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High School Notebook – Jan. 30
By WIN High School Editor Rob Sherrill
Oak Park-River Forest drops Montini, Marmion back-to-back
A week after taking over the top spot in big-school Class 3A, Oak Park-River Forest staked its claim to becoming the state’s top team in any class. The Huskies recorded victories over 2A kingpin Lombard Montini, 34-29 and Aurora Marmion Academy, 38-19 on back-to-back nights Jan. 23 and 24.
OPRF got pins from top-ranked Devonte Mahomes (160) and Joe Ariola (182), but it was 138-pounder Jake O’Mara (138) who provided the most dramatic pin, sticking two-time state place-winner Chris Garcia. That was the middle match of a dramatic five-match closing run that helped the Huskies erase a 29-15 deficit. Freshman Isaiah White (126) started the run, edging Jordan Laster, 3-1, at 126, and unbeaten sophomore Larry Early (132) followed with a major decision.
John Gahagan’s takedown in overtime produced a 3-1 victory and a 31-29 lead and another Huskies freshman, Kamaal Bey, pulled away for a 9-5 victory over Michael Sepke at 152 to cap the comeback.
It was a different story against the Cadets. After falling behind, 3-0, on Jake Field’s decision at 126, OPRF ripped off eight straight wins to build a 35-3 cushion. White started the heroics, moving up to 132 and scoring a 7-4 victory over University of Michigan-recruit George Fisher. O’Mara (138), Bey (152) and Mahomes (160) added pins and Ariola (182) a technical fall during the run.
The Huskies completed one of the most grueling dual-meet schedules in the nation. Of Oak Park-River Forest’s 31 victories, 21 — more than two-thirds — came against opponents ranked in a national or a state Top 25.
Westfield, Hammond win private dual crowns
Perry Westfield School and Columbia Hammond School reversed the results of last year’s finals to take independent school dual titles in Georgia and South Carolina, respectively.
Westfield beat host Macon Windsor Academy, 60-24, in the quarterfinals, Americus Southland Academy, 48-30, in the semifinals and defending champion Statesboro Bulloch Academy, 47-26 in the final to capture the Georgia Independent Schools Association title.
In the final, pins by state runner-up Ty Forrester (285) and Josh Kinnebrew (106) kept the Hornets close, and they closed the match with five straight wins from 132 through 160. State runner-ups Griffin (152) and Conner Cawthon (160) had pins to close the meet. State runner-up Bryce Westmoreland (132) and Ben Brooks (145) sandwiched major decisions over another pin by Ben Brooks at 138.
Hammond also used a five-match run — all pins — from 160 through 220 to clinch a 53-27 victory over Columbia Cardinal Newman School in the South Carolina Independent Schools Association final.
Getting the sticks were Stephen Mitchell (160), Edward Mitchell (170), state runner-up Cody Sims (182), Calhoun McDougall (195) and Samuel Miller (220). State champions Gantt Castles (126) and Matthew Kay (138) also had pins for Hammond.
St. Johns turns the tables on DCC
Division 2 kingpin St. Johns (Mich.) broke a 9-9 tie with four straight wins and the Redbirds went on to a 31-22 victory over Division 1 leader Novi Detroit Catholic Central Jan. 18, avenging one of their two losses this season.
The two teams traded pins in the first two matches, Trevor Zdebski (119) giving the Shamrocks a 6-0 lead and two-time state champion Zac Hall answering for St. Johns at 125. State champions then met at 130 and two-time champion Jacob Schmitt gave St. Johns a 9-6 lead with an 11-5 decision.
A decision by Myles Amine (135) tied the match at 9-9 before St. Johns rolled out the heavy artillery.
Logan Massa’s decision at 140 gave the Redbirds the lead for good and Josh Pennell’s major decision at 145 made it 16-9. After Brant Schafer (152) won to make it 19-9, three-time state champion Ben Whitford bumped up to 160 and scored a 12-6 victory over fellow defending champion Logan Marcicki. Whitford had prevailed 11-7 over Marcicki in DCC’s 33-31 victory over St. Johns on Dec. 15. This time, Hall and Pennell both wrestled down a weight and reversed matches that had gone the Shamrocks’ way in December.
Payne Hayden added a decision at 189 and Ian Parker clinched the victory for the Redbirds with a pin at 103.