AURORA • Test of the Best 2, Illinois’ newest fall tradition, opened and closed with a great deal of explosiveness and matchups that did not disappoint. From the undercard to the main event, the wrestlers came out with something more to prove than just their preseason rankings before the season begins next month.
Here is a breakdown of all the matches.
85 – Undercard
Al Woo • Eric Bush
In a matchup of futures to open the night, Al Woo took control of the match early, and put it away just as quickly.
Off the whistle, Woo took a quick takedown and a transitioned into a tough bar-half on top. And even though Bush found a way to work himself free and get to his feet, Woo would finish the match off with a double leg to Bush’s back and a first period fall.
105 – Undercard
Nathan Randle • Domenic Munaretto
In a first period that saw a great deal of hand fighting, there would be one big move, in the form of a headlock, from Munaretto for a 5-0 lead headed into the second period. Munaretto would start on top, but thirty seconds later, Randle would escape and, once on their feet, Munaretto would muscle through a throw-by for another two. Once on top, he quickly slipped in his boots and cranked over a half and scored some back points before the period would end.
In the third, Randle tried to keep the fight on his feet, but Munaretto was too much adding more points, getting back on top and using his legs, and winning by an 18-02 technical fall.
126 – Undercard Main Event
Jimmy Mastny • Daniel Heiser
Heiser opened the bout with a quick takedown right off the whistle, and he dug deep and went looking for back points to earn three more and extend his opening lead to a 5-0 score. He would apply pressure to Mastny on top with his cross-body ride; unfortunately, in the process, he would lock his hands in a scramble situation. Mastny would earn the penalty point and an escape point and head into the second chasing a 5-2 score.
In the second, Mastny would choose down, but Heiser would run some strong legs along with his cross-body ride. In a leg defense sequence, Mastny would capture a leg and look to find a scramble, but he would not find much success. Then, with nine seconds remaining in the second, Mastny finally found a way to his feet, but he was returned to the mat and the score would remain, 5-2.
With the choice now in Heiser’s hands, he would choose neutral. After forty-five seconds, Heiser would score again and release Mastny. But Mastny, stingy and coming hard and finding a score of his own, moved within two points and was now chasing a 7-4 score. He would release Heiser, but Heiser would find one more score, and the match would end in Heiser’s favor with a 10-5 decision.
152 – Main Card
#1, 2A • Brayden Peet • #1, 2A • Chris Moore
The winner of this bout had the opportunity later in the evening to compete against 3A’s number-one ranked Damari Reed.
And when this one opened, it opened with an immediate attack by Peet before going out of bounds, but no points would be awarded. Peet would, however, score about fifteen seconds later with a separate attack that took him to a 2-0 lead. An escape by Moore would end the period with Peet leading, 2-1.
After an intentional escape from the stating position in favor of Moore, the score would go 2-2 as the whistle started the second period. Again, Peet would find an attack on Moore’s right leg, but Moore turned that attack into his own, but he would only score a point on a fleeing call with about one minute left in the second. At the restart, Moore would work his two-on-one to slow Peet down, and the hand fight increased until a great scramble came from Moore’s shot and Peet’s defense—they would go out of bounds and the period would end with Moore leading 3-2.
Now that Peet had his choice, and he was chasing one point, he would choose down to start the third. He would struggle to find an escape and, when he did work to his feet, he would be returned to the mat and in bounds. When there were restart opportunities, and one took place with only 1:19 left, Peet tried to create a scramble to find an opening. He would, however, not find the openings he had hoped to discover. Instead, with thirty seconds left, a great flurry would ensue after a switch attempt, but no real change of position would take place. As the clock notched sixteen seconds left in the match, another standup to switch and a roll came together, but before it could amount to anything, time would run out on Peet. When it was over, Moore would ride out the period and take a hard earned 3-2 win.
With that win, Moore would wrestle Reed later in the night.
138 ? Main Card
#1, 2A • Sean Conway • #2, 1A • Maddux Blakely
Blakely went up fast in this one with a quick takedown and then some scoring in the top position with two two-point near falls. He would start the second period in the down position, but Conway would display his toughness on top until Blakely would find an escape and extend his lead. Blakely would, however, stay on the attack and head into the third period with a 7-0 lead.
In the third, Conway would choose down and escape forty seconds later. Unfortunately, on his next attack, Blakely would score another takedown before conceding an escape. The score now favored Blakely 9-2 with 00:55 left.
As for Conway, he went looking for his underhooks knowing he had several points to make up, but Blakely hand fought out of Conway’s positions and created his own attacks safely on the edge of the mat. Conway would try to sprint through that last twenty seconds of the bout, but it would not work in his favor. Blakely would just be too much in the end with too big a lead and a solid defense. The match would end with a 9-2 decision win for Blakely.
113 – Main Card
#1, 3A • Jameson Garcia • #2, 3A • Trevor Silzer
Jameson Garcia came out attacking in the opening seconds, but no points would be scored in those early moments. Almost immediately into the next sequence off a restart, Garcia would battle in on the hands and head of Silzer, but Silzer stood his ground and battled right back in. Then, with 00:38 left in the first period, there would be an injury timeout for Garcia, and he would exit the match.
Silzer would be awarded the win through a medical default.
195 – Main Card
#2, 2A • Nate Wenstrom • #1, 2A • Donnie Hidden
The battle of two big men saw Wenstrom come out looking for control, but with twenty-five seconds left in the first period, it was Hidden with a takedown on the edge of the mat and a 2-0 lead headed into the second.
In the second, it would take Wenstrom ten seconds to escape, and Hidden another fifteen seconds to get in on another attack. But it would be Wenstrom who would come close to the score before the two wretle their way out of bounds. Hidden, with strong hips and solid defense on the mat’s edge, fended off Wenstrom as he tried to come up and follow through on a double leg attack. On the restart, it was Hidden again with a high-level leg attack and dump for another score and, with 00:15 left, he would have a commanding 4-1 lead.
The second period would end with Wenstrom needing a blood timeout and, when the third began, it was Wenstrom on top as Hidden had chosen the down position. After a thirty-second ride, Wenstrom gave Hidden the escape as he needed to score; but, again, Hidden found Wenstrom’s left leg and ate up some clock as the two fought for position. With one minute left in the match, and Hidden up 5-1, he stayed on the attack and on Wenstrom’s left leg. He would score another two-point takedown with 00:27 left in the match before he would concede an escape and battle through Wenstrom’s final scoring attempts. Hidden with close out the bout with a 7-2 win.
132 – Main Card
#1, 3A • Jacob Macatangay • #1, 2A • Nik Jimenez
As the referee started the match, Macatangay shot off that very same whistle and took Jimenez to the mat’s edge and almost to his back. Macatangay would look for his cross-face cradle, but he would not be able to lock it up. After an escape, Jimenez tried to tie up Macatangay on their feet, but Macatangay’s underhook and movement created a flurry that almost cost him—it ended in Jimenez putting Macatangay to his back. But, in that sequence, Macatangay would find a way out, and looked to be coming to his feet. However, as Jimenez almost regained full control, Macatangay found himself on top and, suddenly, Jimenez found himself fighting off his back. An exciting first period would end 7-1 in favor of Macatangay.
In the second period, Macatangay would choose down, escape, take an 8-1 lead, but Jimenez was relentless and would remain aggressive and get to his opponent’s legs. However, Macatangay’s defense was too much. Off another restart it would be Macatangay in on a sweep single to Jimenez’s left, and a scramble would have Jimenez in on a double leg and earn a takedown as the period expired.
Jimenez would choose down in the third period as he was chasing an 8-3 score. After a score twenty seconds into the period, and the lead now cut in half, 8-4, Jimenez stayed aggressive. In that fight, Macatangay remained strong with his head and hand defense and sprawls. Attempt after attempt saw similar results as Macatangay would tie Jimenez up and slow the pace and the scoring opportunity down. With five seconds left, Jimenez tried a cement mixer, had Macatangay looking to be going over, but no score would take place. An 8-4 victory for Macatangay would close out the match.
182 – Main Card
#1, 3A • Bradley Gillum • #2, 3A • Dominic Thebeau
Just nine seconds into the match, Gillum would score a takedown, Thebeau would escape, and another hard hand fight would take place. Out of that next battle, Gillum would score a second takedown and end the first period with a 4-2 lead after conceding a second escape point.
Thebeau would choose down in the second and Gillum would ride tough until Thebeau would score a hard-earned escape point and put the match within one point. Once he was back on his feet, Thebeau would work into and find his underhook, but Gillum would find his way out of the tie and find himself in on a shot and posting up underneath Thebeau. As the two began a scramble with about thirty seconds left in the period, Gillum would find his opening and score with seconds left and take a 6-3 lead headed into the final period.
When Gillum went down to open the third, Thebeau would stop his first move and go directly into digging in his legs on top. After a restart, Thebeau would see an opening for a nearside cradle, but Gillum would fight it off. And, once the cradle was stopped, Thebeau went right back to throwing in his boots and cranking hard on Gillum’s right side with his pry-half. Gillum would withstand the pressure, but Thebeau also stayed the course and kept cranking on Gillum’s leg and head. When the leg came out with thirty-second left, Thebeau waited and threw them it one last time in a last-ditch effort to score a near fall with fifteen seconds left. However, a 6-3 score would end the match as Gillum would see his hand raised in the end.
160 – Main Card
#1, 2A • Braden Stauffenburg • #3, 3A Justin Warmowski
Two guys came out battling for position for the first minute of the bout, and it ended up being Stauffenburg who earn the first opening. He would get in on Warmowski’s legs, but, in a quick turn of events, Warmowski would hit the corner and turn Stauffenberg’s leg attack into a nearside cradle of his own. Warmowski would score the takedown with forty-five seconds left in the period and, with twenty seconds left, Stauffenberg would escape a cut the lead in half. The period would end in a hard hand fighting both wrestlers battling to assert themselves.
Stauffenberg would choose down to open the second period, and he would tie up the match twenty seconds later with his second escape. From there, Warmowski would look to be frustrating the Cadet World Team member with a shot of his own on Stauffenberg’s left leg, but Stauffenberg would turn that offense into two points of his own and a 4-2 lead with one minute left in the second. The period would end with a tough ride by Stauffenberg and a 4-2 lead heading into a third.
Off the start, Stauffenberg stayed strong on top with his ride, but twenty-five seconds in, Warmowski would bring the match to one point lead with an escape of his own. Once on their feet, Stauffenberg would get to his front head and score with a cross knee pick. Warmowski would come out of it without giving up back points, but Stauffenberg would score another two points and use his head and hands and his experience to fight through the final thirty seconds. Warmowski would attempt a throw on the mat’s edge, but Stauffenberg would score another two out of it, conceded the escape, and look for another take down as time expired. Stauffenberg would win with a decisive 10-6 decision.
106 – Main Card
#2, 3A • Seth Mendoza • #1, 3A • Max Seigel
In a much-anticipated match between the freshman and the sophomore, the bout would start out with Mendoza and Seigel equally coming out fast and furious and hungry for the first takedown. Where Mendoza wanted his carry, Seigel wanted his underhooks. Coming out of a match stoppage, Mendoza would score off his first successful carry and take three back points away with it as well and go up 5-0 with 1:15 left. After an escape and restart, it would be Mendoza firing in again and fighting for more points on the mat’s edge. He would not be able to score, but he would find four more points in a separate sequence where he successfully hit a second carry—he would ride out the period on top.
In the second period, and now chasing a 9-1 score, Siegal would defer, and Mendoza would choose the down position. Mendoza would get to his feet and stay on the attack with a 10-1 lead. As both wrestlers remained active and looking to score, it would again be Mendoza with a takedown with one minute left. On top, Mendoza was fighting for a bar, and a restart with forty-one seconds left would see Mendoza secure a wrist and show his strength and power in the top position. Seigel would try to roll out in the final seconds of the period, but Mendoza would remain in control.
The score was 12-1 in favor of Mendoza, and Seigel would choose neutral in an attempt to utilize the time on clock and try to get to his underhooks. Once he found a way in, and he lifted, Mendoza would battle out and drop down again and score. After another escape, Mendoza would have a 14-1 lead and, off the whistle, Mendoza would score a final takedown, two more near fall points, and close out the bout with an 18-2 technical fall.
145 – Main Card
#1, 3A • Noah Tapia • #2, 2A • Ben Shvartsman
Two seconds into the match found Tapia in a front headlock looking to score, but it would take him another twenty-five seconds and a separate attack before he would score his first points of the match. Shvartsman, seemingly calm, would work to an escape and try to use his upper body experience to tie up and throw Tapia—to no avail. Tapia would soon find his opponent’s legs and score another takedown and take a secure lead, but, with ten seconds left, Shvartsman would come to his feet and try to hip in and throw out of his over-hook tie; unfortunately, he would not score outside of an escape.
In the second period, Shvartsman would choose down and score an escape six seconds later. Once on their feet, Tapia stayed committed to his leg attacks, but Shvartsman stayed committed to his defense and his upper-body ties as he was forcing Tapia up—looking to bring his smaller opponent into a more vulnerable position. With 1:09 left in the period, Shvartsman would find his over hook, hip in, and pop a big throw that brought the crowd to a gasp and cheer before he would score the fall and a win with forty-eight seconds left in the second period.
152 ? Main Card
#1, 3A • Damari Reed • #1, 2A • Chris Moore
Moore came in having already wrestled one match earlier in the night. And Reed, using his quickness, avoided an opening shot and turned it into an offensive attack of his own. Through a great flurry that really showed the awareness of the two wrestlers, a twenty second scramble ensured, but no points would be scored.
Off the restart, the action and the wrestlers did not slow. Moore would attack with a double, Reed would defend, and then Reed would score with a single leg being finished with an aggressive head slap and trip from the feet to take a 2-0 lead. Out of the restart, each wrestler showed his athleticism and flexibility, but there would be no change.
In the second period, Reed would elect the bottom position and score a reversal—he would now take a 4-2 lead. After an escape, Reed scored on another single leg at the one-minute mark of the period. After another escape, and a 6-2 match, Moore started to pick up his pace even more. Reed, looking a bit slower, would escape the period with his four-point lead, but momentum appeared to be shifting into Moore’s favor.
The third period would see both wrestlers start on their feet. Reed would tie up and slow Moore down and, as Moore attempted a shot, Reed would pancake him directly to his back, score two near fall points, and have an 11-4 lead after a Moore escape. Reed, feeling rejuvenated and finding his second wind, would now pick up his pace and after an illegal point went his way; he would score one more takedown as the match ended in a 14-4 major decision.
126 – Main Card
#1, 2A • Joe Fernau • #3, 3A • Sammie Hayes
The first real action of this bout saw Fernau get to Hayes’ legs about forty-five seconds in, but Hayes would take the ankle, battle to a scramble, and the two would end up off the mat with no points being scored and the first period ending in a 0-0 score.
Fernau would choose down in the second period and Hayes would run the legs from the top position. Unfortunately, Hayes, in an attempt to force his position, became too high on his ride and Fernau would come out back and score a two-point reversal that would see him ride out Hayes for the remainder of the period.
Fernau would have a 2-0 lead at the start of a third period that saw Hayes elect the bottom position. On top, Fernau would return the favor to Hayes with a leg ride of his own. With 1:07 left, a restart would be granted, and Hayes would find a way to his feet. Fernau, however, would power him back the mat and throw his right boot in and capture Hayes’ left arm and work it over until the period would end. A 2-0 win would follow for Fernau.
170 – Co-Main Event
#1, 3A • Brayden Thompson • #1, 2A • Abe Wojcikiewicz
Thompson would open the match and score a quick two-point takedown. And, after conceding an escape, he would score two more takedowns off Wojcikiewicz’s overly aggressiveness shots. A final takedown with twelve seconds left in the period gave Thompson an 8-3 lead heading into the second.
Thompson would choose down and score a reversal ten seconds later. He would let Wojcikiewicz up and come in on another shot and finish. He was now up 12-4, and heading to the middle of the mat, Thompson elected to go neutral before another takedown, escape, and takedown would occur. With thirty-five seconds left in the second, and a 16-6 lead, Thompson, again, motioned for a neutral start and he would score a final take down in the period and take an 18-7 led into the third.
Wojcikiewicz, who needed to change the momentum of the match, would choose the top position and, twenty seconds later, Thompson would add an escape, and grow his lead to a commanding 19-7 score. He would score another takedown at 1:15, give up the escape, score another takedown at 00:58, and that would end the match for Thompson as he dominated and won by a 23-8 technical fall.
120 – Main Event
#1, 3A • Ben Davino • #1, 2A • Markel Baker
The night’s main event lived up to the anticipation.
Davino would come out hitting his carry at the one-minute mark in the first period; however, it would evolve into a great scramble that would see twenty seconds of a fight for position before Davino would secure a two-point takedown. Once he was on top, he would control the rest of the period on his right-handed tight-waist and his mat awareness.
In the second period, Davino deferred, and Baker chose the down position. Ten seconds later, Baker would escape and cut Davino’s lead in half. With a great deal of motion by each wrestler, their attacks and defense and ability to react was reflected in their quickness and natural ability to respond. A restart would take place with fifty-eight seconds left, and a very aggressive hand fight would end with Davino scoring another two points. Baker would respond with an escape and a 4-2 score that ended the period, as did a flurry of shots and re-shots.
Davino would elect to go down in the third period and, twenty-three seconds later, he would earn another point and take a three-point lead. With a 5-2 score, the pressure was now on Baker, but Davino kept moving and working to his own offense as if he was behind. Baker, trying to find a way past Davino’s head and hands, struggled to create openings and opportunities as Davino was still eyeing to score off his carry. With five seconds left in the main event, Baker would score a takedown, but Davino, within a split-second of the awarded points, would earn a reversal and time would expire with Davino on top and in control. He would walk away with a 7-4 victory.
85 • A. Woo defeats E. Bush / Fall
105 • D. Munarette defeats N. Randle / 18-2 TF
126 • D. Heiser defeats J. Mastny / 10-5 Dec
152 • C. Moore defeats B. Peet / 3-2 Dec
138 • M. Blakeley defeats S. Conway / 9-2 Dec
113 • T. Silzer defeats J. Garcia / Med Default
195 • D. Hudden defeats N. Wemstrom / 7-2 Dec
132 • J. Macatangay defeats N. Jimenez / 8-4 Dec
182 • B. Gillum defeats D. Thebeau / 6-3 Dec
160 • B. Stauffenberg defeats J. Warmowski/ 10-6 Dec
106 • S. Mendoza defeats M. Seigel / 18-2 TF
145 • B. Shvartsman defeats N. Tapia / Fall
152 • D. Reed defeats C. Moore / 14-4 MD
126 • J. Fernau defeats S. Hayes / 2-0 Dec
170 • B. Thompson defeats A. Wojcikiewicz
120 • B. Davino defeats M. Baker / 7-4 Dec
• TC LIFONTI / tclifonti.com
LEAD WRITER FOR ILLINOIS MATMEN