Junior wrestler places fourth at State Championships

Student represents LT wrestling as only State qualifier of 2022-2023 season


Gunnar Garelli ‘24 wrestles opponent from DeKalb High School at IHSA State Meet on Feb. 18, wins match 11-1 (photo courtesy of Garelli).

Lillian Davis, Reporter

Gunnar Garelli ‘24 has been wrestling since he was 3 years old. He has wrestled with Izzy Style Wrestling club year round since he was 7 years old, as well as with LT for the past two years, he said. Garelli transferred to LT as a sophomore, after attending Montini Catholic his freshman year. He chose to transfer to LT to be able to be on the same wrestling team as his older brother. 

This year, he became one of 16 State qualifiers in the 3A division, by placing in the top three at the regional meet and top four at the Sectional meet; he was the only wrestler from LT to qualify. 

“At first I wanted someone else to be there with me, but it also felt good to be the only focus that the coaches had,” Garelli said. “I was a little disappointed at first, but then I felt confident as [time] went on.” 

The State meet was double elimination, once someone lost two matches, they were out. For those who lost one match, they moved down to the losers bracket and competed for third place. People who kept winning, continued advancing toward first place. Garelli won a total of four matches and lost two to then take fourth place. 

“Most of my friends and family were relieved when I got into that top four spot,” he said. “They were really proud of me.” 

To prepare for the State meet, Garelli continued his year round training as well as practicing everyday with wrestlers and coaches at LT. 

“Gunnar is extremely disciplined and focused on achieving his goals,” varsity head coach Griff Powell said. “He has a great work ethic, and is an outstanding leader for our program.”

Garelli trained outside of LT with kids that were also attending the IHSA State wrestling meet for different schools. 

“I saw a lot of them there, and was able to talk to them in between matches,” he said. “For the kids from LT, they were being really good supporters of me [while] watching my matches.” 

Garelli had a big group of supporters from LT, along with friends and family that came to watch him at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where the meet was held. 

“It felt good to represent all of the kids at LT, all of the coaches, and all of my training partners,” Garelli said. “That medal wasn’t just my time and effort, it was a collection of people and their time.”

Garelli is planning on continuing his wrestling career into college and hopes to wrestle Division I, he said. For next year, his main goal is to be undefeated and become a State champion.