Nazareth Academy freshman Gabe Kaminski, of Riverside, made a series of impressive comebacks at the IHSA Class 1A individual state wrestling meet.
The final one almost resulted in a state championship.
Kaminski was second in the 220-pound final after losing to Immaculate Conception senior Jadon Mims for the third time this season – 5-4 following Mims’ two-point reversal that began in approximately the final 15 seconds.
“You feel it, a point short of a state title, but I’m pretty proud of myself,” Kaminski said. “It’s amazing. [Second in state] exceeded my expectations. Obviously the goal is to win, but coming off football season, having a shorter wrestling season, not having a lot of offseason, I think I did pretty well.”
The Roadrunners’ sixth top-six all-state finisher, Kaminski (33-5) achieved the program’s second-highest state finish to Malcolm Watson’s 2A title at 220 in 2012.
Kaminski pulled ahead 3-2 with his third-period takedown, but he couldn’t ride out Mims (25-3).
“Real close,” Nazareth coach Denis Laughlin said. “Kind of a bittersweet weekend. He came from being behind in those last three matches.”
Kaminski’s only other losses this season were to the IHSA Class 2A state champion at 220 pounds, Bloomington senior Jake Weltha (35-3), and the Class 3A 220 state runner-up, Marist senior Ghee Rachal (32-3).
Weighing in at around 206 pounds most of the season and 210 for the final, Kaminski knows there’s room to grow.
“Once I get to a full 220, I think I have a really good chance at getting that state title,” Kaminski said. “I did a lot of preparation, a lot of conditioning, extra work. I felt like it paid off.”
Kaminski rallied in his semifinal 4-3 with a third-period takedown and quarterfinal 7-4 after trailing 4-1.
In the IHSA Class 2A championships, Riverside-Brookfield High School senior Mateo Costello came one victory from all-state honors at 125 pounds.
Costello (36-7) lost the match to reach the final six 12-2 after going 2-2 with 5-0 and 14-2 victories.
The Bulldogs brought a single-season record six wrestlers to state. Seniors Brock Hoyd (33-8 at 170), Liam Cote (23-9 at 182) and Thurman Givens (16-13 at 195), junior Joe Midona (20-17 at 220) and freshman Edgar Mosquera (10-9 at 113) were 0-2.
In Class 3A, Lyons Township sophomore Gunnar Garelli (34-12) was 1-2 with a 6-2 victory in his second bout. Senior Cooper Schodrof (25-7 at 170) was 0-2 with a 3-2 opening loss to Libertyville’s Austin Gomez, who finished third.
This story has been changed to correct the number of all-state wrestlers Nazareth Academy has produced.