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JCA's Hamiti takes 3rd title in 3 years

Lockport's Thompson wins at 113-pounds

Joliet Catholic junior Dean Hamiti Jr. realized a special moment required a special celebration on Saturday night.

Hamiti Jr., had experience on his side with celebrations after winning two state championships in his first two seasons donning a JCA uniform.

So when Hamiti defeated Lemont's Grant LaDuke 3-2 in the Class 2A 152-pound final for his third consecutive state title at the State Farm Center, he promptly did a double bow salute to the crowd.

"I just tried to look as good as I can," Hamiti said of his post-match bow. "The kids on my team said I should bow, so I said I would bow for them...This (celebration) was better than last year, which was so-so."

Hamiti (45-0) said his third championship was different than his past two because he finished with an undefeated record. He's aiming to join the elite four-peat club next season, as only 14 wrestlers in state history have earned that special honor.

"It's great to be with those guys doing big things and just have to keep the pace going and work hard in practice," Hamiti said. "The undefeated record was pretty cool for me. Getting an undefeated record season was one of my main goals in high school. That was fun for me."

Besides winning state titles at 106 and 126 pounds in his last two trips, Hamiti said he's not ready to slow down. He would like to improve on his close victory in the state final.

"I didn't like how I won that one, but I'll just focus more on next year to win by a better point deficit," he said. "It still means a lot to me to bring it back to my school."

Joliet Catholic freshman Gylon Sims made his first trek to the state series a memorable journey by winning his first three matches. Sims (41-7) dropped a 12-2 major-decision to Washington's Kannon Webster in the 106 final.

"This feels pretty good because my goals was to go far and I knew I would have to wrestle Kannon, and I feel I gave him a pretty good match," Sims said. "I learned that I don't crack under pressure and do pretty good in clutch situations. That helped me get this far. I feel pretty good about how I did."

At 160, Terrance Snapp (38-13) notched Joliet Catholic's third individual state medal by defeating Washington's Jacob Sollberger in the fifth-place match. Teammate Mason Alessio won two of his four state matches at 120 pounds to narrowly miss the medal cut.

Lockport has a strong showing with three individuals earning 3A medals, led by Mike Kaminski collecting a second-place medal at 126 pounds. Montini senior Dylan Ragusin, a four-time state qualifier and Michigan recruit, notched a technical fall victory over Kaminski (44-5) in the 126 final.

"It was my last individual match, so I just tried to go out there and gave it my all in that match," Kaminski said. "I had a good time. This was a dream come true. I have bigger and better goals. (Dylan) beat me pretty bad in that final match. Now my goal is to beat him and be better than him. Last year was different because I had to jump weight and I didn't place. Coming in here and make the finals was pretty special. I couldn't asked for much more."

Due to an injury on Mat 2 that spilled over to Mat 3, Ragusin and Kaminski had to endure a lengthy delay until being moved over to Mat 1.

"That (delay) was an experience, made it different than other matches," he said.

Lockport's Kaleb Thompson (24-2) ended his sixth match at state with a 5-1 decision over Plainfield North's Jacob Macatangay in the 113-pound fifth-place match. His teammate, Andrew Blackburn-Forst, also snared a fifth-place medal at 195 pounds.

In Class 3A, Minooka's Drew Gutknecht (36-8) led his team with a sixth-place medal at 220 pounds, losing to Buffalo Grove's Gio Jackson in the fifth-place match on Saturday afternoon. Joliet Central's Jayden Perez (41-6) dropped a 7-0 decision to Lake Zurich's Joey Mrazek in the third round of the consolation bracket at 182 pounds.


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