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Three peats in the Seth Mendoza province of Mount Carmel


CHAMPAIGN — Mount Carmel teenager after winning third straight state title Seth Mendoza Saturday night took time to enjoy the moment.

But Mendoza’s quest to go 4-for-4 wasn’t far from his mind.

“Three is a bit of a weird feeling, I don’t want to say weird, but it’s an interesting feeling,” Mendoza said. “When you get the first one, you don’t actually look at the fourth one. Just one at a time.

“That’s what I think right now. I got the third one and it’s great. It feels great right now, but you can’t dwell on it. You must return to work immediately.”

Mendoza completed his workouts at State Farm Center and defeated Marist’s Michael Esteban by a 13-5 major decision in the 126-pound championship match of the Class 3A individual state meet.

Joliet Catholic heavyweight Dillan Johnson Four-time state champion while teammate of Mendoza Colin Kelly (175) Won his second championship in Karavan. of Marist Will Denny (150) also won the championship in Class 3A, while St. Rita also became a champion. Sean Larkin (144) Won the Class 2A state title.

Johnson and St. of Charles East Okay DavinoHe provided some inspiration for four-time state champion Mendoza (42-2) by winning at 132 on Saturday.

“There are a lot of great players who are four-time running backs,” Mendoza said. “I remember seeing (St. Rita’s) Austin O’Connor I won my fourth here when I was young. The wrestlers at my school, the Williams brothers, two quads (Joe and T.J.) and a two-stroke (Steve).

“We have the Champions Ring in one of our gyms and it has the names of all the state champions on it, so that’s something to look forward to. “Seeing not only my teammates, but everyone in the past win championships, makes me want to do it even more.”

Mount Carmel’s Seth Mendoza (right) battles Marist’s Michael Esteban at 126 pounds in the championship match of the Class 3A state meet on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at the State Farm Center in Champaign. (Vincent D. Johnson/Daily Southtown)

Johnson (39-1) was often dominant for the four-time champion.

The Wisconsin football and wrestling recruit pinned all four of his opponents at state in the first period and defeated Hinsdale Central’s Marko Ivanisevic in the final seconds of the championship match.

Johnson showed rare emotion when he jumped into the arms of his Joliet Catholic coach after his final victory. Ryan Cumbee.

“This is the last one,” Johnson said. “Why don’t you celebrate the last one, you know? “This is the last time I’ll be here, so you should enjoy it.”

In other championship matches, Kelly (43-1) beat Marist Ricky Ericksen By 16-1 technical fall, Denny (42-4) edged Rhenzo Augusto of Barrington by a 15-7 major decision and Larkin (22-2) edged Peyton Cox of downtown Washington by 9 points. He played a thriller match with a score of -7.

Esteban, Ericksen, Joliet Catholic jason hampton (120) of Lockport Justin Wardlow (138) and Mount Carmel Eddie Enright (157) came second.

Mount Carmel's Colin Kelly after defeating Marist's Ricky Ericksen in the 175-pound match at the Class 3A state wrestling championships on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at the University of Illinois State Farm Center in Champaign.  (Vincent D. Johnson / Daily Southtown) .
Mount Carmel’s Colin Kelly reacts after defeating Marist’s Ricky Ericksen at 175 pounds in the championship match of the Class 3A state meet on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at the State Farm Center in Champaign. (Vincent D. Johnson/Daily Southtown)

Meanwhile, Kelly is back on top of the podium. After winning the state championship as a sophomore, he finished second last season.

Kelly, who also works in Wisconsin, said his car accident earlier this winter fortunately resulted in no injuries and gave him a new perspective.

“It kind of opened my eyes to not worrying about the little things and just enjoying every moment, enjoying every day,” Kelly said. “Every day is truly a blessing. You never know.

“You couldn’t wake up the next day. This seems hard to say, but it’s the truth. I’m just trying to enjoy every day.

Kelly, who said that a car rolled over and hit the car he was driving on a snowy night this winter, felt that he put less pressure on himself in the state this time.

“Last year, he was so caught up in the moment, acting like the state finals were the end of the world,” he said. “It’s like if I didn’t win, I wouldn’t wake up the next day.

“He realizes it’s a big tournament but it’s also a small thing. Just enjoy it and let it fly.


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