Girls wrestling: Lockport’s Heeney, Turner, Peotone’s Farmer IHSA win state titles

Lockport finishes second as a team

Lockport’s Morgan Turner pins Joliet Catholic’s Eliana Paramo in the 110-pound bout at the girls wrestling state finals at Grossinger Motor Arena in Bloomington on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.

BLOOMINGTON – Claudia Heeney broke her thumb and missed five weeks of the wrestling season earlier this year.

On Saturday, the Lockport sophomore still had her thumb wrapped, and she wrapped up the 130-pound state championship with a 4-2 win over Collinsville’s Taylor Dawson at Grossinger Motors Arena. Dawson entered the match with a 47-0 record.

After a scoreless first period, Heeney started the second period in the down position. She hit a reversal early in the second to take a 2-0 lead, only to see Dawson return the favor with a reversal of her own, and the third period started in a 2-2 tie.

Once again, Heeney started in the down position and once again, she was able to hit a reversal. This time, she was able to keep Dawson down and held on for the championship. Before she got the reversal, though, Heeney’s body folded in the middle, causing an injury stoppage. Heeney flexed her hip a few times and got back in the match.

“I have never been good on the bottom,” Heeney said. “But I have been working with my coaches and working on my cradle defense.

“There was such relief and happiness and excitement after the match. I still can’t believe it. I tried not to take my loss [in the finals] last year too hard. I don’t think I realized how big it was until now. I was telling myself I was going to be the state champ, but I still can’t believe it.”

Thanks in part to Heeney’s title, along with one from teammate Morgan Turner at 110, Lockport finished second as a team with 58 points behind Lakes, which scored 61.

Turner defeated Joliet Central’s Eliana Paramo for the title, earning a pin at 2:39 after building up a 13-3 lead.

Turner (11-0) spent much of her season wrestling with the Lockport boys team until she broke her shoulder and tore her labrum, an injury that she said still affected her at the tournament.

“The state championship feels good,” Turner said. “It’s what I came down here to do. My shoulder is still sore, but I am grateful the doctor cleared me to wrestle against girls. Wrestling against boys helped me in this tournament. The boys are stronger.”

Lockport’s Claudia Heeney gets bent backward by Collinsville’s Taylor Dawson in the 130-pound bout at the girls wrestling state finals at Grossinger Motor Arena in Bloomington on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. Heeney won 4-2.

Turner finished third at 106 pounds in Class 2A last season while wrestling for Bremen, becoming the first girl to win a state medal at the boys meet.

Peotone’s Kiernan Farmer won the championship at 170 pounds, beating defending 155-pound champion Alicia Tucker of Plainfield Central by a 9-6 decision. Farmer also wrestled at 155 last year and lost to Tucker in the semifinals. This year, Tucker had two losses on the year, both inflicted by Farmer, one in the sectional championship and one in the state championship.

Tucker opened the title match with a takedown, but Farmer countered with a reversal, then scored two near-fall points to take a 4-2 lead. Tucker escaped before the end of the first period to make it 4-3 entering the second. Tucker started the second in the down position and escaped to tie it at 4, then took Farmer down to take a 6-4 lead. Farmer then secured another reversal to tie it at 6 entering the third period.

In the third, Farmer started in the down position and got an escape for a 7-6 lead before icing the win with a takedown.

“There were a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of travel in the last year,” Farmer said. “I improved a lot this year. I am trying to go to college to wrestle. A Division I school is the dream, but I don’t know yet.

“It’s awesome to pretty much start the girls wrestling program at our school and to see how much the sport is growing.”

In third-place matches, two-time state runner-up at 120 Gracie Guarino of Lincoln-Way Central pinned Mt. Zion’s Sydney Cannon in 51 seconds to take third at 115.

“It feels good to end my high school career with a win,” Guarino said. “I knew it would be a hard match in the semis [against eventual champ Gabby Gomez of Glenbard North], and that one of us would finish first and the other one third.

“I love all the friends I have made through wrestling, and I look forward to making more once I get to college.”

coach as she wrestles Peotone’s Kiernan Farmer in the 170-pound class at the girls wrestling state finals at Grossinger Motor Arena in Bloomington on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.

Minooka’s Addison Calteaux took fourth place at 130, losing a 12-0 decision to Huntley’s Aubrie Rohrbacher, while Bolingbrook’s Katie Ramirez-Quintero took third at 135 after an 8-1 decision over Chatham-Glenwood’s Jenna Tuxhorn.

“When the season started, I just wanted to fall back in love with the sport again,” Ramirez-Quintero said. “I finished sixth my sophomore year, but I didn’t place last year. This is my last year, and I won my last match, so I am happy.

“I am not surprised with the growth in numbers of the sport, but the competition has changed a lot in the last couple of years. You really have to be a good wrestler to advance now. I hope we are on the path of becoming one of the best states in the country for girls wrestling.”

In fifth-place matches, Lincoln-Way West’s Zoe Dempsey trailed most of the match at 105 to DeKalb’s Alex Gregorio-Perez, but was able to secure a takedown and three near-fall points in the final 46 seconds of the third period to come away with an 8-6 victory.

Seneca’s Sammie Griesen placed sixth at 130. Griesen lost the fifth place match by fall to Camp Point Central’s Amber Lowderback. Griesen, a sophomore, became the first girl in Seneca history to win a state wrestling medal.

“It was a fun season,” Griesen said. “I feel good about being the first girl from Seneca to win a medal. I hope it gets more girls interested in coming out for wrestling and we can have a full girls team by the time I graduate.

“It’s fun to wrestle here with the big crowd, but the competition is a lot harder than it was last year with so many more girls wrestling and them having more experience. I hope to get back here a couple more times and get a better medal.”