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Chris Garcia of Montini (lefy) ties up Larry Early of Oak Park) en route to a 3-1 victory in the 145-pouns championship of the Rex Whitlatch Invitational. | Steve Johnston/For Sun-Times Media
Impressing Oak Park-River Forest coach Mike Powell this season isn’t easy.
The same goes for Hinsdale Central senior wrestler Brian Allen.
OPRF dominated the competition en route to capturing the 48th annual Rex Whitlatch Invitational Saturday in Hinsdale. The Huskies had five individual champions and four runner-up performances.
“In the final round I thought we left a little on the mat,” said Powell, whose team is ranked No. 1 in the state and is also among the top squads in the country. “We could’ve wrestled harder. I don’t really feel satisfied. It’s a great honor to win this tournament, which is a great tournament, so I don’t mean to belittle that at all, but I’m frustrated right now because I know what we have.”
OPRF (320 ½ points) finished ahead of Montini (237), Sandburg (198 ½) and Mount Carmel (183 ½) in the loaded 24-team field.
Hinsdale Central (112 ½) finished sixth, Hinsdale South (108 ½) took seventh and New Trier was led by junior Alex McKenna (14-2), who won the 126-pound title.
OPRF champions were freshman Jay Renteria (106), sophomore Gabe Townsell (120), sophomore Isaiah White (138), senior Davonte Mahomes (170) and senior Andre Lee (195). Junior Larry Early (145), junior Matt Rundell (152), sophomore Kamal Bey (160) and senior Emonte Logan (220) each took second.
Hinsdale Central’s Brian Allen, the defending state heavyweight champion, won the championship at 285 pounds, but needed to pull out a 4-3 overtime win over Moline’s Adarios Jones to accomplish the feat. He is believed to be the first four-time heavyweight champion in the long-running event’s history.
“I would’ve liked if it had gone a little differently than it did,” Allen said. “It’s only December so it’s a good check-point to see where I’m at and what I need to work on. I consider this a loss for me personally, but I’ll learn something from it.”
The Red Devils also had top-six finishes from junior Matt Price (fifth at 113), senior Keith Schmidt (fourth at 160) and junior Juwan Edmond (third at 145).
Hinsdale South was led by sophomore Joshua King (third at 220), senior Justin Maslow (fifth at 145) and senior Matt LaGare (fifth at 195).
“Any time you have a tournament with the quality of teams and individuals that are here, you’re going to have your ups and downs,” Hinsdale South coach Steve Holland said. “We started out pretty strong and the second day we ran into tougher competition, which shows you what you need to work on. We had a lot of good points.”
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