After three grueling months of practice, dual meets and tournaments the 2017 IHSA Individual State Tournament starts three days of exciting wrestling tomorrow through Saturday inside the State Farm Center in Champaign. Over 600 competitors in Class 1A, 2A, and 3A will battle it out for the illustrious state championship.
Four area teams in Class 1A will have individuals competing throughout the three-day event. Clinton will take six kids including returning state qualifiers Christian Reynolds at 138 pounds and Logan Winter at 182 pounds who placed fifth two years ago at 160 pounds. Winter enters the tournament ranked number one at 182 and looks for his first state title.
Vandalia qualified seven kids including three qualifiers from a year ago. Tanner Swain at 120 pounds for Vandalia placed fourth a year ago and will have Cam Lee from Litchfield who he lost to earlier this year on his side of the bracket and will also have returning state champion Tyler Fleetwood from Fulton in his bracket.
Monticello and Shelbyville each qualified two kids for this year’s tournament. Clayton Peterson and Cade Helton from Shelbyville are returning state qualifiers from a year ago at 138 and 145 pounds, respectively. Ethan O’Linc at 106 pounds make his first appearance as a freshman for Monticello and his teammate Kaehl VanDalsen is making his second appearance at the state tournament at 152 pounds.
Five more area teams will have wrestlers competing for an individual Class 2A state title this weekend. Mahomet-Seymour will have four individuals in the tournament including three returning qualifiers and one place winner from a year ago. Hunter Crowley will be competing in his third state tournament at 195 pounds for Mahomet-Seymour, as he is looking to better his finish from last year after placing fourth at 182 pounds. David Spencer at 126 pounds and David Griffet at 220 pounds are in their second state tournament and Zach Daebelliehn is making his first appearance for Mahomet-Seymour.
Matton also matched Mahomet-Seymour with four state qualifiers this year and two returning state qualifiers. Freshman Hayden Stanley at 106 pounds and Jayvin Quinn at 145 pounds are making their first appearance in Champaign. Teammates Trevor Edwards at 113 pounds and Garrette Branson at 220 pounds are returning state qualifiers from a year ago. Both Edwards and Branson have perfect records on the year with Edwards ranked first and Branson ranked second in their respected weight classes. Edwards placed third a year ago at 106 pounds and looks to add a state title to his resume. Branson is the number one seed at 220 pounds and could meet up with number one ranked George Bessette from Antioch in the finals but will have a tough test in his first round match against number seven ranked Joey Beaudoin of Sycamore.
The Braves of Mt. Zion have two qualifiers for this year’s tournament including senior Tyler Bennett who qualified a year ago at 138 pounds and freshman Peyton Mahan at 126 pounds. Bennett is ranked ninth at 138 pounds and won his sectional last Saturday in Mascoutah upsetting number three ranked Will Meador of Carbondale in the semifinals. Bennett could have a potential meet up with number five ranked Harry Sellers from Oak Forest in the quarterfinals. Mahan is just the fifth freshman at Mt. Zion to qualify for the state tournament and will also have one of the deepest weight classes at 126 with five returning medal winners from a year ago.
The Tornadoes of Taylorville will have two first time qualifiers trying to make a name for themselves in Champaign this weekend. Seniors Heath Fleming at 170 pounds and Mike Nelson at heavyweight will try and get on the podium in their first state tournament. If Fleming can win his first round match, he could have a battle in the quarterfinals against undefeated and number one ranked Jake Lanning from Pontiac. Nelson could have the same path as his teammate with a potential match against number one ranked Solomon Smith from De La Salle in the quarterfinals at heavyweight.
The Eisenhower Panthers will have one individual repping the school’s colors in Champaign this weekend. Sophomore Caleb Guise is 25-13 on the year and will see number three ranked and undefeated James Valentino from St. Viator in the first round.