Herald-News girls wrestling preview for 2023-24 season

Plainfield Central’s Alicia Tucker, Lincoln-Way Central’s Gracie Guarino among top returners

Alicia Tucker of Plainfield Central (left) and Maryam Ndiaye of Moline grapple during the 155-pound championship match at the IHSA Girls Wrestling State Finals on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. Tucker captured the championship in the closing seconds.

Girls wrestling continues to grow and there will be many Herald-News area wrestlers competing for a shot at making it to state in 2023-24.

Here is a look at the girls wrestling teams and individuals in the area.

Southwest Prairie Conference

Joliet West’s Eliana Paramo took 5th place in the 115 pound championship match at Grossinger Motor Arena in Bloomington. Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Champaign.

Joliet Township

Coach: Liz Short

Top returners: Eliana Paramo, jr. (115); Chloe Wong, jr. (100); Fernanda Miranda, sr. (235); Alexandra Rosas, sr. (130); Kassie Ruiz, jr. (100); Janelle Maldonado Gonzalez, sr. (135).

Key newcomers: Ariadna Arciniega, so. (100); Izabel Barrera, so. (135); Alisa Carter, so. (105); Keily Centeno, so. (120); Morgan Kelley, fr. (105); Briahna Klobnak, so. (125).

Worth noting: Paramo, Wong and Miranda were all state qualifiers last season, with Paramo finishing as the state runner-up at 115. After losing the championship match to Glenbard North’s Gabriella Gomez, Paramo is back in the same weight class and chasing the title. This is the second season of a combined Joliet Township girls wrestling program.


Coach: Paige Schoolman

Top returners: Brooklyn Doti, sr. (110); Bella Cyrkiel, sr. (145); Peyton Kueltzo, sr. (235); Sabina Charlebois, so. (125); Eva Beck, sr. (130/135); Abbey Boersma, sr. (155).

Key newcomers: Kiley Addelman, fr. (100); Marian Nordsell, fr. (105); Carli Rausa, fr. (110); Daisy Musser, fr. (115); Alaina Austin, fr. (120); Kailey Jefferson, fr. (130).

Worth noting: Minooka has a large roster with 40 wrestlers in the program. Kueltzo is a two-time state qualifier, while Cyrkiel qualified last season. Doti was a state qualifier in 2021-2022 who is looking to get back after missing out as a junior. Cyrkiel, Kueltzo, Charlebois and Beck were all conference champions last season. “We are looking to continue to grow the sport of girls wrestling,” Schoolman said. “We are excited with our numbers and look forward to watching our girls grow in the sport throughout the season.”

Plainfield Central

Coach: Terry Kubski

Top returners: Candice Cameron, so. (110); Courtni Chuway, sr. (115); Miah Banda, jr. (130); Zyon Jordan, jr. (155); Alicia Tucker, jr. (170).

Key newcomers: Xiomayra Terrell, jr. (100); Shania Davison, fr. (120); Aaliyah Banda, fr. (125/130).

Worth noting: The Wildcats return all five of their wrestlers from last season and add three newcomers. Tucker was the 165-pound state champion in 2022-23, going 34-2 and beating Moline’s Mariam Ndiaye 3-1 in the championship match. She will look to go back-to-back. Chuway was also a state qualifier, while Jordan had 19 wins. “We are expecting to keep growing the success that we have seen from the previous season,” Kubski said.

Plainfield South

Coach: Danny Saracco

Top returners: Teagan Aurich, jr. (155); Keira Enright, jr. (190); Tannon Whitaker. sr. (135).

Key newcomers: Alexia Kachiroubas, fr. (140).

Worth noting: The Cougars have 17 wrestlers in the program this season, including a pair of returning state qualifiers in Aurich and Enright. Whitaker is an experienced senior, while there are big expectations for Kachiroubas. “Our goal is to give the girls the tools they need in order to be successful,” Saracco said. “We give them their own practices so they are given the same opportunities to be successful. The girls have been doing an amazing job this year and we are excited for this season.”


Coach: John Arlis

Top returners: Josefina Orozco, sr.

Key newcomers: Daniela Santander, so.; Jesslynn Ochoa, jr.; Brianna Garcia, jr.

Worth noting: The Spartans are up to 17 in the program, nearly tripling last season’s roster. Orozco won 22 matches as a junior and was one win shy of qualifying for state, leaving her extra motivated to make it this time around. “We are looking to improve every day,” Arlis said. “Do the little things in practice that will make a big difference in the state tournament.”

East Suburban Catholic Conference

Joliet Catholic

Coach: Rebecca Cumbee

Top returner: Grace Laird, jr. (120/125).

Key newcomers: Cheya Bishop, sr. (170); Ellie Kinnard, fr.

Worth noting: Laird, the stepdaughter of Joliet Catholic boys wrestling coach Ryan Cumbee, had been the only wrestler in program history, but the Angels have a three-wrestler roster this season. Laird is hoping for a run at the state podium. Bishop, a transfer from Bolingbrook, is looking to make her mark on IHSA wrestling after having success in several avenues outside of the high school season, including qualifying for junior nationals in Fargo over the summer.

Southwest Suburban Conference


Coach: Jordan Hovel

Top returner: Alejandra Flores, so.

Key newcomers: Savannah Burns, fr.; Aurelia Gil-Lane, sr.; Semiya Hilliard, jr.; Ashley Hobbs, fr.; Samara Hood, sr.; Julissa Jimenez, so.

Worth noting: The Raiders have seven wrestlers on their roster. Flores went 13-3 as a freshman and finished one win short of qualifying for state.

Ayane Jasinski of Fox Lake Grant (bottom) and Gracie Guarino of Lincolnway Central wrestle in the 110 pound championship match at the IHSA girls state wrestling championships Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.

Lincoln-Way Central

Coach: Tyrone Byrd

Top returner: Gracie Guarino, sr. (115).

Worth noting: Guarino is a two-time state runner-up. After losing 2-0 in overtime to Grant’s Ayane Jasinski last season, Guarino is highly motivated to finish on top of the podium as a senior. Guarino is also expected to be a big contributor for the boys team during the regular season. The Knights also have several newcomers joining the team, giving them a roster of 15 girls.

Lincoln-Way West

Coach: Brian Glynn

Top returners: Zoe Dempsey, so. (105); Alaina Hollendoner, sr. (120).

Worth noting: The Warriors have four girls wrestlers in total, with Dempsey and Hollendoner returning after successful seasons. Dempsey and Hollendoner were both state qualifiers who also qualified for junior nationals in Fargo over the summer, and Glynn believes both have a good chance of being state placers this season.

Cadence Diduch (left) of Freeport and Claudia Heeney of Lockport (right) meet in the 125-pound championship match at the IHSA Girls Wrestling State Finals on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Bloomington.


Coach: Nate Roth

Top returners: Claudia Heeney, so. (125); Liz Ramirez, sr. (115); Averi Colella, jr. (105).

Key newcomers: Veronica Skibicki, fr. (110); Rebekah Ramirez, fr. (235).

Worth noting: The Porters have 25 wrestlers in the program, led by one of the most promising wrestlers in the state in Heeney, who finished as the state runner-up at 125 as a freshman last season. Heeney went 44-1, with her only loss coming in the state championship match to Freeport’s Cadence Diduch. Liz Ramirez is also a returning state qualifier, while Colella won 35 matches last season. That trio is surrounded by many newcomers. “We are a very young team this year, but we have a lot of potential,” Roth said. “One of our goals is to have all the returning girls impart as much of their knowledge and work ethic on the new girls as possible.”

South Suburban Conference


Coach: Rob Hammerschmidt

Top returner: Molly O’Connor, so. (125).

Worth noting: Lemont had just two wrestlers last season, but is up to 14 now, all of whom are underclassmen. O’Connor is back and hoping for a big postseason run after winning 18 matches as a freshman. “We are excited to grow the program and gain valuable experience this season,” Hammerschmidt said. “We have a young girls squad that has an exciting future knowing that everyone will be returning next year.”

Illinois Central Eight Conference


Coach: Lauren Daly

Top returners: Kiernan Farmer, sr. (170).

Key newcomers: Natalie Bonick, fr. (100); Shannon Bennett, so. (125); Annie Bergeron, so. (130).

Worth noting: Peotone has four wrestlers in its first season with an official girls program. Farmer finished sixth in the state at 155 last season and is looking to move further up the podium. "

Tri-County Conference


Coach: Todd Yegge

Top returners: Sammie Griesen, so. (130).

Key newcomers: Kyra Wood, so. (170/190); Brooklyn Hart, fr. (110/115).

Worth noting: Griesen was a state qualifier last season and was one win shy of making the podium. She is expected to contend for a state medal and will also likely be in the Irish’s boys lineup at times during the regular season. Wood and Hart complete a roster of three girls.