Toughest round for Coalers likely will be in the semifinals

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    What are the odds that Coal City wrestlers will bring home a state trophy Saturday?
    Pretty good considering they’ve made it to the Final Four two of the past three years, their most recent appearance in 2016 when they finished second.
    The team to beat is Aurora Christian, the No.1 ranked team in the state, but before Coal City will get the chance they’ll have to beat El Paso-Gridley in the first round
    While the Coalers were beating up Clinton 40-29 during the Gibson City Sectional on Tuesday, El Paso was on the opposite mat in a slugfest with Beardstown. They escaped Beardstown with 34-33 tiebreaker that was decided on most pins to advance to the Dual Team Elite Eight.
    If previous wins are any indication, Coal City handily beat Beardstown during the Abe Lincoln Rumble, 52-27, while El Paso struggled with them.
    Coal City should be able to get past El Paso, who enters the bracket 12th in the state. The Coalers are ranked third, and they defeated No. 4 Clinton.
    El Paso has three state qualifiers in their line-up, including No, 1 at 106, and 113 first place finisher Monte Gregory.  Dylan Reeves at 182 was a qualifier who did not place.
    Coal City, with four qualifiers, should dominate weights from 120 on up, and most likely will pick up the win to make the Final Four.
    The semifinals will be held at 2 p.m., when they likely will face Aurora Christian. Odds are Chicago Hope Academy (ranked 11th) won’t get past Aurora Christian (ranked 1st).
    If it’s Coal City vs. AC, this will likely be the match between the best two teams in the state even though it’s the semifinal round.
    Aurora Christian beat Coal City back in December, 40-27, in a dual that had two forfeits, one for each team. Three of Coal City’s four state qualifiers lost in that match.
    Aurora Christian has 10 state qualifiers on their roster, and of those 10, seven placed.
    They have the state champions at 120 and 126, along with fourth place finishers at 152 and 220. Aurora also had three fifths at 113, 138 and 145.
    Aurora has a loaded roster, but so does Coal City. That said, the match could go either way, and whoever gets out on top will most likely win the first place trophy.
    Coal City would love nothing more than if Chicago Hope (#11) would upset Aurora Christian in the quarterfinal round as it would ease the path to a first in state win.
    Teams on the other side of the bracket include: IC Catholic (ranked 9th), Vandalia (5), Belleville (6) and Erie (10).
    The final round to decide first through fourth place will be at 6 p.m. One mat will hold the third-place match, while the other will have the first place match.
    Coaler fans hope they will be sitting in front of the mat that decides a champion.