Gunnar Garelli

Lyons Township High School junior Gunnar Garelli wrestled well enough to reach the 2022 individual state meet. He’s quickly ascending to another level this season. 

Garelli captured the 152-pound title by avenging an early-season loss at the Sycamore Invitational on Jan. 7.

The Lions (393.5 points) finished second to Rock Island (418) and just ahead of West Suburban Conference rival York (390.5) in the 24-team field.

Garelli (21-8) used a third-period takedown to earn a 3-1 title victory over Belvidere junior Colin Young (30-4), who had beaten Garelli at the Barrington Invite in November. In the pool-format prelims, Garelli also recorded three pins in a combined 6:08.

“Gunnar wrestled the best I’ve seen him wrestle all season,” LTHS coach Griff Powell said. “It was a great [championship] win. The kid he beat is very good. He’s wrestling really solid right now.” 

Freshman Griff Powell (24-5 at 106) was second and senior Cooper King (26-2 at 195) was third. Sophomore Claudio Rodriguez (18-9 at 132) and senior Calum Rogers (17-10 at 145) were sixth, senior Eric Marquez (14-9 at 170) and sophomore Roger Martinez (12-11 at 113) were ninth and sophomore Jack Kutchek (12-11 at 120) was 10th.

In his final, Powell was pinned by Belvidere sophomore Brayden Teunissen (28-2). 

In the 195 semifinals, King lost for the first time since the Barrington Invite, 5-2 to Rock Island senior Andrew Marquez (21-4). King won the third-place match 7-2.

Rogers and 11th-place junior Sam Costello (21-10 at 220) also recorded three pins on the day.

The Lions were even more successful at the Wheaton Warrenville South Invitational on Dec. 29.

Powell, King and Costello were champions and LTHS (210.5 points) finished second to Lincoln-Way East (288.5) out of 16 teams. Garelli and Rogers was second.

In their title bouts, King won an 8-6 overtime decision over Lincoln-Way East sophomore Caden O’Rourke (11-3), Costello edged Lincoln-Way East’s David Wuske 5-4 for his first major invite championship and Powell won 14-10 over WW South junior Aarav Ladvora (17-3). Garelli lost 7-3 and Rogers was pinned.

Rodriguez was fourth, seniors Mark Calzada (12-9 at 170) and Julian Cervantes (6-3 at 182) and Kutchek were fifth, senior Logan Hiatt (6-6 at 285), junior George Govea (6-7 at 126) and Martinez were sixth and senior Roland Connelly (7-17 at 138) was eighth.

“We won a ton of matches, a lot of close matches,” coach Powell said. “When you place 13 of 14 starters in the top eight of a 16-team tournament, you’re winning a lot of matches.”