Three wrestlers compete at State


Since head varsity coach Collin McKillip has started coaching wrestling at Grayslake North, the team has gone to State consecutively for six years. This year, three seniors were sent down to compete. The three seniors were Jake Jozwiak, Alex Castiglia, and Nicholas Kozanecki.

“I was with these three seniors as freshmen three years ago, and I was coaching wrestling at Lakes for the last two years. Leaving them as freshmen and then coming back when they were seniors made it really special, as I was able to see the growth I would say is comparable to seeing a family member after a while,” said coach Jim Kelley.

Wrestling at State consists of two days, and all three seniors made it to compete on both days – when making it to one day is already a huge accomplishment in itself.

“The kids who wrestle at North all work so hard together. They have a common goal to help each other better themselves, and I’m incredibly proud of how far I’ve watched them grow. All three seniors wrestled well at State but shared completely different experiences that were all special,” said head varsity coach Collin McKillip.

Any member that has been a part of the team at Grayslake North recognizes how memorable it is.

“The thing that makes wrestling at North special would definitely be the atmosphere and the jokes, and just the all around vibe of goofiness and hard work. Wrestling at North really changed its intensity as a whole. I feel people started to kick it up a notch,” said senior Nicholas Kozanecki .

The students weren’t the only ones who felt this atmosphere, as the coaches acknowledge it as well.

“The team at North really has a welcoming atmosphere that is so refreshing. It’s all positive, with good teamwork and leadership put in. I’d say that these students grow as young men and as teammates that they carry on with them as they graduate. They better themselves, and discipline in life becomes easy as they practice healthy values,” Kelley said.

Jake Jozwiak and Nicholas Kozanecki are both planning on continuing wrestling together at Lincoln College, with Nicholas holding a verbal commitment with the school already.

“The ways I’ve grown over the years on North’s team is really just learning to appreciate what I got, especially food. I just got closer with a lot of the guys. Wrestling at North has taught me to be a better man, and to be more respectful and responsible,” Kozanecki said.

The team has offseason plans coming up for any new students or old members interested once school starts back up again in the fall.

“I just want to give out a thanks to all the kids and the parents for working all together and making it possible for this season to be so successful,” McKillip said.

The three seniors that went to State carried on the school title and had close matches that showcased the talent they’ve worked on over the years.