Lemont’s Schickel, Berta earn medals at 2017 IHSA Class 2A Wrestling State Finals
|Kyle Schickel (3rd from right in left photo) and Egan Berta (third from left in right photo) each medaled at the 2017 IHSA State Finals.
Lemont High School freshman Kyle Schickel
made program history and senior Egan Berta
joined select company at the 2017 IHSA Class 2A Wreatling State Finals, which were contested from February 16-18 at the State Farm Center on the campus of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Schickel finished as the state runner-up in the 106-pound weight class, while Berta placed third in the 145-pound weight class. This marks the first time since 2012 that head coach John St. Clair’s
team has had multiple individual state medalists in the same season.
Follow the IHSA Class 2A Wrestling State Finals!
Schickel (41-6) dropped a hard-fought 5-2 decision to Champaign Centennial’s Justin Cardani in the title match; it was Schickel’s first loss to a non-Class 3A wrestler this season. After opening with a 7-2 decision over Antioch’s Alex Barbarise, Schickel won by major decision (12-3) over Kaneland’s Nathan Orosco in the quarterfinal round. He earned his way to the championship match by topping Marengo’s Landon Pfeiffer, 8-2, in the semifinal round.
Schickel became the youngest Lemont wrestler to win a state medal. The program’s youngest state medalists prior to this season were Jehad Hamdan
and Andrew Mason ‘11
, who medaled as sophomores in 1988 and 2009, respectively.
The state runner-up at 145 pounds in 2016, Berta (35-4) won four of five state finals matches. He won by major decision (10-0) over St. Patrick’s Mike Valicento in the opening round, and pinned Washington’s Dalton Jensen at the 3:01 mark in the quarterfinals. In the semifinal match, Berta dropped a major decision (14-5) to Richmond-Burton’s Gavin Sutton, the eventual state champion. However, he bounced back in a big way, winning a 14-7 decision over Cahokia’s Martell Boone in the consolation semifinals, and outlasting Brother Rice’s Rahman Jones, 6-2, in the third-place match.
Berta’s semifinal loss was just his second to an IHSA Class 2A wrestler this season. His other defeats came at the hands of two IHSA Class 3A state medalists (Barrington’s Markus Hartman and Wheaton North’s Duncan Nelson), and Crystal Lake Central’s Lenny Petersen, who repeated as the IHSA Class 2A champion at 138 pounds.
Berta is just the sixth Lemont wrestler to earn multiple individual state medals in his career, and is only the third to finish third or better twice in his career. Angel Cabral ‘10
won consecutuve IHSA Class 2A titles at 285 pounds in 2009-10, and Matt Leibforth ‘10
finished 3rd at 135 pounds in 2009 before winning the title at that same weight class in 2010.
Berta posted a combined 10-6 record in his four state finals appearances. He went 1-2 at 126 pounds in 2014; 2-2 at 138 pounds in 2015; and was 3-1 and finished as the IHSA Class 2A State Runner-Up at 145 pounds in 2016.
Berta and Schickel were part of a seven-wrestler Lemont contingent at the state finals. Senior Jake Kirkman
(40-5) went 1-2 at 152 pounds, picking up an opening round win before falling short in the quarterfinal round against Rantoul’s Demarius Smith, the class’s eventual state runner-up. Kirkman lost by fall in the quarterfinal wrestlebacks.
Making his individual state finals debut, senior Jack Leffler
(28-11) posted a 1-2 record at 113 pounds. He earned an opening-round win before dropping a decision in the quarterfinal round and losing by fall in the quarterfinal wrestlebacks.
Junior Alex Oruna
(29-9) also made his first state finals appearance, and was 1-2 at 182 pounds. After capturing a first-round decision, he lost by fall to the eventual third-place medalist - Kaneland’s Riley Vanik - in the quarterfinal round. He also lost by fall in the quarterfinal wrestlebacks.
Lemont’s state qualifiers also included senior Damyen Gothard
(17-6), who lost by fall in the first round at 170 pounds while making his second straight state finals appearance; and freshman Grant LaDuke
(32-10), who dropped two decisions at 126 pounds.
Lemont had a tremendously successful showing at the IHSA Class 2A Thornridge Sectional on February 11, as a school-record six wrestlers won individual sectional titles and seven wrestlers overall advanced to the state finals. Berta and Kirkman became the first wrestlers in school history to earn four individual state finals berths.
Berta won by fall in the championship at match at 145 pounds, marking his third sectional title and his second straight at that weight class. Berta, who was the South Suburban Conference champion earlier this year, also won his third straight IHSA Regional title in 2017.
After winning an SSC title and his third straight IHSA Regional crown earlier this season, Kirkman captured his first IHSA Sectional title. Kirkman qualified at 138 pounds in 2014, and at 152 pounds in both 2015 and 2016. He is the third member of his family to qualify for the IHSA Individual Wrestling State Finals; Eric Kirkman ‘12
was the state runner-up at 170 pounds in 2012, while Mark Kirkman ‘12
was fourth at 160 pounds in 2012.
Gothard finished as the sectional runner-up for the second straight season, and also won his second straight IHSA Regional crown.
Leffler competed for Lemont in the dual team state finals in 2015, but clinched his first individual state berth with a sectional title match win Leffler won the SSC title earlier this season, and also captured his second IHSA Regional crown.
Oruna won his first IHSA Sectional and IHSA Regional titles in 2017.
Schickel and LaDuke each clinched state finals berths in their first opportunities by posting dominant efforts throughout sectional competition; both won by major decision in their respective title matches, and each won SSC and IHSA Regional titles as well earlier this season.
Freshmen Sam Campagna
(285), Drew Nash
(120) and Kyle Zator
(132) all took part in IHSA Sectional competition but did not advanced to the IHSA State Finals. Nash was an IHSA Regional winner this season, while Campagna and Zator each were third in regional competition.
Lemont won the SSC Blue title in 2017 and captured its own IHSA Regional. The Indians will square off against Brother Rice in the IHSA Class 2A Oak Forest Dual Team Sectional on February 21; the winner will advance to the IHSA Class 2A Dual Team State Finals on February 25.
Lemont’s previous state medalists have included Egan Berta
(2nd, 145-2016), Paul Burke ‘84
(4th, 119-1984), Angel Cabral ‘10
(1st, 285-2009; 1st, 285-2010), Brian Diaz ‘84
(3rd, 167-1984), Marvin Drummond ‘75
(4th, 132-1975), Dave Festin ‘74
(2nd, 132-1974), Mike Freemantle ‘90
(4th, 140-1990), Chris Giatras ‘13
(5th, 182-2012; 3rd, 182-2013), Jamal Hamdan ‘86
(4th, Hwt.-1986), Jehad Hamdan
(2nd, 167-1988), Ryan Hennebry ‘00
(5th, 125-2000), Jake Kaminsky ‘12
(2nd, 152-2012), Eric Kirkman ‘12
(2nd, 170-2012), Mark Kirkman ‘12
(4th, 160-2012), Gordon Kickels ‘08
(4th, 189-2007; 5th, 189-2008), Jake Latanski ‘12
(4th, 103-2010; 5th, 126-2012), Matt Leibforth ‘10
(3rd, 135-2009; 1st, 135-2010), Joe Long ‘05
(6th, 215-2005), Andrew Mason ‘11
(4th, 103-2009), Glenn Malecki ‘12
(4th, 132-2012), Derek Nagel ‘11
(2nd, 160-2011) and John Tomala ‘12
Wrestling is the sixth Lemont High School sport to be represented in IHSA State Finals competition this year. The cheerleading squad won the IHSA Medium Division State Championship; the girls’ cross country team was 14th at the Class 2A State Finals; the dance team was 14th at the Class 2A State Finals; the boys’ golf team was 11th at the Class 2A State Finals; and Sylvia Kobylak
competed at the IHSA Swimming State Finals.
For more information, contact Director of School & Community Relations Tony Hamilton
at (630) 243-3280.