Girls wrestling: Batavia’s Sydney Perry wins third IHSA state title, Kaneland’s Angelina Gochis wins first

Nine Kane, Kendall, DeKalb County wrestlers place

Batavia’s Sydney Perry controls Goreville’s Alivia Ming in the 145-pound bout at the girls wrestling state finals at Grossinger Motor Arena in Bloomington on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.

BLOOMINGTON – Batavia senior Sydney Perry had only one thing on her mind as she tried to win her third state wrestling championship Feb. 24.

Just have fun.

Perry has accomplished a lot in her decorated wrestling career, but she wanted to go back to the whole reason why she started wrestling in the first place.

She achieved that goal easily in Bloomington’s Grossinger Motors Arena, capping her high school career with the 145-pound title and an undefeated season.

“It’s important to remember why you’re actually wrestling,” Perry said. “Just to have fun and enjoy the sport.”

Perry was one of two state champions from the Kane, Kendall and DeKalb county areas.

Kaneland freshman Angelina Gochis became the Knights’ first state champion, winning the 105-pound crown.

Batavia won the third-place trophy after scoring 46.5 points. Lakes won the state championship with 61 points. Lockport finished second with 58 points.

Perry was dominant in her championship match against Goreville’s Alivia Ming. Perry jumped out to a 10-3 lead after the first period and continued tacking on, leading 22-9 after the second period. Perry ended up winning her third state title by technical fall 24-9. She finished her season 41-0 and had fun along the way.

“If you loosen up, it makes the sport better,” Perry said. “You don’t get burnt out.”

Perry set a different goal each time she competed for a state championship.

In 2022, Perry wanted to make a name for herself in the first-ever IHSA-sanctioned tournament after winning the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association state tournament in 2021. She accomplished that goal, becoming the first champion during the first sanctioned tournament.

Legacy was on Perry’s mind Feb. 24. She’s been part of the sports’ growth over the past three seasons and wanted her final high school wrestling match to cement her place in Illinois girls wrestling history.

Mission accomplished once again.

“Now it’s just trying to make a name for myself, looking back,” Perry said. “It just means a lot to be a part of the sport, to be a part of the history, becoming a trailblazer.”

While Perry ended her career with a state title, Gochis started her career with a state crown.

Competing in the biggest match of her young high school career, Gochis didn’t change the approach that’s worked for her all season. She stayed aggressive throughout the title match, attacked when she needed to and held off a late push to make Kaneland history.

“It was crazy,” Gochis said. “I was so happy doing all that.”

the winner over Huntley’s Janiah Slaughter in the 105-pound class at the girls wrestling state finals at Grossinger Motor Arena in Bloomington on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.

Gochis built an early 2-0 lead against Huntley’s Janiah Slaughter in the 105-pound title match before running away 4-1 after one period and 6-1 after two. Gochis held off some late pushes from Slaughter to win 8-2.

It was an important moment for Gochis not only because she won the program’s first state championship. Gochis said she worked hard all season to get to this point and felt grateful for the support she had along the way.

“I feel really good,” Gochis said. “Doing this for all my friends, family, all my coaches. It’s really nice.”

Batavia sophomore Lily Enos (100) placed third.

Burlington Central junior Victoria Macias (115) and freshman Ryann Miller (170) each took fifth.

Yorkville senior Yamilet Aguirre (125) took fourth. Sandwich senior Ashlyn Strenz (110) finished fifth. DeKalb junior Reese Zimmer (115) and sophomore Alex Gregorio-Perez (105) each took sixth, becoming the program’s first placers.

Enos, who entered with hopes of a state championship, fought back in the third-place match, rebounding from a 2-1 hole after the first period to pin Newman Central’s Blair Grennan in the second period.

While she didn’t fully accomplish what she wanted to, Enos was happy to not only help the Bulldogs bring home a trophy but set the stage for her next two years.

“I’m proud,” Enos said. “I’m glad I have two more years and I can just use this as a steppingstone to improve in the coming years.”

Strenz had only two things on her mind after winning the fifth-place match at 110 pounds.

“Now it’s time for a Mountain Dew and a Shamrock shake,” Strenz said.

Strenz (18-6), who finished fourth as a junior, defeated Bartlett junior Emma Engels 4-1 to earn her second consecutive state medal. She started the day with a 21-6 technical fall loss to eventual state champion sophomore Morgan Turner of Lockport and then dropped a tough 1-0 overtime consolation semifinal decision to Litchfield freshman Rilynn Younker.

“I came into [Saturday] mentally ready to go. ... I had a clear mind and wasn’t worried about anything other than wrestling the best I could,” Strenz said. “My [championship] semifinal match didn’t work out as I would have liked and my next match was one where I battled all the way to the end.

“In my last match, I just wanted to wrestle the best I could one last time as a high schooler and I was able to do that and finish my career with a win. The last two years, getting to state and earning a medal, have been more than I could have dreamed of.”

– Brian Hoxsey contributed to this story

Michal Dwojak

Michal Dwojak

Michal is a sports enterprise reporter for Shaw Local, covering the CCL/ESCC for Friday Night Drive and other prep sports for the Northwest Herald. He also is a Chicago Bears contributing writer. He previously was the sports editor for the Glenview Lantern, Northbook Tower and Malibu Surfside News.