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home : sports : wilmington March 29, 2017

2/14/2017 5:19:00 PM
'Cats will vie to get back where they belong
by Brent Sumner
Staff writer

While the focus for eight Wilmington wrestlers will be on how far they advance in the individual state tournament this weekend, their season won't end Saturday no matter the outcome.

Wilmington's wrestlers will get a shot at a dual team state trophy on Tuesday when they compete in the sectional at Coal City.

The Wildcats will face Bowen in the Sectional, with the winner advancing to the Dual Team State Finals on Saturday, Feb. 25 at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.

Wilmington has a history of success in Bloomington, winning the state championship in 2007, 2008 and 2009, second place in 2006, and fourth place in 2010.

If Wilmington defeats Bowen Tuesday, it will be the first time in five years they've advanced as a team to state. Prior to 2013 Wilmington had a seven-year run of qualifying for the state duals.

Since then, they have been sidetracked by Coal City and Plano. That can all change come Tuesday.

Wilmington will face Bowen, who they had the opportunity to scout during Saturday's individual Coal City Sectional. Both teams have strong wrestlers, and Tuesday should be an interesting match-up.

"We will look at it and break it down," said Wildcat coach Rob Murphy. "They do a nice job, and the coach has done a great job building their program. Their wrestlers are very athletic and explosive. If you wrestle one of their guys you can't make mistakes, because they are looking to catch you."

Bowen has a solid line-up, qualifying a wrestler in nearly every weight class for the Sectional.

Their strongest wrestlers are probably in the heavier weights, especially 195 and 220.

At 195 is Marquis Paino, who was Sectional champ and holds a record of 34-3. David Jordan wrestles at 220 for Bowen, and is very athletic for his size. He had an unlucky showing at the Sectional, going 0-2.

As for Wilmington, they should be in pretty good shape after being tested throughout the season by teams like Coal City who was ranked No. 1 until Wilmington knocked them out of the regional by just six points.

The Wildcats will be missing one of their wrestlers for the Sectional though, and it could wind up hurting them point wise.

Caleb Gougis (170) will be unable to wrestle due to an altercation at the Individual Sectional.

Depending on what Wilmington does to fill that spot or not, it could wind up costing them six points to Bowen.

That could be a key point in the match, but Murphy is a veteran who has overcome bigger issues.

The match will be held at Coal City High School, with the wrestling starting at 6 p.m.

Wilmington vs. Chicago Bowen will be on mat one, with Chicago Hope Academy and Walther Christian facing each other on mat two.

The winners advance to the Elite Eight quarterfinals which will be held Feb. 25 at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.

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