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The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

Wrestling team pins down another state championship

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The Caravan wrestling team finished with a dominant win over Yorkville for another state title.

Mount Carmel wrestling secured its fifth state title and its second in the last three years and the school’s twenty-eighth overall state championship. There were nineteen wrestlers who made the trip down to Grossinger Arena in Bloomington from February 23-24, and in the title match everyone who wrestled won, with the only points being given up due to a forfeit.

In the state final MC faced Yorkville and proceeded to dominate them completely. Though MC had to forfeit their 120-pound class due to not making weight, all thirteen wrestlers won after that with the final score 59 to 6.

Prior to the championship, sophomore Liam Kelly came in clutch during his match against St. Charles East, beating by decision his opponent who had placed third in his weight class in individual state. Liam joins his brothers, senior Colin, who also won his second individual state title at 175 pounds a week prior and will wrestle for the University of Wisconsin-Madison next year, and Michael ’22 in being part of a team state championship.

“Looking back on it, my favorite moment was when Liam Kelly beat the number three guy in the state from St. Charles East,” said head coach Alex Tsirtsis. “It was one that I knew we could accomplish, but I was not sure, and it put us in a really good spot. It was really exciting, and he did a great job.”

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Head coach Alex Tsirtsis speaks to the school during the gathering February 29, 2024, in Alumni Gym to celebrate the wrestling team’s state championship. (Tim Baffoe)

In a dominant year, the Caravan only had two losses in the regular season, and just one of those was to an in-state team, Joliet Catholic. MC coincidentally faced JCA in the state quarterfinals.

After defeating JCA in a close revenge match, 33-26, they moved on to face defending state champ St. Charles East who beat them in the quarterfinals last year. MC moved on to win that other revenge match against St. Charles East 35 to 30.

Surprisingly, despite the fact that in a team state championship all the wrestlers are relying on each other to either gain or not give up points in their match, pressure worked to this group’s advantage.

“I feel like everyone does better in team state due to the pressure,” said junior Jairo Acuna. “You got your whole team behind you, and I feel like most guys wrestle better with that pressure. Overall it’s all fun, and personally I think it’s the best tournament of the year.”

Junior Seth Mendoza, fresh off his third individual state title at 126 pounds, agreed that despite wrestling being scored by individual performances, this was about teammates backing up teammates.

“I feel like when you’re out there with the team it’s a lot more fun than individual tournaments,” said Mendoza, who during an all-school celebration in the Alumni Gym on Thursday, February 29, announced his commitment to wrestle at the University of Missouri. “I feel like when we go out there having our teammates behind us is the reason we do better.”

Many wrestlers who were on the team this year also wrestled on the 2022 state team.

“I feel like honestly it’s better this year,” said Acuna, who was a freshman on the previous state title team. “We get to treat our freshmen and sophomores to a state title. It sets the bar for what they want to achieve every year. Also this year we literally ran the gauntlet, we had beat the 7, 6, 5, 4, 2, and 1 team. We beat every single person that people try to compare us to so we can prove we are the best.”

Now that the MC wrestling team has taken back their throne from St. Charles East, the goal is to win another state title next year.

“In the finals match the score was really lopsided,” said Coach Tsirtsis, “but it was really special because every senior in the starting lineup got to finish off their high school career with a win.”

 

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About the Contributor
James McCormac '25, Staff Writer
James McCormac is a junior at Mount Carmel. He lives in Bridgeport and attended Old Saint Mary's Grammar School. James is a member of the Varsity football team, the chess team, boxing, and The Merchant. Outside of school James enjoys doing volunteer work. His hobbies are reading and lifting.