This year’s Pete Willson Wheaton Invitational was pretty successful for the Wheaton Thunder. One of the biggest tournaments in the NCAA, Wheaton hosted 35 teams from all around the country.
Messiah College won the invitational after they had three individual champions and two second-place finishers. Wheaton had success on the mats, but Wheaton junior Jonovan Huggins was awarded the Pete George Sportsmanship Award for his excellence in and out of competition.
Of the 35 teams, the Thunder placed seventh overall with four individuals who placed in the top-ten in their respective weight classes.
Senior Carlos Fuentez won the 125-pound weight class. In the first round of the tournament, Fuentez won a 22-8 major decision before his 17-1 victory by technical fall in the following round. After a 9-3 decision and a victory by medical forfeit, Fuentez advanced to the championship round. Fuentez won the championship round by a 12-3 major decision and became Wheaton’s first individual Pete Willson Wheaton Invitational champion since 2003.
For his victorious performance in the Pete Willson Wheaton Invitational, Fuentez was honored with his third CCIW Wrestler of the Week award.
Sophomore Isaac Odell continued his strong consistency by opening up his tournament competition with a 16-0 victory by a technical fall and then would go on to finish fourth overall at 184-pounds by winning a 6-5 decision, losing a 8-2 decision, winning a 6-1 decision and loses the third-place match.
Senior Frank Aiello also continued to display proficient wrestling skills by winning a 21-7 major decision, winning a 9-4 decision, losing a 6-2 decision, and losing two matches via medical forfeit. Aiello finished seventh overall at 165-pounds.
Junior Max Gierke lost a 5-1 decision but went on to win a 5-2 decision, win by a pin at 4:26 into a match, win by a pin at 1:17 into a match, winning by medical forfeit, and then losing an 11-3 major decision. However, Gierke won his final match by an 18-2 technical fall to finish sixth overall at 285-pounds.
Wheaton’s Isaac Odell (PICTURED) placed fourth at 184-pounds. Odell, the No. 4 seed in the weight class, opened the tournament with a 16-0 technical fall in 3:29 against Muskingum’s Anthony Cole. Odell advanced to the quarterfinals with a 5-0 decision over John Carroll’s Jimmy Suhayda. Odell earned a 6-5 decision over fifth-seeded Dan Squires of UW-Stevens Point in the quarterfinals. Odell lost an 8-2 decision against UW-Platteville’s Grant Wedepohl, the top-seed at 184-pounds, Saturday morning in the semifinals. Odell won a 6-1 decision against Elmhurst’s Mark Miller in the consolation semifinals to advance to the third-place match. Odell faced Squires in the third-place match. Squires pinned Odell at the 4:16 mark of the match to earn the win.
Thunder senior Frank Aiello finished sixth at 165-pounds. Aiello, the top seed, received a first-round bye. In the second round, he defeated John Carroll’s Vittorio Santillo in a 21-7 major decision. Aiello picked up a 9-4 decision over UW-Whitewater’s Ryder Sigler in the quarterfinals. Fifth-seeded Keone Derain of Elmhurst won a 6-2 decision against Aiello in the semifinals. Aiello lost via medical forfeit to Mitch Hertel of UW-LaCrosse in the consolation semifinals and Olivet’s Tyler Grimsley in the fifth-place match.
Max Gierke placed seventh at 285-pounds. Gierke opened the tournament with first-round bye and lost a 5-1 decision against Case Western’s Brian McNamara in the second round. In the opening round of the consolation bracket, Gierke won a 5-2 decision against Chicago’s Hare Will. Gierke pinned Heidelberg’s Christian Climer at the 4:26 mark of their match. His second pin of the day came just 1:17 into his matchup with Messiah’s Dan Kiser. Gierke won by medical forfeit against No. 3 seed D’Andre Johnson of UW-Platteville. Gierke lost an 11-3 major decision against Zach Rieger of Adrian on Saturday morning when the consolation bracket resumed. Gierke defeated Jalen McFerrin-Pace of Olivet in an 18-2 technical fall in the seventh-place match at 285-pounds.