Even if the Feb. 20-22 IHSA Individual Wrestling Championships and March 1 Dual Team State Tournament are a long way off, they’re still the focal points for Marmion’s wrestling program and virtually all of the Cadet wrestlers.
“Our goals are nothing short of a state championship,” second-year coach Ryan Cumbee admitted. While Marmion lost a 38-17 Class 3A team title match showdown to Sandburg, and the Cadets graduated a state champ, fifth-place finisher and two other state qualifiers, no one shies away from talking state success.
That’s certainly understandable when it comes to Johnny Jimenez, who hopes to join the extremely elite club of four-time state champions. Having won at 103 in 2011, 113 in 2012, and 120 in 2013 – part of a 56-2 ledger that places him third on the IHSA’s Most Matches Won, Season list – the senior will be at 126 for the coming campaign.
“I’ve tried not only to adhere to the same training approach, but add extra reps and work that much harder knowing the challenge is that much greater,” explained the Wisconsin signee. “I know I can never take a single match off, so my approach to try to pin every opponent or at least keep every opponent from scoring. I have to visualize every match not as a stepping stone, but as a state meet match.”
Having placed fourth last year and third the season before, Anthony Bosco, who moves up to 113, is naturally targeting the highest level of the state podium.
“Staying mentally focused throughout the year is a key, fortunately I’ve got two of the best possible workout partners (in A.J. Jaffe at 120 and Jimenez) possible,” said Bosco, now committed to North Carolina. “It’ll be a grind and a challenge, but my philosophy is to score as many points as possible every time and let those points add up to victories.”
Both Jaffe and fellow sophomore Nathan Traxler (182) were preseason national champions two weeks ago in an elite prep meet at the University of Northern Iowa. Marmion also has a state qualifier back in Trace Carello at 152, while Lucas Warren (220) was ranked No. 1 in the state a year ago before an injury sidelined him.
“It’s true we lost a couple big name seniors from last year’s squad, but I definitely wouldn’t count us out as a team,” Bosco added. “I’m certain we will shock some people.”
Five Beacon-News Teams to Watch:
1. Marmion – As usual, the Cadets’ schedule features a mix of top in-state schools and meets as well as elite out-of-state competition (Ironman Tournament in Ohio and Wisconsin’s Cheesehead Invite) all geared to help the team contend for another 3A state showing.
2. Plano – Coach Joe Kampf didn’t hold back when asked for an outlook: “We hope to have a history-breaking season. With seven state qualifiers returning and our whole line-up from a regional championship back, we’ve set our goals really high.” Led by a trio of senior state finishers – champion Derrick Maisonet (195-220), fourth-place Weslye Brown (160-170) and sixth-place Shaun Wollenweber (132) – the Reapers are contenders for the Class 1A crown.
3. West Aurora – “With most weight classes featuring returning starters who committed to serious off-season plans, I expect this team to be contenders in the DVC, regionals, sectionals and state,” coach Mike Dinovo said. Senior Brandon Farias (152), junior Chache Jacquez (120), and sophomore Johnathan Doyle (113) all expect to be more than sectional participants.
4. Yorkville – What do the Foxes say to a move up to 3A? Joe Fornell simply says bring on the challenge. “We’ve got a solid line-up with 11 returning starters from last season’s (2A) regional championship team and nine guys from our (2012) state runner-up crew, so we’re excited to wrestle with the best in the state.” Seniors Gunnar Hjorth (152), Tyler Wilkinson (160) and Dan Cikauskas (120) are the headliners.
5. Sandwich – Having lost in the quarterfinals of 1A last year to eventual runner-up Mercer County, the Indians still have a senior-dominated lineup led by state qualifiers Jarrod Johnson (145) and Patrick Crothers (138) to be considered a top-20 crew despite moving up to 2A.
Beacon-News Area (30) Wrestlers to Watch:
Nick Aguirre (Oswego, Sr. 145), Anthony Bosco (Marmion, Sr. 113), Mitch Bradberry (Geneva, Jr. 182), Weslye Brown (Plano, Sr. 160-170), Trace Carello (Marmion, So. 152), Kenan Carter (Metea Valley, Sr. 152), Patrick Crothers (Sandwich, Sr. 138), Jimmy Davis (Waubonsie Valley, Sr. 138), Riley DeMoss (Marmion, So. 160), Mike Doranski (Batavia, So. 113), Johnathan Doyle (West Aurora, So. 113), Dane Goodenough (Kaneland, Sr. 132-138), Marc Goodin (Batavia, Sr. 145), Brandon Farias (West Aurora, Sr. 152), Eddie Gonzalez (Aurora Central Catholic, Sr. 285), Gunnar Hjorth (Yorkville, Sr. 152), Mike Hunt (Geneva , Jr. 145), Chache Jacquez (West Aurora, Jr. 120), Johnny Jimenez (Marmion, Sr. 126), Jarrod Johnson (Sandwich, Sr. 145), Derrick Maisonet (Plano, Sr. 195-220), Andrew McFall (Oswego, Jr. 113), Connor McKeehan (Batavia, Jr. 220), Thomas O’Brien (Geneva, Sr. 138), Raul Ochoa (East Aurora, Sr. 120), Nick Schultz (Oswego, Sr. 132), Nathan Traxler (Marmion, So 182), Tyler Wilkinson (Yorkville, Sr. 160), Shaun Wollenweber (Plano, Sr. 132), Zach Prinz (Oswego East, Jr. 182).