Skip to main content

Illinois wrestler Ben Davino named SBLive national champion at 132

With only two losses in the last two years, St. Charles East's Ben Davino has earned his place atop the 132-pound weight class

In the last two years, Ben Davino of St. Charles East (Illinois) has only tasted defeat twice and one of those was at the U17 World Championships to Azerbaijan’s Jamal Abbasov. The other was at the Super 32 tournament in October of 2023 when he fell to Sergio Vega (Sunnyside, AZ), losing his bid to bring home a second straight title belt. Vega has since moved up to 144, where he is ranked fourth in the country.

At the Walsh Ironman, Davino faced off with then No. 1 Marcus Blaze (Perrysburg, OH), who was fresh off a win over Purdue’s Matt Ramos at the Clarion Open. Ramos is seeded fourth at this weekend’s NCAA DI Wrestling Tournament.

St. Charles East's Ben Davino claimed his spot as the nation's No. 1 wrestler at 132 with a win over then No. 1 Marcus Blaze of Perrysburg (Ohio) at the Walsh Ironman.

St. Charles East's Ben Davino claimed his spot as the nation's No. 1 wrestler at 132 with a win over then No. 1 Marcus Blaze of Perrysburg (Ohio) at the Walsh Ironman.

Davino won that battle 3-2 in the ultimate tie-breaker period to take the No. 1 ranking from Blaze. The Ironman crown was Davino’s second straight, and he hung a loss on No. 8 Jordyn Raney (Union County, KY) in the process.

The senior won the Dvorak Invitational then followed that up by taking top honors at the Cheesehead with a win in the finals over No. 5 Logan Swensen (Wayzata, MN).

Nikade Zinkin (Clovis, CA), who is ranked fourth at 126-pounds, fell to Davino in the championship bout of the Illini Classic. Davino went on to win a third consecutive 3A state gold, using a 20-5 tech fall versus Hononegah’s Thomas Silva to cap off a 50-0 campaign.

Davino’s trip to the U17 Worlds was earned by defeating Pennsylvania’s Jax Forrest (No. 2 at 126), two in a row in the best of three 60KG final at the US Open Freestyle gauntlet.

Blaze was third at last season’s Ironman then went unscathed the rest of the way and winning the US Open U17 FS crown at 55Kg with two straight wins over New Jersey’s Anthony Knox (our No. 1 grappler at 120lbs). At that affair, Blaze beat Raney and Isaiah Cortez (Gilroy, CA – No. 5 at 126).

Blaze would claim the U17 World title with a 4-3 win over India’s Ankush Ankush. At the Clarion Open, Blaze defeated Forrest again.

The second-place finish at Ironman this year included a win over No. 9 Dillon Campbell (Legacy Christian, OH). Titles at Brecksville and Perrysburg were won with relative ease as Blaze did not face any more top ten guys during the season after Ironman.

A third DI state championship was won with a fall over St. Edward’s Adam Butler in the gold medal match.

No. 3 JJ McComas (Stillwater, OK) spent the early part of the season and last year as well at 126-pounds before moving up in weight midway through this season. McComas played second fiddle to Gage Walker (Bixby, OK) last year, losing to his rival three-times.

McComas went to work and started putting those frustrations behind him with a second place showing at Fargo in Junior FS at 126. In the championship bout, the senior fell to Forrest, but added wins over Valiant Prep Arizona’s Adrian Meza and Eren Sement (Council Rock North, PA – No. 11 at 126).

McComas reached the 126-pound Super 32 finals and toed the line with a familiar foe in Forrest. McComas dropped that match but picked up wins over Seth Mendoza (Mt. Carmel, IL – No. 3 at 126) and No. 13 Jackson Blum (Lowell, MI).

A year after failing to place at Ironman, McComas landed on the fourth spot of that hallowed podium. Once again, he was defeated by Forrest and Mendoza avenged his Super 32 loss. But McComas slayed the Walker Dragon at Ironman, finally handing his foe a loss.

A 6A state title at 132-pounds put a bow tie on McComas’ senior season. The title came on the strength of a major decision of Bixby’s Isaiah Jones.

No. 4 Adrian DeJesus competed at New Jersey’s DePaul Catholic a season ago when he was third at 120-pounds at state tournament. A transfer to St. Joseph Regional ahead of his junior year set him on a course that would end with DeJesus being a 132-pound state champion, beating Pope John XXIII’s No. 24 Carson Walsh in the finals.

St. Charles East senior wrestler Ben Davino

St. Charles East senior wrestler Ben Davino capped his high school career with his third Indiana state title, winning the 132-pound weight class at the 2024 IHSA state finals.

DeJesus got off to a stellar start with a third-place finish at Super 32 at 126-pounds. There he lost to Forrest, but beat Blum, Mendoza, and No. 6 Nick O’Neill (Malvern Prep, PA).

Swensen placed seventh at S32 at 132 with wins over No. 7 Matthew Botello (Wyoming Seminary, PA) and No. 10 Tahir Parkins (Nazareth, PA).

Crowns at the Dan Gable Donnybrook and Minnesota Christmas Tournament preceded the senior’s only loss of the season at Cheesehead to Davino. A AAA state final win over Albert Lea’s Michael Olson, a year after being second, ended things on a high note for Swensen.