Freestyle wrestling icon vector. Female. Pictogram women sport. Logo. Match girls. Symbolic image is one of a series. Greco-Roman. Isolated.

Freestyle wrestling icon vector. Female. Pictogram women sport. Logo. Match girls. Symbolic image is one of a series. Greco-Roman. Isolated.

Girl wrestlers make history as first IHSA state qualifiers

Spread the love

By Steve Millar 
Correspondent

For Morton senior Karla Topete, Feb. 12 was a special day for a greater reason than just her winning a sectional wrestling championship.

Topete and her teammates competed at the Andrew Sectional, one of four sectionals that marked the start of the IHSA’s first individual girls wrestling state series.

For the first time, girls have a chance to compete against other girls for a state championship.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Topete said. “I’ve been wrestling since sixth grade and there was a time where there were no girls. So, aside from winning, just seeing all these girls is amazing.”

Topete (14-1), who pinned Oak Forest’s Sabrina Sifuentez in the 130-pound championship match, was one of three champions for Morton.

The Mustangs qualified nine wrestlers for the inaugural girls wrestling state meet, set for Feb. 25-26 at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington.

There was no official team champion in the event, but Morton had the highest score in the unofficial team standings out of the 37 schools competing.

“I feel like a proud mom since I’m one of the co-captains,” Morton senior Jennifer Villagomez said. “I feel so proud of everyone that they wrestled so hard and didn’t give up.

“I try to help them at practice and tell them, ‘Oh, do this,’ and to see them do it in matches makes me feel so proud of everyone.”

Villagomez (14-1), who pinned Hillcrest’s Cha`Anna Kassim in the finals at 110 pounds, said she was not able to qualify for the girls state finals held by the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association in previous years, so she was thrilled to break through in her final high school season.

“I felt like this year I was ready to come forward after so many hard practices,” she said. “I feel like it was all worth it. It feels very exciting.”

Morton junior Leilany De Leon said she dealt with a lot of anxiety throughout the day, but it did not show in her results.

De Leon (10-2) pinned all three of her opponents, including Kankakee’s Estefany Mendez in the 120-pound championship match.

“I get so nervous,” De Leon said. “I was late for my last match because my coach had to talk to me to calm me down. He said, ‘It doesn’t matter, you’re already going to state, just try your best and have fun.’ Also, I didn’t want to lose.

“This is history. I still can’t believe it.”

Also qualifying for state for Morton were Ximena Juarez (2nd at 125), Neida Arreola (3rd at 115), Diana Rodriguez (3rd at 190), Aseel Jadallah (3rd at heavyweight), Paris Flores (4th at 100) and Faith Comas (4th at 135).

The Andrew co-op team qualified six wrestlers for state. Four of them are Andrew students, but two go to the other District 230 schools.

Stagg sophomore Ava McGuire (5-7) finished second at 145, pinning Joselin Rodriguez from Back of the Yards in the semifinals to clinch her spot at state.

Sandburg freshman Emma Akpan (14-6) also was a runner-up, at 170. She had two pins, including one over Homewood-Flossmoor’s Madison Skowronski in the semifinals.

Evergreen Park junior Elliana Balderrama (11-5) bounced back from a loss in the semifinals at 155 to pin her final two opponents at finish third.

In the consolation semifinals — also known as the “blood round” as winners clinch their spot at state and losers are eliminated — Balderrama needed just 16 seconds to pin Back of the Yards’ Rachael Villegas.

“I just used heavy hands and threw her down, got it over,” Balderrama said. “It was a big relief. I knew I had to get the job done.

“This means literally everything. I love the sport. I’m a first-year wrestler and this has given me so many opportunities. I love going out there by myself and putting it all on there on the mat.”

Riverside-Brookfield sophomore Eleanor Aphay (17-7) also came through with a pin in the blood round, defeating Oak Park-River Forest’s Maria Diaz to clinch her spot at state. Aphay finished fourth.

“It feels amazing, especially for my first year wrestling to make it to state,” she said. “It feels like a big accomplishment.”

Mother McAuley’s Maggie Summer, St. Laurence’s Christel Rodriguez and Marist’s Reese O’Keefe all made it to the blood round, but fell one win short of qualifying for state.

Rodriguez and O’Keefe each had to win just one match to reach that round.

Zumer, a freshman competing in a 13-wrestler bracket at 125, had three pins but got pinned by Lincoln-Way Central’s Ashley Villa in the blood round.

Still, it was a memorable day.

“It’s amazing,” Zumer said. “All the girls wrestling, it’s such a great experience. You see all these girls who are just like you doing their best. It’s always so cool with the competitiveness but also the sportsmanship that people might not always see.”

Local News

Brother Rice junior Gavin Arnold forces the ball over the net during a match against Richards on April 19. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Volleyball | Brother Rice falls to Glenbard West and York, takes 4th at Smack Attack

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent It was a busy weekend in the area for boys volleyball as Brother Rice hosted its 14th annual Smack Attack tournament. The 24-team event played April 19-20 featured area teams Brother Rice, Marist and Richards, along with defending Class 4A champion Glenbard West and two highly rated teams from…

Swanson scores, assists in Red Stars’ win over Reign

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Red Stars improved to 3-1-1 by beating the Seattle Reign, 2-1, on the road on April 21. Mallory Swanson had an assist on an Ali Schlegel goal in the fourth minute and added a goal of her own in the 31st minute. Swanson missed last season after sustaining a knee injury on…

Tatumn Milazzo, shown at media day before the season started, was amused by winning a Save of the Week award. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Red Stars’ Tatumn Milazzo has top Save of the Week

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Tatumn Milazzo called her achievement “funny.” The Chicago Red Stars defender and Orland Park native was awarded the NWSL’s Save of the Week after chasing down a ball in a loss to Angel City on April 13. The Save of the Week usually goes to a goalie. Milazzo laughed…

A lone white volleyball sitting on a wooden floor

Men’s College Volleyball | Saint Xavier captures fifth straight conference tourney title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The SXU men’s volleyball team won its fifth straight Chicagoland Christian Athletic Conference tournament championship after a 25-16, 25-17, 25-22 sweep of Calumet College of St. Joseph on April 20 at the Shannon Center. Jan Lopuch had 10 kills and nine digs for the Cougars. With the win, the…

Baseball in a mitt with a black bat low angle selective focus view on a baseball field

College Baseball | Saint Xavier upsets Eastern Illinois

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Saint Xavier baseball team picked up a win that its players are going to remember for a long time. The Cougars stunned Eastern Illinois, 4-2, on April 17 in Charleston. It was the Cougars’ first win over the Panthers, a Division I program, since 2005. Lyons grad Troy…

A lone white volleyball sitting on a wooden floor

Boys Volleyball | Glenbard West tops Marist to stay unbeaten

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Marist boys volleyball team, ranked fifth in the nation by USA Today/American Volleyball Coaches, lost to Glenbard West, 25-23, 25-21, in the championship match at the Brother Rice Smack Attack on April 20 in Chicago. Glenbard West (19-0) is the two-time defending state champion and is ranked third…

Alliyah Flores and her St. Laurence teammates earned academic honors by the IBCA. Photo by Jeff Vorva

St. Laurence hoops teams top honor roll

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Area basketball teams proved to be strong on the court and in the classroom this season, and St. Laurence was the leader of the pack. The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association compiled a list of the top academic teams, and the area did well. In Division 3 girls, St. Laurence…

St. Rita's David Lyle won honors from the Chicago Bears. St. Rita photo

Chicago Bears recognize St. Rita senior with All-Star award

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Chances are good that few outside of St. Rita football circles know who David Lyle is. With good reason. Lyle missed his senior season for the Mustangs last fall after sustaining a serious knee injury. He even postponed having knee surgery so that he could take care of his…

RayHanania

‘Civil War’ is an anti-Trump fantasy

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Ray Hanania . We know that the mainstream news media (news and entertainment) harbors an unrelenting hatred of former President Donald Trump. They despise him.ccccc It isn’t surprising someone would produce a movie that taps into that hatred of Trump, even though the director denies it. I am an avid movie-goer.…

CRRNH_CosmoPhotoMDWArmory_032724

Pols want 63rd St. armory for new police HQ

Spread the love

Spread the love. Porfirio, Guerrero-Cuellar push plan in Springfield . By Tim Hadac Any plans the Chicago Department of Aviation may have had for the vacant Army National Guard Midway Armory, 5400 W. 63rd St., may be grounded, at least for now. Several elected officials are eyeing the parcel as the headquarters of a new…

Neighbors

Remembering Lee Milner

Remembering Lee Milner

NEWS TEAM Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com On Wednesday, April 17, the Springfield, Illinois Capitol and journalism communities lost a devoted friend and advocate when Lee Milner passed away. As Dean Olsen wrote in his piece in the Illinois Times earlier this month, “Readers of Illinois Times often have seen Milner’s work as a freelance photojournalist. But…

Capitol Briefs: Expansion of postpartum coverage, ban on kangaroos among hundreds of measures to pass House

Capitol Briefs: Expansion of postpartum coverage, ban on kangaroos among hundreds of measures to pass House

By ALEX ABBEDUTO & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Illinois kangaroo owners are one step closer to being forced to surrender their marsupials this week after the House passed a bill criminalizing their possession. That was one of more than 300 bills to pass the House ahead of a Friday procedural deadline.…

Pritzker says state ‘obviously’ needs to change 2010 law that shrunk pension benefits

Pritzker says state ‘obviously’ needs to change 2010 law that shrunk pension benefits

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com With a month-and-a-half left in the General Assembly’s spring session, Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration is readying its proposal to address Illinois’ chronically underfunded pension system. But the governor this week also acknowledged in the strongest terms yet that any plans to finally get the state on track toward…

Pritzker’s health insurance reforms targeting ‘utilization management’ clear House

Pritzker’s health insurance reforms targeting ‘utilization management’ clear House

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker celebrated a partial legislative victory Thursday night when the House passed his initiative to end some practices health insurance companies use to control the amount and cost of health care services individual patients receive. The “Healthcare Protection Act,” House Bill 5395, cleared the…

Lawmakers, cannabis industry calls for ban on ‘delta-8’ and other psychoactive hemp products

Lawmakers, cannabis industry calls for ban on ‘delta-8’ and other psychoactive hemp products

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ largest cannabis business association is pushing to ban the sale of delta-8 THC, an increasingly popular psychoactive substance that’s popped up in corner stores across the country in recent years. New legislation filed in Springfield this week revives an ongoing debate over delta-8 and other…

As state continues to inventory lead pipes, full replacement deadlines are decades away

As state continues to inventory lead pipes, full replacement deadlines are decades away

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois Clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com Lead pipes in public water systems and drinking fixtures have been banned in new construction since 1986, when Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act, but they are still in use across the U.S. and in Illinois.  The presence of lead pipes has persisted due in part to…

Capitol Briefs: Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

Capitol Briefs: Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

By ALEX ABBEDUTO HANNAH MEISEL & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to create a new state agency to oversee Illinois’ various early childhood programs moved forward on Friday after the state Senate’s unanimous approval. It was one of 244 bills that cleared the Senate this week. Early childhood…

INVESTIGATE MIDWEST: Farmers have clamored for the Right to Repair for years. It’s getting little traction in John Deere’s home state

INVESTIGATE MIDWEST: Farmers have clamored for the Right to Repair for years. It’s getting little traction in John Deere’s home state

By Jennifer Bamberg, Investigate Midwest Originally published April 10, 2024 During the 2023 harvest season, one of Jake Lieb’s tractors quit working. A week later, his combine stopped working, too. Both were new — and he was locked out from making any repairs himself because of software restrictions embedded in the machines.  Instead, a technician…

Capitol Briefs: Pritzker appoints first-ever Prisoner Review Board director; Chicago advances migrant funding

Capitol Briefs: Pritzker appoints first-ever Prisoner Review Board director; Chicago advances migrant funding

By JERRY NOWICKI & DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com Weeks after two high-profile resignations at the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday appointed the first-ever executive director to help lead the beleaguered agency. To fill the newly created position, the governor tapped Jim Montgomery, who most recently served as director of…

Advocates renew push to tighten firearm laws aimed at protecting domestic violence victims

Advocates renew push to tighten firearm laws aimed at protecting domestic violence victims

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois Clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Advocates for stricter gun laws rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday for a measure aimed at protecting domestic violence victims and two other criminal justice reforms. The bills are backed by organizations such as Moms Demand Action and One Aim Illinois among others. “These policies support…