Four Grand Marshals, who have combined to contribute more than 140 years to the sport of wrestling, will lead the annual Grand March of Finalists Saturday night before the championship bouts of the 78th IHSA Individual Wrestling State Final Tournament.
First held in 1975, the annual March of Finalists is conducted at the State Tournament by the IHSA in conjunction with the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association (IWCOA) and the State Farm Center. Each year the Grand Marshals are honored for their contributions to the sport and to the young men and women who participate in it.
The Marshals play an important role in the color and pageantry of the event. They lead the 84 individual finalists and their coaches in a breath¬taking Grand March around the Assembly Hall arena floor just prior to the championship bouts. The annual crowd in excess of 10,000 is witness to a spectacle of high school athletics seen nowhere else in America.
Here is a closer look at the 2015 Grand Marshals:
Tim Dodge’s father was a collegiate wrestler, high school coach and wrestling official, which impacted the course Tim has followed in becoming one of Illinois’ most respected high school officials. A three-sport athlete at Dubuque High School in Iowa, Tim continued to wrestle in college at Augustana College in Rock Island. He was a two-time CCIW Conference Champion, two-time All-American and also received an award for the highest GPA among the college’s student-athletes, which helped him secure an NCAA graduate study scholarship.
Two years after graduating, Tim was named Augustana’s head wrestling coach. During his four-year tenure as coach, the Vikings won three conference titles and produced 21 NCAA qualifiers and three NCAA place finishers.
In 1992, Tim turned to officiating and quickly ascended to the top of the ranks. He was selected to work the state finals for the first time in 1999 and has worked every season since, officiating either the Individual or Dual Team State Finals or serving as the Coordinator of Officials. An IWCOA Hall of Fame inductee, Tim has been recognized as the NFHS and IWCOA’s Official of the Year three times in his career. He has served as an IHSA Wrestling Rules Interpreter and Clinician since 2005, volunteered a term on the IHSA Wrestling Advisory Committee and also officiated the IESA State Finals five times.
Tim serves as the President of College & Applied Marketing Technologies, Inc. in Libertyville and resides with his wife Cherie in Lindenhurst. Tim and Cherie have two college-aged children, daughter Kelly and son Nate.
Ron Reichert was not exposed to the sport of wrestling until the mid-1970’s when his sons began participating in the sport at the Oak Forest Park District. That initial interaction would spark one of the most impactful wrestling careers in the state’s illustrious history, as Reichert would have a direct, and often indirect, impact on thousands of young wrestlers’ lives through his work as an administrator with the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation (IKWF).
Ron was the IKFW Secretary and Treasurer by 1982, a position he held until 1996. Through his tireless work during that time, the organization’s membership grew from just over 3,000 wrestlers to surpass over 10,000 participants. In addition, the Kid’s Open meet expanded from a single tournament at Hinsdale Central High School into a four-division event held at arenas throughout the state.
Ron added the duties of Executive Director of the Illinois Wrestling Federation (IWF) to his resume in 1990, and ran both the IWF and IKFW from his home. Later that year, he was named the Kids Man of the Year by USA Wrestling. Last year, Ron’s amazing accolades continued when he was named to the Illinois branch of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Ron remains active in wrestling, helping with many tournaments throughout the state, while also serving as the Competition Director of the IWCOA Freshmen/Sophomore State Series since its inception in 1996.
After losing in the state championship match as a senior at Glenbrook North, Steve Marianetti set his sights on becoming a collegiate champion, displaying the perseverance that has turned him into one of the top collegiate wrestling coaches in the country.
A three-time collegiate All-American, Steve achieved that goal when he became a National Champion at the University of Illinois, winning the 150-pound weight class at the NCAA meet in 1995. He went on to win medals at the Pan-American Championships, Goodwill Games and U.S. National Championships after college, before joining the Illinois coaching staff as an assistant.
Steve took the head coaching job at Elmhurst College in 2002-03 and has quickly turned the Bluejays into a nationally respected program. He led Elmhurst to its first conference title in 2005, and was named the NWCA Division III Coach of the Year after helping three of his wrestlers attain All-American status and producing a Top 10 national team finish.
The bar was raised even higher in 2012-13, when Elmhurst followed its third consecutive conference crown by placing second in the nation and Steve was once again rewarded with the NWCA Division III Coach of the Year award. Prior to his arrival, Elmhurst had never had an NCAA National Champion, but Steve has produced four in his tenure, including three in the past two seasons. That group included Plainfield Central alum Ryan Prater, who went undefeated as a senior under Steve’s tutelage.
Steve and his wife, Becky, reside in Elmhurst with their daughters, Abigail and Delia.
Wayne Mammen’s coaching career got off to a successful start at pair of high schools in Iowa (Lewis Central, Indianola) before he came to Urbana High School and achieved legendary status.
Wayne’s 20-year coaching career was the most successful in Urbana history and included over 300 dual meet victories. His teams compiled two undefeated seasons, five conference championships, six district titles, eight regional crowns, 29 individual state qualifiers and seven medalists, including a two-time state champion and an eventual NCAA Division III National Champion.
Perhaps the accomplishment Wayne is most proud of, however, is the legacy that his family members have carried on in the sport. Wayne coached both of his sons, Mark and Kirk, at Urbana High School. Kirk was a two-time state champion and the IWCOA Wrestler of the Year who went on to be a four-time All-American at Oklahoma State, helping the Cowboys to a pair of team national titles. Mark was a two-time state qualifier and four-year letterman at Illinois State University, who has carried on the family tradition by coaching the Urbana Kids Wrestling Team for nearly two decades. Mark’s son Cameron also won a state championship, winning the Class 2A crown at 170 pounds in 2013.
Wayne was inducted into the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 1991 and Urbana High School Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2013, Urbana High named the wrestling room in his honor.