Mt. Carmel hosts quad with nationally ranked teams
Josh Lowe, InterMat High School Analyst
Tommy Pawelski (right) was a Junior National Greco-Roman runner-up in Fargo (Photo/Dave Jedlicka)
One weekend after losing a 26-25 home dual against No. 13 Oak Park River Forest (Ill.), No. 12 Marist (Ill.) will travel to Mount Carmel for a quad meet on Saturday that also includes No. 10 Montini Catholic, Ill., and Machesney Park Harlem, Ill. Even without state qualifier Anthony Ferraro (195) and state placers Michael Maduko (170) and Edgar Ruano (220/285), five-time defending state champion Montini Catholic will present a more than formidable team on the mat.
The Broncos will be anchored by state champion Tommy Pawelski (113), along with a pair of two-time state placers in Jordan Laster (120) and Chris Garcia (138). They are also prohibitive favorites to win a sixth consecutive state title this year in Class 2A (medium-school).
The other three teams in this quad meet are Class 3A (big school) squads. Marist was ranked first in the preseason rankings per Illinois Matmen, Harlem entered the season fourth, while Mount Carmel was 13th. Harlem features four wrestlers with state tournament experience: state champion Jordan Northrup (120), two-time state placer Zac Denny (126), state qualifier Tanner Anthony (132), and two-time state qualifier Sage Hecox (195). Mount Carmel is anchored by Bryce Brill (145), who is ranked No. 2 in the nation at this weight class, along with state qualifier Notay Jackson (160) and state placer David Denne (220).
Here is a breakdown of the potential individual matchups within the featured dual meet, Montini Catholic vs. Marist.
106: Jimmy Pawelski (MON) vs. Nick Lukanich (MAR)
The sophomore Lukanich was a Cadet National freestyle runner-up at 94 pounds this summer.
113: Tommy Pawelski (MON) vs. Mullaney (MAR)
The Stanford-bound Pawleski was a state champion last year and runner-up at 106 pounds in Greco-Roman this summer at the Junior Nationals.
120: Jordan Laster (MON) vs. Mark Duda (MAR)
Both wrestlers are two-time state placers: the Princeton-bound Laster fifth and third, while Duda has finished fifth and second in his first two high school campaigns.
126: Vincent Turk (MON) vs. David Kasper (MAR)
Turk was a reserve wrestler during his freshman season, but was a Cadet National Greco-Roman champion this summer; while Kasper placed sixth at 106 pounds in his freshman campaign.
132: Jose Champagne (MON) vs. Nick Gasbarro (MAR)
Champagne ranks as the nation's 12th best freshman overall and was eighth in freestyle at the Cadet Nationals. Gasbarro started for portions of his freshman season, including placing 6th in the Dvorak Invitational at 106 pounds.
138: Chris Garcia (MON) vs. Mario Leveille (MAR)
The junior Garcia is a two-time state placer, finishing third and second in his first two state tournament campaigns. Fellow junior Leveille qualified for state last year at 120 pounds, and had a 6-5 upset win over Junior Greco All-American Jake O'Mara (Oak Park River Forest) this past weekend.
145: Michael Sepke (MON) vs. Matt Sears (MAR)
Sepke placed fourth at 126 pounds as a junior, while Sears was one match from state in his junior campaign. This past weekend, Sears upended state qualifier Johnny Gahagan (Oak Park River Forest) 6-4.
152: Xavier Montalvo (MON) vs. Ray Hodorowicz (MAR)
Montalvo qualified for state as a freshman and was a Cadet National double All-American this past summer, third in Greco-Roman and fourth in freestyle. Hodorowicz was one match away from state in his junior campaign.
160: Luke Fortuna (MON) vs. D. Drew (MAR)
Fortuna qualified for state last year in his freshman campaign.
170: TBD (MON) vs. Alex Benoit (MAR)
Benoit placed fifth at state as a freshman last year.
182: Jake Turk (MON) vs. Ethan Benoit (MAR). Turk placed fourth at state in his junior campaign, while Benoit was one match away from state in his junior season.
195: TBD (MON) vs. Josh Pruitt (MAR)
The senior Pruitt placed fourth at state last season.
220: TBD (MON) vs. Josh Hickey (MAR)
The senior Hickey placed sixth at state last year in the 285 pound weight class.
285: TBD (MON) vs. Tom Howell (MAR)
The senior Howell is a two-time state qualifier.