Girls wrestling: 5 storylines to watch at the state tournament

Alicia Tucker of Plainfield Central High School takes second place at sectionals to Kiernan Farmer of Peotone High School during girls wrestling sectionals at Geneseo High School on February 10, 2024.

The IHSA girls wrestling state tournament begins Friday for the third time at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington.

The Herald-News area will have 21 girls competing for a medal, with seven of those being sectional champions. That many competitors offer a wealth of storylines. Here are five to keep an eye on.

Showdown at 170

Plainfield Central’s Alicia Tucker won the state championship at 155 pounds last season, while Peotone’s Kiernan Farmer took sixth at the same weight class.

The two are in the same weight class again this year, but they have moved up to 170. Entering the sectional, Tucker, a junior, was undefeated, while Farmer, a senior, had one loss. They met in the sectional championship, with Farmer coming away with a 9-0 victory.

Tucker and Farmer are on opposite sides of the bracket, making for a possible rematch for the state championship.

Looking for more medals

Besides Tucker and Farmer, four other area wrestlers are trying to repeat as state medalists. Lockport sophomore Claudia Heeney finished second at 125 last year and will take a 17-1 record into the 130-pound weight class this year.

Three others – Lincoln-Way Central’s Gracie Guarino, Joliet Central’s Eliana Paramo and Morris’ Ella McDonnell – are trying to become three-time medalists. Guarino has been a two-time runner-up, Paramo finished fifth as a sophomore and second last season, and McDonnell has placed fourth the past two seasons.

Loaded weight classes

The 110-, 130-, 135-, and 235-pound classes have three area wrestlers competing in each. Sectional champ Paramo and McDonnell are joined by Lockport’s Morgan Turner, another sectional champion, at 110. Turner’s record entering the tourney is 7-0, the number of her matches being low because she spent most of the season wrestling for the Porters’ boys team.

At 130 will be sectional champions Heeney and Minooka’s Addison Calteaux as well as Seneca sophomore Sammie Griesen, who qualified for the second straight year.

At 135 will be sectional champion Katie Ramirez-Quintero of Bolingbrook, as well as Eva Beck of Minooka and Izabel Barrera of Joliet Central.

In the 235 bracket will be senior Peyton Kueltzo of Minooka, freshman Rebekah Ramirez of Lockport and freshman Henessis Villagrana of Romeoville.

Lincoln-Way Central’s Gracie Guarino leave the mat after her win in the Joliet Central McLaughlin Classic on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 in Joliet.

Sectional champs looking for more

There are seven sectional champions from the Herald-News area taking part in the state finals. They are hoping to continue their success on the state’s largest stage.

Sectional champs are Minooka’s Calteaux (130, 24-4 record), Peotone’s Farmer (170, 17-1), Lincoln-Way Central’s Guarino (115, 23-0), Lockport’s Heeney (130, 17-1) and Turner (110, 7-0), Joliet Central’s Paramo (110, 34-3) and Bolingbrook’s Ramirez-Quintero (135, 30-3).

Strength in numbers

Lockport leads the area with four state qualifiers. The Porters’ wrestlers will be Averi Colella (105), Heeney (130), Ramirez (235) and Turner (110). Minooka, meanwhile, is sending three wrestlers. Competing for the Indians will be Beck (135), Calteaux (130) and Kueltzo (235).

Sending two wrestlers are Joliet Catholic Academy (Cheya Bishop, 170, and Grace Laird, 120), Joliet Central (Barrera, 135, and Paramo, 110), and Morris (McDonnell, 110, and Congo, 190).

The lone wolves

Eight area teams will have a single wrestler competing at the state tournament. They are Plainfield South (Teagan Aurich, 155), Lincoln-Way West (Zoe Dempsey, 105), Peotone (Farmer, 170), Seneca (Griesen, 130), Lincoln-Way Central (Guarino, 115), Bolingbrook (Ramirez-Quintero, 135), Plainfield Central (Tucker, 170) and Romeoville (Villagrana, 235).