IKWF state meet brings top youth wrestlers together
The Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation is holding its state tournament for club grapplers this weekend at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, and the Waukegan Youth Wrestling Club has four entries in the three-day event that started on Friday.
In order to compete at state, a wrestler had to advance through regional and sectional meets — the latter of which was held last weekend at Glenbrook South High School.
Derrick Noble, who’s been involved in youth wrestling in Lake County since 1999, heads the Waukegan program, which is based out of Waukegan High School’s campus on Brookside.
There are two divisions of wrestlers competing at state: Senior (age 12-14) and Novice (age 10-12).
Representing Waukegan Youth Wrestling at state are Israel Aguayo in the 122-pound Novice Division, Jaiden Lowery in the 215 Novice Division, Jonathan Lopez in the 189 Senior Division, and Anilud Huerta in the 215 Senior Division.
Aguayo and Lowery are seventh-graders at Viking in Gurnee, Lopez is an eighth-grader at Abbott in Waukegan, and Huerta is an eighth-grader at Webster in Waukegan.
Noble is excited about the progress of the program, especially because “graduates” of Waukegan Youth Wrestling are now competing at the high school level.
“As the years go by, it’s getting better and better,” Noble said. “I’m learning to coach better and the kids are getting better and better.”
Right now, there are about 70 in the program in all four divisions, though the age 8-under Bantams and age 8-10 Intermediates don’t compete at state this weekend.
“We have kids now starting to disperse to high school,” Noble said. “I had two freshmen wrestle on Waukegan’s varsity and six who wrestled on the freshman team. The freshmen team won some (team) matches this year.”
So, clearly there is progress.
Noble, who placed second and fourth at the high school state tournament when he was at Carmel in the early 1990s, noted that the landscape for club wrestling is changing a bit, as fewer clubs are town specific and more are bringing in youngsters from a broader geographic area.
He’s proud that he has 70 locals in his club, and though only four are competing this weekend, there are plenty of matches down the road for all.
And that includes matches for four of the girls in Waukegan’s program.
There is a state tourney for girls that will be held in Yorkville, and Noble’s daughters — Nygia and Myisha — will be competing, along with Paulina Gomez and Zolynn Neuhaus.
All told, wrestlers from 18 different clubs won sectional championships in either the Novice or Senior divisions at Glenbrook South.
Leading the way with seven champions was The Wrestling Factory of Lake Forest.
Their winners were Isaiah Parker (Novice 108), Reese Durlacher (Senior 74), Daniel Pucino (Senior 89), Anthony Glauser (Senior 138), Cody Goodman (Senior 177), Michael Gunther (Senior 122) and Elijah Black (Senior 130).
The Gomez Wrestling Academy of Carol Stream had six winners.
Other area champions included Cole Rhemrev (Novice 70) of the Junior Patriots of Lincolnshire, Justin Warmowski (Novice 74) of the Fox Lake Wrestling Club, Deon Lopez (Novice 95) of the Lakeland Predators of Antioch, Jordan Chisum (Novice 130) of the Zee-Bee Stingers of Zion, and Joseph Jens (Novice 138) of the Grayslake Wrestling Club.