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Lockport’s Claudia Heeney stands out in the state rankings


BLOOMINGTON – Lockport sophomore Claudia Heeney It rolls with the punches, never getting too high or too low. After losing the state championship game last season, he quickly got over it.

But when Heeney won the 130-pound state championship match on Saturday, he was overcome by a wave of emotion that made him realize what a momentous moment this truly was.

“I didn’t realize how much this meant to me until now,” Heeney said. “As I was warming up, I was saying to myself, ‘I’m going to be a state champion.’ ‘I know I can do it.’ And I mean, I did that.

Heeney and his sophomore classmate Morgan Turner Both won state championships, leading Lockport to second place as a team in girls state wrestling at Grossinger Motors Arena.

In the third iteration of the Illinois High School Association girls wrestling state finals, team trophies were awarded based on scores in the individual tournament for the first time.

Porters took the second place trophy with 58 points, finishing just behind Lakes with 61 points.

“This is very exciting,” Heeney said. “We have a hard-working room. Everyone pushes each other to be better. “This cup means a lot.”

In the final, Heeney (21-1) faced top seed Taylor Dawson of Collinsville, who entered the match with a 47-0 record.

Heeney prevailed 4-2 and scored all of his points on a pair of comebacks, the winner coming with just 1:10 left in the third and final period.

As the clock hit zero, Heeney screamed and cried as his coaches jumped around with joy.

“It was a moment of relief, a moment of happiness and excitement,” Heeney said. “I couldn’t believe it. I still can not believe it. There are so many emotions.”

Lockport’s Morgan Turner (left) takes on Joliet Township’s Eliana Paramo in the championship match at 130 pounds during the girls state wrestling meet on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington. (Vincent D. Johnson/Daily Southtown)

As a freshman, Heeney was 42-0 before losing to Freeport’s Cadence Diduch in the 125-pound title match.

lockport coach Nate Roth It was exciting to see Heeney come out on top this time.

“It’s not very emotional,” Roth said. “It’s in a very sensitive area. He won and said, ‘Okay, great, I won.’ I usually win. This is good.’ It was wonderful to see him so happy.

“All of us coaches were very happy. I have no words. It was extraordinary. “I am very proud of him.”

During Last season in BremenTurner (11-0) made history as the first girl to win a medal by finishing third at 106th in the Class 2A boys tournament.

Turner was wrestling for the Lockport boys team this season before injuring his shoulder in December and was sidelined for nearly six weeks.

She cleared just in time to return to the girls’ postseason and dominated at 110 to win the title.

She won all four of her matches at the state level, by fall or technical fall, and capped it off with a pin over Joliet Township’s Eliana Paramo in the championship match.

Turner, who expressed his desire to wrestle in the men’s state series again next season, was a little overwhelmed.

“It feels good,” he said. “Nothing special.”

Lincoln-Way Central's Gracie Guarino beats Mt.  After defeating Zion's Sydney Cannon in the third place match.  (Vincent D. Johnson / Daily) Southern town)
Lincoln-Way Central’s Gracie Guarino reacts by defeating Mount Zion’s Sydney Cannon in the third-place match at 115 pounds during the girls state wrestling meet on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington. (Vincent D. Johnson / Daily Southtown) )

Lincoln-Way Central senior Gracie Guarino Finished third at 115, Andrew co-op junior Emma Akpan Finished fourth at 190 and became a Lincoln-Way West sophomore Zoe Dempsey He finished fifth at 105.

It was the third state medal for Guarino, who finished second the last two seasons.

This time in a loaded bracket, she faced three-time state champion Gabby Gomez of Glenbard North in the semifinals, losing 6-1 and then fighting back for third place with a pin over Mount Zion’s Sydney Cannon in the first period.

“I’m happy to end my career with a win,” Guarino said. “I love all the friends I’ve made, all the girls here. I will also miss my men’s team. This is my last time on the men’s team.

“It’s time to move on to college, join a women’s team, and get a new perspective on women’s wrestling.”


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