Lemont High School senior Chris Giatras closed his prep wrestling career by achieving a milestone that only a handful of Lemont wrestlers ever have reached. Giatras won four of five matches to finish third in the 182-pound weight class at the 2013 IHSA Class 2A Wrestling State Finals, which were contested from Feb. 14-16 at Assembly Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The state medal was Giatras’s second in as many years, making him just the fifth Lemont wrestler ever to win multiple state medals. His 44 wins is the second-highest single-season victory total in school history, and he finished his career with 135 victories.
Making his third-straight individual state finals appearance, Giatras (44-2) entered the competition as the top seed in the 182-pound weight class, but dropped his opening-round match to Washington’s Colin Carr in an 8-4 decision. Carr went on to finish as the state runner-up (to Montini Catholic’s Jake Turk) in the weight class.
After the setback, Giatras recovered in impressive fashion. In the first-round wrestlebacks, he pinned Waterloo’s Pat Bieber in just 36 seconds, which advanced him to the third day of competition. In the quarterfinal wrestlebacks, he pinned Rich East’s Carleto Jackson in 1:56.
The semifinal wrestlebacks brought a rematch of the championship match at the IHSA Rich East Sectional, where Giatras outlasted Lincoln-Way West’s Javier Montalvo by a 3-2 decision to advance to the state finals. Giatras was able to duplicate that result with another 3-2 win in the semifinal wrestlebacks, and in the third-place match, defeated Morris’s Nik Countryman by a 7-4 count.
A two-time IHSA Sectional champion, Giatras got his first crack at state finals competition in 2010 when he wrestled as a freshman on head coach John St. Clair’s squad that finished third at the 2010 IHSA Class 2A Wrestling Dual Team State Finals, the program’s best finish ever.
The Indians backed that up by finishing fourth in Class 2A in 2011. As an individual qualifier, Giatras competed in the 189-pound class as a sophomore in 2011, and won his first state medal by finishing fifth in the 182-pound class in 2012.
Lemont’s single-season record for victories was established by Matt Leibforth (Class of 2010) who went 45-0 and won the IHSA Class 2A title in 2010. Giatras, Leibforth, two-time 285-pound state champion Angel Cabral
(Class of 2010), Gordon Kickels (Class of 2007) and Jake Latanski (Class of 2012) are the only Lemont wrestlers to win multiple state medals.
Lemont’s state medalists have included Paul Burke (4th, 119-1984), Cabral (1st, 285-2009; 1st, 285-2010), Brian Diaz (3rd, 167-1984), Marvin Drummond (4th, 132-1975), Dave Festin (2nd, 132-1974), Mike Freemantle (4th, 140-1990), Giatras (5th, 182-2012; 3rd, 182-2013), Jamal Hamdan (4th, Hwt.-1986), Jehad Hamdan (2nd, 167-1988), Ryan Hennebry (5th, 125-2000), Jake Kaminsky (2nd, 152-2012), Eric Kirkman (2nd, 170-2012), Kickels (4th, 189-2007; 5th, 189-2008), Mark Kirkman (4th, 160-2012), Latanski (4th, 103-2010; 5th, 126-2012), Leibforth (3rd, 135-2009; 1st, 135-2010), Joe Long (6th, 215-2005), Glenn Malecki (4th, 132-2012), Andrew Mason (4th, 103-2009), Derek Nagel (2nd, 160-2011) and John Tomala (3rd, 195-2012).
Wrestling is the sixth Lemont High School athletic program to compete at the state level this year. The cheerleading squad finished as the runner-up at the IHSA Medium Division Cheerleading State Finals; sophomore Kyra Udziela took part in the IHSA Girls’ Bowling State Finals; senior Aaron Oldanie competed in the IHSA Class 2A Boys’ Cross Country State Finals; sophomore Victoria Salazar and freshman Claire Gagen each took part in the IHSA Class 2A Girls’ Cross Country State Finals; and junior Bridget Lynn competed at the IHSA Class AA Girls’ Golf State Finals.
Editor’s note: The information above is from a press release issued by Tony Hamilton, director of school and community relations at Lemont High School.
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