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Meet the 2011 Grand Marshals

Two Grand Marshals will lead the annual Parade of Champions Saturday night (March 12) before the championship bouts of the 32nd annual Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) State Final Wrestling Tournament.

Named Grand Marshals for 2011 are: Tom Norquist, former coach at Niles Gemini and Renny Garshelis, Official, Charleston.

The IESA started having Grand Marshals in 1996. The Grand Marshals are honored for their contributions to interscholastic wrestling and the young men who participate in the sport. They are nominated by the IESA Wrestling Advisory Committee and approved by the IESA Board of Directors. The marshals will play an integral role of the Parade of Champions as they will lead the 38 individual finalists and their coaches into the Convocation Center, amidst music, applause and cheers from teammates, parents, family, and fans.

Here is a closer look at the 2011 Grand Marshals:

Tom Norquist

** Tom Norquist has always had one goal--to influence his students in developing a strong personal character. He carried that philosophy over into his coaching career as he faithfully served Niles Gemini Junior High School as their wrestling coach for 15 years. When funding for the sports programs in district 63 was eliminated, Tom volunteered his duties so wrestlers would still have an opportunity to participate. He continued to serve as the tournament manager for the Mustang Invitational, a junior high wrestling tournament that many of the schools participating in the IESA state series wrestle in each year. Tom's impact on his students at Gemini instills dedication, team work and leadership that lasts a lifetime. Tom served on the IESA wrestling advisory committee from 2000-2002. He was named coach of the year in 2005 by the Niles Chamber of Commerce and the District 63 Employee of the Year in 2008. A graduate of Peoria Woodruff High School and Trinity College in Deerfield, Tom and his wife Kathy have been married for 40 years and have three children and five grandchildren. A dedicated educator, Tom has been a mentor to many wrestlers and many students throughout his career.

Renny Garshelis

** Few people in the state of Illinois have done more to advance the sport of wrestling than Renny Garshelis. His wrestling officiating career spanned over 40 years. Renny has refereed every level---from the youth level all the way to the collegiate national championships. In fact, Renny was one of the officials who worked the very first IESA state wrestling championship when it was held in 1980 in Charleston. He has served as an IHSA rules interpreter, a clinician, and has served on the IHSA wrestling advisory committee. He was the National Federation Official of the Year in 1997 and 2001 and the IWCOA Official of the Year in 1990. A graduate of Eastern Illinois University, he was inducted into the EIU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990, the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 1994, the Illinois Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Charleston High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003. Renny taught at Charleston Junior High for 34 years. Renny served as the first President of the Illinois Association for Blind Athletes. In 1979, he was head coach for the Illinois wrestlers who competed in the blind wrestling championships in Seattle, Washington. Whether you call him a competitor, a coach, or an official, Renny is a true wrestler in every sense. He and his wife have been married for 40 years and they have one son. Without a doubt, the sport of wrestling in Illinois has been fortunate to have Renny Garshelis involved for many years.

Past Grand Marshals
1996 Robert Gatrell, Bloomington, Former Executive Director of the IESA
1997 Bill Marquardt, Bloomington, Official & Arch Richoz, DeKalb, Coach
1998 Mike Manahan, Bloomington, Coach & Mike Pastiak, Burr Ridge, Coach
1999 Ron Karnopp, Quincy, Coach & Dave Ulstad, New Lenox, Coach
2000 Joe Pedersen, Darien, Official, Principal, & Coach
2001 Dan Farinosi, Hoffman Estates, Official & Jim Moxley, Mahomet-Seymour,Coach
2002 Jim Rankin, Clifton, Administrator and Coach & Dave Brost, New Lenox, Official
2003 John Pine, Clinton, Coach; Tony Zens, Ingleside Taveirne, Coach; Mike Wilkey, Oak Park, Official
2004 Ray Cummings, Pesotum, Official & Mike Golimowski, Morris Shabbona, Coach
2005 Bob Jahn, Bolingbrook Humphrey Coach & Dan Fulscher, Lincoln, Official
2006 Terry Milton, Clinton, Coach & Rob Porter, Mahomet-Seymour, Former IESA Champion
2007 Wayne Mooney, Joliet Gompers, Coach & Rob Russell, Sandwich, Coach
2008 Scot Kody, Inverness, Official
2009 John Welter, Fox Lake, Coach; Matt Grimm, Chatham Glenwood, Coach, Dave Mathews, Official
2010 Joe Spiezio, Braidwood Reed-Custer, Administrator; Basil Bakakos, Johnsburg, Coach; Bill Honeycutt, Official

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