabe Townsell (Oak Park) (Dec 5-1)
Cons. Round 2 - Gabe Townsell (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Cons. Round 3 - Gabe Townsell (Oak Park) won by decision over Matthew Hofenbredl (Fantastic Utters) (Dec 3-2)
Cons. Round 4 - Gabe Townsell (Oak Park) won by decision over Miles Avila-Johnson (Bruins Elite WC) (Dec 8-3)
Cons. Round 5 - Cameron Sykora (Borders West) won by decision over Gabe Townsell (Oak Park) (Dec 3-2)

High School Elite 122 - Matthew Rundell's place is unknown and has scored 12.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Matthew Rundell (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Champ. Round 2 - Matthew Rundell (Oak Park) won by pin over Jaydon Rogers (Utah United) (Pin 3:55)
Champ. Round 3 - Matthew Rundell (Oak Park) won by pin over Issac Aguilar (Hermiston) (Pin 1:19)
Quarterfinal - Julian Flores (san marino) won by decision over Matthew Rundell (Oak Park) (Dec 6-4)
Cons. Round 6 - Jacob Palmgren (Piedra Vista) won by decision over Matthew Rundell (Oak Park) (Dec 5-4)

High School Elite 128 - Isaiah White's place is 1st and has scored 39.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Isaiah White (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Champ. Round 2 - Isaiah White (Oak Park) won by pin over Tristan Lyga (Team Royal Regime) (Pin 0:16)
Champ. Round 3 - Isaiah White (Oak Park) won by decision over Joseph Dominguez (TEAM TRIBE) (Dec 2-0)
Quarterfinal - Isaiah White (Oak Park) won by decision over Giovanni Castillo (Corona Centennial) (Dec 3-2)
Semifinal - Isaiah White (Oak Park) won by decision over Deshun Brown (Team New Mexico) (Dec 4-0)
1st Place Match - Isaiah White (Oak Park) won by decision over Vincent Gomez (Elite Force) (Dec 3-1)

High School Elite 133 - Larry Early's place is 7th and has scored 18.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Larry Early (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Champ. Round 2 - Larry Early (Oak Park) won by pin over Izaak Tobin (Silverton) (Pin 1:29)
Champ. Round 3 - Larry Early (Oak Park) won by pin over Tate Sandifer (mt.view) (Pin 0:40)
Quarterfinal - Jed Mellen (Utah United) won by decision over Larry Early (Oak Park) (Dec 8-2)
Cons. Round 6 - Larry Early (Oak Park) won by pin over Gordan Wolf (Team New Jersey First) (Pin 1:00)
Cons. Round 7 - Seth Gross (Apple Valley) won by decision over Larry Early (Oak Park) (Dec 5-1)
7th Place Match - Larry Early (Oak Park) won by decision over Kyler Hansen (The Empire) (Dec 4-2)

High School Elite 143 - Johnny Gunther's place is unknown and has scored 5.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Johnny Gunther (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Champ. Round 2 - Jared Johnshoy (Suples LTD) won by decision over Johnny Gunther (Oak Park) (Dec 5-1)
Cons. Round 2 - Johnny Gunther (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Cons. Round 3 - Johnny Gunther (Oak Park) won by major decision over Dominick Magana (san marino) (Maj 13-0)
Cons. Round 4 - Devin Reynolds (All Phase) won by decision over Johnny Gunther (Oak Park) (Dec 5-0)

High School Elite 155 - Zach Pickering's place is unknown and has scored 6.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Kevan Garcia (Smashmouth Wrestling) won by decision over Zach Pickering (Oak Park) (Dec 9-5)
Cons. Round 1 - Zach Pickering (Oak Park) received a bye () (Bye)
Cons. Round 2 - Zach Pickering (Oak Park) won by pin over Daniel DeMaria (POWAY ELITE) (Pin 2:05)
Cons. Round 3 - Jacob Hill (Team Tiger) won by decision over Zach Pickering (Oak Park) (Dec 5-4)

High School Elite 163 - Sam Koenigsberg's place is unknown and has scored 4.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Sam Koenigsberg (Oak Park) won by decision over Barrett Hamilton (West Torrance Wrestling) (Dec 4-3)
Champ. Round 2 - Kyle Perreault (eastside) won by pin over Sam Koenigsberg (Oak Park) (Pin 2:00)
Cons. Round 2 - Sam Koenigsberg (Oak Park) won by major decision over Tomas Fulgentes (Royal Regime) (Maj 16-7)
Cons. Round 3 - Robert Flores (TEAM TRIBE) won by injury default over Sam Koenigsberg (Oak Park) (Inj.)

High School Elite 192 - Joe Ariola's place is 1st and has scored 31.50 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Joe Ariola (Oak Park) won by tech fall over Cody Lindberg (Southlake Carroll) (TF 18-2)
Champ. Round 2 - Joe Ariola (Oak Park) won by pin over Cosme Martinez (MATPAC) (Pin 4:15)
Quarterfinal - Joe Ariola (Oak Park) won by pin over Chris Whilden (West Torrance Wrestling) (Pin 1:59)
Semifinal - Joe Ariola (Oak Park) won by pin over Austin Gaun (Flagstaff Wrestling) (Pin 2:29)
1st Place Match - Joe Ariola (Oak Park) won by decision over Ryder Newman (Team GV) (Dec 8-5)



Upended: Huskie football ousted, but outlook is bright
OPRF lose to Waubonsie Valley by a 28-7 score; finish with 7-4 record · 11/03/2012

It was a fun little year, but we will have to wait another nine months to watch the OPRF Football squad again. In Oak Park Stadium, the one-loss Waubonsie Valley squad proved too strong against the Huskies. No matter, we'll have excellent memories to keep us fed until August 2013. Congratulations to the players, coaches, parents, and fans, and we'll see many of you on the mats this winter!



Here come the Huskies: Footballers oust Red Devils 28-24
OPRF scores late touchdown to advance in postseason for first time since 1992 · 10/26/2012

John Hoerster has only been on the job for 2 years, this being his "sophomore" season. While he may not be as familiar with OPRF's past perennial successes, his will to win isn't diminished. In Hoerster's tenure, the Huskies moved up to 3-6 before this year's win-loss reversal. The 2012 regular season record (including an overtime victory over conference rival Hinsdale Central) vaulted the Huskies into the postseason.

On this night, the Devils came out blazing, jumping to a 17-0 lead. Our Huskies stormed back with three consecutive touchdowns. However, Hinsdale Central responded with a score of their own to take the lead 24-21. With about one minute to play, a ricocheted pass willed its path (or is it the other way around?) into Tommy Odell's hands before he scampered for the decisive score. Up next: a second round home game versus Waubonsie Valley. It will take place at Oak Park Stadium, game time is Saturday at 1:00 pm.

For more on this thrilling victory, visit: Forest L. | W. Journal | Patch | Chi Tribune || YouTube Highlights



Taking a walk on the wall side: View updated numbers

The 2012-2013 season shall commence in less than one month (IHSA practice begins in early November), so we shall take a look back before we look forward.

The Wall of Fame page is (slightly) new and improved, with updated results through the summer of 2012. Also added is a new "Record Holders" section. If your initials are E.C. or S.B., you did quite well for yourself. Can't get enough numbers? I hear ya. Visit the 2011-2012 final statistics page. In the next few weeks, we'll have more on numbers to watch for in the upcoming IHSA season.

One thing we will watch for is the mega-preseason tournament NUWAY Southwest Kickoff Classic from November 2-4...



Leading by example: OPRF coach Octavius Bellamy scores bronze
Bellamy wins 3rd place in Greco-Roman at Veterans Worlds in Hungary · 09/22/2012

Octavius Bellamy

Our very own talent, Assistant Coach Octavius Bellamy, showed his mettle against top worldly competition on Sep. 20. He finished the Greco-Roman 97 kg Division A (35-40 yrs old) tournament with a 3-1 record and a bronze medal to show for his efforts. Congratulations, Octavius! We are humbled by your leadership and exemplary attitude. Our entire Huskie Wrestling Family acknowledges your achievements! (Jump to the article on USA Wrestling.)



USA Wrestling Weekly (Sep. 21): Mike Powell, Ellis Coleman
Ellis Coleman and US Olympic wrestlers meet President Obama, Mike Powell on SI tv · 09/21/2012

Ellis Coleman, 2012 Greco-Roman Olympian, and his teammates recently had the pleasure of visiting the White House to meet with President Barack Obama. They also had the privilege of meeting Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan. Our head coach Mike Powell was mentioned for being featured on Sports Illustrated on NBC Sports Network. View the article and the webcast.



Be a part of history: Donate or watch Mike Powell's HOF induction
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame's banquet on Oct. 21 is open to the public · 09/19/2012

Mike Powell

As we reported earlier, our own head coach, Mike Powell, will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (Illinois Chapter) on Sunday, October 21. Mike will receive the Medal of Courage.

You can witness this historic event. Visit National Wrestling Hall of Fame. There you can purchase tickets to the banquet. The banquet is from 3:00 pm - 7:30 pm in Bloomington, Illinois. If you are unable to go but want to contribute, you can donate as well.

Banquet Details |

What: Illinois Chapter of National Wrestling Hall of Fame induction banquet
When: Sunday, Oct. 21, from 3:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Where: Holiday Inn, 3202 East Empire, Bloomington, IL 61761
Why: Support Mike Powell, six other inductees, and wrestling organizations in our great state
Links: Banquet tickets with directions | Donate | Nominate

Mike Powell Bio | View as Word doc

Medal of Courage

Michael Powell

Oak Park & River Forest H.S.

Mike Powell first walked into the Oak Park & River Forest High School Wrestling Room at the age of 5. He graduated from Little Huskies Youth Wrestling to become a state champion high school wrestler. In 1994 he won the AA 171lb IHSA State Wrestling title and went on to wrestle at Indiana University.

After becoming an NCAA All-American at Indiana University at 167lbs Mike returned to Oak Park & River Forest High School to teach and coach in 1999.  He has excelled at both.  In 2010 Mike was presented an Outstanding Educator Award by the Northwestern Chapter Phi Delta Kappa, one of the nation's largest education associations, which includes teachers, principals, superintendents, and higher education faculty and administrators.

In March of 2009 just after coaching his wrestling team to win the IHSA AAA State Dual Team Wrestling Championship and just before being honored as the IHSA AAA Coach of the year, Mike was stricken and diagnosed with a rare disease called polymyositis, an autoimmune disease that results in the destruction of muscle cells.  Polymyositis is often a crippling or fatal condition. 

Mike has faced his physical challenge with the same courage and ferocity that he uses on the mat, in the classroom or in the coach’s chair.  His battle with this rare disease and his commitment to education and coaching was a feature story in Sports Illustrated and to be chronicled in documentaries on NBC as well as ESPN. 

To date Mike has amassed an impressive listing of coaching accomplishments, including conference, state and national championships. So far in only 9 years as head coach his dual record of 155 wins and 39 losses speaks of his commitment, and how he inspires his athletes.  He has also won 5 National Dual Championships and coached scores of national place winners and champions.  In 2012 Mike was named USA Wrestling’s Cadet Development Coach of the Year. 

It is Mike’s passion to continue to pass on life’s lessons to all the young people he meets.  His philosophy is that maximizing one’s potential as a high school student/athlete is difficult, therefore having a plan on how to do it is essential. He stresses that contributing to family, community and the larger world demonstrates you have a part in a world that is bigger than yourself. He stresses integrity, discipline, hard work, respect and kindness. Mike assists his students with their life plans even into adulthood; he has been a father figure to many, including 2012 Olympian Ellis Coleman.

Not only has Mike encouraged young men to become better athletes and positive members of the community, he has succeeded in creating a “Huskies Wrestling Family” of parents, alums, siblings and fans of the team who support the wrestlers each year in fundraising and cheering at local and state tournaments. The Huskies Wrestling Family, as directed by Mike, raised almost $40,000 for Ellis Coleman’s family in his quest for a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics.

Each summer he leads the senior members of the wrestling team on a senior trip of hiking, climbing, fishing and exploration to national parks, a journey that becomes symbolic and monumentally life changing in each young man’s life.

No question or request is off-limits to his wrestlers and wrestling alums, and even in his times of health challenges, he serves as a role model for hundreds of athletes who look to him for advice, inspiration and help. Mike lives in River Forest with his wife, Elizabeth.     



SI guy: Mike Powell featured on Sep. 12 television broadcast
NBC Sports Network to report on our relentless head coach · 09/11/2012

Mike Powell
Sports Illustrated on NBC Sports Network
TV: NBC Sports Network  |  Time: 8:00 pm central

Mike Powell, the current OPRF Head Varsity Coach since 2003, is featured in the Sep. 12 edition of "Sports Illustrated on NBC Sports Network". This program highlights inspirational stories of sports figures across the country. This September 12 episode features three coaches involved in high school or university athletics (taken from the recent USA Wrestling article):

Show Features the Inspirational Stories of West Virginia University Cornerbacks Coach Daron Roberts; Oak Park and River Forest High School Wrestling Coach Mike Powell; and Aazar Abdul- Raheem, Football Coach of Washington, D.C.’s Friendship Collegiate Academy – Andy Staples, Chris Ballard and B.J. Schecter Report

The second episode of Sports Illustrated on NBC Sports Network features the inspirational stories of Daron Roberts, West Virginia University cornerbacks coach; Mike Powell wrestling coach for Oak Park and River Forest High School (Oak Park, IL) and Aazar Abdul-Raheem Head Football Coach for Washington D.C.’s Friendship Collegiate Academy.

All, through great personal sacrifice and courage, inspire their teams and communities in ways that transcend the final score.

The new episode debuts Wednesday, September 12, 9 p.m. [eastern] with subsequent re-airs throughout the month.


Bake and make: Farmer's market fundraiser a delicious success
In excess of $800 is raised; many thanks to cooks, workers, and promoters · 09/01/2012

Huskie wrestlers pose for photos while working the table on Saturday.

News from the "Farm" |

Thanks to all who help put together on short notice a very "sweet" bake sale, especially to Amy Rising, Ginny Beacom & Mary Matticks for organizing!

We raised a total of $814 in just 3 hours!! (All in part because Powell wasn’t around to eat the profits!)

Ben Bergen’s cinnamon rolls were awesome!

- Fred Arkin



Bake sale: OPRF Wrestling Family to Farmer's Market on Sep. 1
Sale is from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm; come enjoy delicious treats while helping the Huskie Family · 08/23/2012

Oak Park
Farmer's Market
7:00 am - 1:00 pm
Saturday, September 1

Attention all individuals with a sweet tooth, there will be a bake sale on Saturday, September 1 at the Oak Park Farmer's Market. Sweet tooth? Any tooth! Come out to buy amazing foods prepared by the OPRF Wrestling Family. The market is open from 7:00 to 1:00. Thank you to the hands and hearts that help put this together.

Share the news! Your neighbor's stomach will thank you!



Call to Hall: Mike Powell earns National Wrestling distinction
OPRF head coach also receives Illinois Chapter's Medal of Courage · 08/20/2012

Mike Powell in 2009
(photo by Wednesday Journal)

Mike Powell has been driving force in Oak Park & River Forest's wrestling program since the 2004-2005 IHSA season. He has elevated the Huskies to legitimacy scarcely known in the history of our fine school. On Sunday, October 21, Mike will be recognized as being elected into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Coach Powell will receive a plaque and jacket from the NWHoF, based in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The October awards banquet will take place in Bloomington, Illinois. The OPRF alumnus and 1994 IHSA 171-pound state champion will receive the Medal of Courage, awarded to "a wrestler or former wrestler who has overcome what appear to be insurmountable challenges."

Also this year, Mike was announced as the USA Wrestling Cadet Development Coach of the Year.

Read the articles: Wednesday Journal | Chicago Tribune | OPRF Patch | IL Homepage



Star of "Today": Ellis Coleman and Dremiel Byers lift NBC hosts
US Greco-Roman teammates prepare Matt Lauer and Al Roker for battle · 08/08/2012

Photo by Jen Long / TODAY

The Today Show in London: If you search Google or YouTube for "Ellis Coleman," pull up a comfy chair and have something refreshing to sip. You'll be there awhile. In 7+ minutes of that while, you can enjoy Ellis and teammate Dremiel Byers toss around Matt Lauer and Al Roker, respectively.

Enjoy the video. Roll it: Greco-Roman wrestlers on Today.



Just the beginning: Ellis Coleman ousted in London, future awaits
OPRF alumnus falls in opening round of 60 kg Greco-Roman tourney; still just 20 years old · 08/06/2012

London 2012

There is no question that Ellis Coleman is a wrestling phenom. He's the all-time winningest wrestler in Oak Park & River Forest High School history. He's accomplished feats nearly all can simply dream about. In the early summer, he charged through domestic competition to punch his ticket to the Olympics. In the late summer, he discovered the largest stage of international competition. Any way you look at it, these are massive successes for a young man who can't quite yet order himself a beer at a bar.

In the qualifying round, Ellis lost to Ivo Angelov of Bulgaria in two rounds: 1-0, 7-1.

Many of the Huskie faithful made the trip to support Ellis. This is further evidence that there is no family like the Huskie Wrestling Family.

Follow post-Olympics articles: Chicago Tribune-1  Chicago Tribune-2  Yahoo Sports (AP)  Sun Times



Staycation: Relentless Pursuit Wrestling holds successful clinic
Scores of wrestlers from several states participate in RPW camp from July 16-20 · 07/20/2012

      Clinicians included alumni Nick Dardanes, Mike Powell, Brad Bolen, and Chris Dardanes. (photos by Mack Bolen)

Relentless Pursuit Wrestling (jump to site) strives to educate and prepare high school students with successful, cutting edge wrestling techniques and philosophies. During the past week (Mon-Thu), RPW used OPRF High School to run a wrestling camp for over 70 wrestlers from 3 states.

Clinicians included several standouts from OPRF and other local communities. The listed teachers were Chris McGrath, Mike Powell, Octavius Bellamy, Paul Collins, Jeremy Powell, Mike Boyd, Reggie Wright, Eric Pitts, Nick Dardanes, and Chris Dardanes.

For more information, visit: Relentless Pursuit Wrestling | Camp Info and Schedule




Perfect ending: Sam Brooks doubles at Fargo, earns 8 AA's
Sammy ends his high school chapter with national titles in freestyle and Greco · 07/21/2012

Sam Brooks reacts to his victory. (photo via bout at

Sam Brooks didn't have to go to Fargo. He'd already committed to Iowa. He'd already won two individual state titles. He'd already placed in Fila Cadet World's. He chose to complete this chapter of his life -- wrestling and otherwise -- by challenging the country's best under the Fargodome.

Slammin' Sammy (or "Slammy" if you prefer) found pay dirt on Saturday when he earned a pinfall victory in the championship of the 195 pound freestyle bout. He went undefeated on the week and did not lose a round. Sam now has earned double All-American honors in each of his four attempts at Fargo (after frosh/soph/jun/senior years).

Watch the freestyle bout here: 195 FS Championship | Interview

Sammy, the nation already knows about Ellis Coleman. The nation already knows about the Dardanes. And today, the nation just received notice about Sam Brooks. Congratulations. We'll be tracking you in the next few years and beyond.



Up and running: Wrestlers engage in Fargo


Sam Brooks is the lone Huskie in the Junior Freestyle Championships. He will wrestle at 195 pounds. There were no OPRF entries in the Cadet Freestyle tournament.

Larry Early, rising sophomore, is a Cadet Greco All-American! He finishes in 8th place.

Jake O'Mara, rising senior, is a Junior Greco All-American! He finishes in 7th place.

Sam Brooks, graduating senior, is a Junior Greco National Champion! He takes the title!
View Sam's national championship victory here!          INTERVIEWS:   One | Two

Congratulations Larry, Jake, Sam, and all of the OPRF Cadet and Juniors!

Keep up-to-minute with TrackWrestling and



Brian's blog: "Two knew? Walking in style"

Asics Gel Flash - Royal/Black/Neon Orange

Qingdao, China, sometime between February 2012 and June 2012:

Brian Tideman sees a 6th grader walk in the hallway wearing beautiful orange and blue shoes. He turns, "Where did you get those shoes?" The student replies, "I don't know. I think Korea." Saddened, Brian continued to his classroom. Brian was hoping for somewhere in China.

Weeks later, he sees another student wearing similarly beautiful orange and blue shoes. "Where did you get those shoes?" This response was a one-worded one, "Korea." Drats!

In search mode, Brian visited an athletics store, found a blue pair of shoes, and forced orange laces on them. It didn't quite work. Until...back in the states...

He found this Asics Gel Flash pair of sneakers! Whoa! They might as well have the OPRF logo branded on the sides! If you find yourself often thinking of orange and blue shoes (who doesn't, right?), consider these shoes! You can look online or to your nearest department store. I must declare that this pair is a men's tandem and that Brian is awfully happy with his new get.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Orange you glad I told you this story!



National attention: Fargo takes center stage yet again
Several Huskies qualified, will be competing against country's best · 07/10/2012


At the mention of the word "Fargodome," what do you think of? Well, the Cadet and Junior National Championships, of course! July 13 will mark the beginning of the annual clash of the country's top high school wrestlers in Freestyle and Greco-Roman. It's a chance for every wrestler, regardless of state or class, to flex some muscles and show the entire country their mettle and grit. Please remember that many, many of the top wrestlers will compete, but this is an optional off-season tournament. In order to compete, wrestlers must have qualified during USA Wrestling tournaments.

As is a yearly tradition, OPRF will send a sprinkle of Huskies to North Dakota. The list of qualifying wrestlers is below. Please note that this is a list of qualifying wrestlers, and all may not compete.

Highlighted wrestlers are entered in the tournament, according to TrackWrestling.

Qualifying Huskies - CADET Qualifying Huskies - JUNIOR

- Richard (Gabriel) Townsell (GR)
- Matthew Rundell (GR)
- Larry Early (GR & FS)
- Johnny Gahagan (GR)
- Andre Lee (GR & FS)

- Jake O'Mara (GR & FS)
- Zach Pickering (GR)
- Davonte Mahomes (GR)
- Joey Ariola (GR)
- Sam Brooks (GR & FS)

IL/USAW - Cadet Qualifiers (complete list) IL/USAW - Junior Qualifiers (complete list)
Quick links | Event page | Event schedule | Follow on TrackWrestling | Video on


Fun-draiser: Doc Ryan's is a flying success
In excess of $14,000 is raised for Coleman's family · 07/03/2012

A festive crowd gathered in Forest Park to enjoy food, friends, and family. (Photos by Mack Bolen)

Ellis Coleman is flying to London. I've got a T-shirt that proclaims that very fact. The question is...who will join him? That question was partially answered on June 24, when OPRF and Olympic wrestling families collided at Doc Ryan's in Forest Park. The plus-$14,000 intake allows Ellis's siblings, mother, and aunt to travel to London, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

For all those that attended or contributed to the event, we all say a heartfelt thanks. Ellis Coleman was the guest of honor -- albeit by remote presence. A Skype interview was arranged with the Olympian. At the fundraiser, all eyes were on Ellis. They will continue to be on Ellis as he competes in London.

For more on Ellis Coleman, visit Ellis Coleman Gold.



I-L-L W-I-L-L: Team Illinois takes 5 of 6 titles against states' best
Junior, Cadet, and Schoolboy Duals all dominated by talented Land of Lincoln · 06/30/2012

Some may wonder if the USA duals should continue in 2013. After last year's sweep of Junior and Cadet titles, Team Illinois continued the onslaught in 2012. It started with the Schoolboy squads winning double gold before the Cadet freestyle's title (and second place Greco finish). It concluded with the Junior twin titles in Oklahoma City. A number of Huskies were among the participants. All results can be found on TrackWrestling (with more information on USA Wrestling). Here is the quick rundown:

- Schoolboy | June 7-10, 2012 | Indianapolis, IN | GR-1, FS-1 |

- Cadet | June 13-16, 2012 | Daytona Beach, FL | GR-1, FS-2 | Huskies: Larry Early (GR/FS), Andre Lee (GR/FS)

- Junior | June 27-30, 2012 | Oklahoma City, OK | GR-1, FS-1 | Huskies: Jake O'Mara (GR/FS), Zach Pickering (GR), Sam Brooks (GR/FS), Joey Ariola (GR)



The Doctor cures all: Fundraiser for Ellis Coleman on June 24
Support Ellis by going to the Doc Ryan's fundraiser; early tickets are $30 · 06/10/2012

Ellis Coleman, OPRF graduate and 2012 Olympian, needs all the support he can in order to travel to London and do his very best to represent our community and our country. On Saturday, June 24, please attend the fundraiser in his honor. The fundraiser will be from 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm at Doc Ryan's in Forest Park, IL. Tickets are $30.00 in advance and $35.00 at the door. Come hungry and thirsty! All-you-can-consume pizza, tap beer, wine, and soda.

Get tickets | | RSVP to | or Huskie Wrestling Family

Circulate the Flyer | Flyer   --   Checks | made out to The Huskie Booster Club



There's no "Lion" in baseball: OPRF claims IHSA title over rival LT
Huskies win in walk off, dethrone chief rival en route to first team championship trophy in 31 years · 06/09/2012

IHSA               2012

This story couldn't have been written any better. The OPRF Huskies (30-9-1) went toe-to-toe with their rival -- dare I say nemesis? -- Lyons Township Lions (27-13-1) in the IHSA Class 4A Baseball Championship. Two West Suburban (Silver) Conference teams locked horns in Joliet, IL. It was a grudge match. As one announcer said, "There's something magical when every pitch matters."

It was a seesaw affair, with no team leading by more than one run. In the end, Jack Picchiotti leadoff triple set the stage for the final moments. Two intentional walks followed before a lightning shot by Mike Brennan sent the championship trophy to 201 N. Scoville on "Orange and Blue Avenue."

Enjoy snapshots of the final sequence. The photos are from, and were taken and edited by Brian Tideman, webmaster. Click on each for a larger photo.

Links | | Box Score | IHSA 4A Bracket



Style points: Three Huskies are crowned at Freestyle State
Three 2012-2013 returnees shine in central Illinois · 05/06/2012

Champaign was revisited this past weekend, as many wrestlers of all ages combated for the state title in Freestyle. Not all IHSA wrestlers attended, but three of our own stood out as champions in their brackets. Larry Early (a rising sophomore) won at Cadet 132, Andre Lee (a rising junior) won at Cadet 195, and Jake O'Mara (a rising senior) won at Junior 138. Andre didn't give up a point in any bout. Congratulations to members of La Flama Blanca!

Complete results are on TrackWrestling. (Not all La Flama Blanca wrestlers attend OPRF.)



From tree to tea: Ellis Coleman to enjoy London's finest
2009 OPRF graduate flying high as Olympian in 60 kg Greco-Roman slot · 04/22/2012

Ellis Coleman (courtesy USA Wrestling)

Ellis Coleman, a twenty-year-old national and international sensation, has just earned a spot to compete against the best as one of the best. He bested Joe Betterman, also an Illinois native, two bouts to zero in the championship. Ellis was a member of the 24-0 undefeated state champion Huskies in February of 2009.

Ellis previously helped qualify the weight for Olympic competition, as weight classes are not automatic entry into the Olympics.

Look for video on

Videos | An interview after his semifinals | An interview after his title

Articles | | Chicago Tribune | ESPN

For brackets and results, visit TrackWrestling.

At left, photo by Charlie Neibergall / AP.


For more photos, visit Facebook. Follow these links (by Jonna Borgdorff):

First Match vs Jesse Thielke

Second Match vs Jeremiah Davis

Third Match vs Joe Betterman (First in the best of 3 finals)

Fourth Match vs Joe Betterman (Second in the best of 3 finals)



So long Sammy: Sam Brooks story begins a new chapter

Sam Brooks with Coach Powell

Sam Brooks, a 2012 OPRF graduate, will go down as the most decorated wrestler (as of today) in Oak Park & River Forest history. Mack Bolen, a skilled and enthusiastic member of the OPRF Wrestling Family, recently wrote an article highlighting Sam Brooks. View the article on TribLocal.



Flying over the competition: Coleman, Kowalczuk seek London

Now &        Forever

Peter Kowalczuk and Ellis Coleman, both accomplished wrestlers in their time at Oak Park & River Forest High School, are competing this weekend for the right to represent the Red, White, and Blue in London later this year.

In the 120 kg Greco-Roman division, Peter lost a close bout to the eventual Challenge champion, Steve Andrus. He rebounded to a pin victory before losing his second and final match to the third place finisher, Toby Erickson. Peter wrestled well and was one of only eight wrestlers in the Challenge bracket.

Ellis Coleman will wrestle on Sunday in the 60 kg Greco-Roman bracket. He is one of twelve with aspirations in this bracket. For brackets and live results, visit TrackWrestling.



More in store: The news in OPRF circles

    Part 2

Regardless of what Tom Skilling of WGN-TV might say, it's spring. And with spring, the Huskies spring into growth and maturity. Here's another glance at newsworthy stories:

The Future...Now | Several Little Huskies completed their IKWF seasons on Saturday at the IKWF Senior and Novice State Championships. Nine Little Huskies earned a trip to Rockford, and seven took home a medal. Senior results: Louie Hayes (74-champion!), Gabriel Townsell (108-2nd), Ben Schneider (122-6th), Robert Holt (156-DNP), Dijour Cotton-Crockett (156-DNP), and Karim Fuentes (215-6th). Novice results: Jaleel Hollingsworth (84-5th), Davion Talbert (156-5th), and Max McDermott (177-DNP). Congrats to these and all the Little Huskies this year! View the results here.

A "Frosh" Perspective | This past Saturday, the Frosh/Soph state tournament was held. This tournament was open to all freshman and sophomore wrestlers who did not qualify for the state tournament in Champaign. The Huskies had eight participants who qualified for the state tournament. They were Jake Bajo (101), Savonne Bennette (113), Zach Brinner (126), Max Metzgar (132), Andrew Borgdorff (138), William Osborne (182), Malik Brumant (220), and David Beacom (220). Although none medaled, valuable experience was earned as the wrestlers did it Huskie Style! Visit Team Illinois for results and information.

You Can't Spell N-C-A-A without O-P-R-F | Upcoming this weekend is the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis. Two studly redshirt freshmen you might know are Nick and Chris Dardanes. They have earned spots from the Minnesota Golden Gophers roster. Follow the tournament here.

Banking on a Banquet | The OPRF end of season banquet will be held this Sunday, March 18, at 4:30 pm in the South Cafeteria. Freshman families bring salad/appetizers; Sophomore and Junior families bring entrees, Senior families bring desserts. This is a can't miss event; your taste buds will never let you hear the end of it.

Iowa City to London? | If you haven't realized, this year is an Olympic year. Two alumni are among the nation's best in Greco: Ellis Coleman and Pete Kowalczuk. Both are in the hunt to represent our great country in London later this year. The USA Wrestling Olympic Trials will be held in Iowa City, IA, on April 21-22. For more information, go to IowaCityToLondon. Max Nowry, Wheeling graduate and former OPRF assistant coach, will also be in the action.

Keep the Fun Going | You know you want to...wrestle with ILUSAW this spring and summer. Download an application here. Visit ILUSAW.



Odds and ends: Pursuit relentless (what's new?) and photos


For a better view of the dual tournament, visit photos by Paul Dengel or by Kevin O'Mara .

Keep the Fun Going | Wrestle with ILUSAW. Download an application here. Visit ILUSAW.

"Minnesota Twins" | Chris and Nick Dardanes (OPRF '10) are in the thick of things on the national stage in their redshirt freshman campaign for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Visit a recent article about them: article.

Little Huskies / Big Hearts | The Little Huskies wrestled in their regional competition this past Saturday, February 25. Here is a rundown from the Little Huskies coaches: "We had 35 Little Huskies compete in the IKWF Regional at St. Laurence on Saturday. 17 of those wrestlers made it to the finals and 11 of them were crowned champion." Congrats to the qualifiers! Keep it up!



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