Coming off an historic weekend at the individual state finals, head coach John St. Clair’s wrestling program earned its seventh team state finals berth in dominant fashion. Posting 11 wins by fall, Lemont topped Chicago Noble/Comer, 69-3, in one of two matches at the IHSA Class 2A Evergreen Park Sectional on February 25 to secure the squad’s second straight team state finals berth. Lemont will compete at the 2020 IHSA Class 2A Wrestling Team State Finals on Saturday, February 29, at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington.
The victory earned Lemont a match-up with Mattoon in an IHSA Class 2A State Quarterfinal at 9 a.m. on February 29. The winner of that match will advance to a semifinal match at 2 p.m. against the winner of the Aurora Christian/Marian Central Catholic quarterfinal. The third-place and championship matches will take place at 6 p.m.
Seniors Kyle Schickel (152) and Kyle Zator (160), juniors Tyler Bentley (113), Apollo Gothard (220) and Mo Jarad (285), sophomores Cole Brannigan (170), Mo Khalil (182) and Jake Zator (132), and freshmen AJ Heeg (145) and John O’Connor (120) all pinned their opponents, while freshman Payton Salomon earned a victory by decision. Lemont won 12 of the 13 matches that were contested.
Gothard stayed perfect with his victory, moving to 46-0 on the season. He has tied his own single-season record for victories in a season, which he established as a sophomore in 2019. Schickel, meanwhile, extended his school-record career wins total to 167 with his triumph.
Lemont enjoyed the most fruitful individual state finals in program history, setting a single-season school record with three state championships. Gothard (220), Jarad (285) and senior Drew Nash (126) all won state titles, while Schickel (145) and senior Grant LaDuke (152) posted state runner-up finishes. Schickel became the program’s first four-time state medalist by earning his fourth state runner-up finish, while Gothard and LaDuke each earned their third state medals and Nash picked up his second. Heeg (138), Kyle Zator (160), junior Ray Hernandez (132) and sophomores Evan Schiffman (120) and Alex Tagler (170) also were part of a school-record contingent of ten state finalists.
Lemont won the IHSA Oak Forest Regional on February 8 to earn its team sectional berth. The team has racked up a 29-2 dual record this year, was a perfect 13-0 in South Suburban Conference matches, and won the SSC Meet.
Lemont reached the IHSA Class 2A State Finals in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and again in 2015, 2017 and 2018. It posted a program-best third-place finish in 2010, and earned another state trophy when it placed fourth in 2011.
Tickets are $8 for each session of the IHSA Team State Finals and can be purchased at Grossinger Motors Arena.