Five Highland Middle School wrestlers competed on the state level this month, with two eighth-graders placing third and fourth respectively in their weight classes.
Paddy Potts placed third in 100 lbs weight class in state while Jackson Damenti placed fourth in 126 lbs weight class. Other HMS wrestlers competing at Northern Illinois University on the state level included Tyler Padilla, Dylan Ledman, Jake DeBruler,
The state tournament was held in conjunction with the Illinois Elementary School Association.
“Paddy Potts broke a school record of “best place finisher” in the history of Highland wrestling when he placed third,” said coach and physical education teacher Rob Rajcevich. “Jackson Damenti also broke a record for 'most matches' – seven at a state tournament for Highland wrestling."
At the state meet, “Jackson fought hard and had unbelievably fast takedowns to make it to the medal round. Paddy sealed the deal for third with a pin in the second period. He dominated all but one opponent.”
Coaches this year were Rajcevich, teacher Shane Crown and business partner Adam Kimpler.
“We placed 19th out of 100 teams in state to make the 'Top 20,'” Rajcevich said. “The wrestlers were All-State wrestlers.”
“We have had a great year of wrestling,” he added. “As a team we placed third regionals, third in sectionals, and Top 20 at state. Our program has developed significantly the past few years. As a coaching staff, we have been able to take first time wrestlers and make them excel way beyond their own expectations. Our veterans have done a great job focusing on their dreams of making it to state and placing.”
Of the wrestlers who placed, Rajcevich said “They will forever have their names on a banner held in the wrestling room, which is a high honor for our sport. We have not had a state placer let alone two in six years.
“The year ahead looks great with three returning state qualifiers. I am very gracious to have coached this team this year and I am sure the other coaches feel the same.”
—Libertyville District 70 submitted this information.