2/23/2017 1:16:00 PM 'Cats have a good shot at state trophy
Might the Wilmington wrestling team end its day Saturday with its sixth state wrestling trophy?
Now that they've made it to the Elite Eight the odds are good that Coach Rob Murphy and Company will return from Bloomington with at least some hardware.
The 'Cats had an easy go at the Sectional win over Bowen Tuesday, getting six forfeits before the match barely got started.
There's little doubt that competition will only get stiffer from here on out. Still, earning a state championship in Saturday's dual finals is within reach for the 'Cats.
Wilmington (29-3), ranked fifth in the state by Illinois Matmen, can be thankful that two of the top five teams never made it to state.
The good guys who wear purple and white will open the Class 1A quarterfinal round up against Auburn (18th, 21-6). The teams will face each other on Saturday morning at 9. Wilmington will have to win that match or they are done for the day.
The tournament will get interesting in the second round, if Wilmington wins, they will likely face fourth-ranked Olympia at 2 p.m.
Olympia (28-3) defeated the Wildcats earlier in the season at the Abe Rumble (42-31), and could pose a viable threat to reaching the finals.
However, if the Wildcats do get past Olympia, they will reach the championship match, where they would most likely face second-ranked Lena-Winslow.
The first place and third place matches will be held at 5:30 p.m.
Lena (28-1) will probably bring the stiffest competition, as their only loss was to Coal City at the Abe Rumble. At the same tournament, Wilmington lost to Lena, 43-32.
Those two top five teams who didn't make it past regional are Coal City (1) and Dakota (3), even though earlier in the season the Coalers defeated four of the eight teams who will be in Bloomington.
Dakota was edged out by Lena-Winslow in their Regional, not qualifying for the dual team Sectional.
With that said, the elimination of two of the top teams in the state could play into Wilmington's favor, giving them just a little more breathing room. And coach Rob Murphy would like nothing better than to bring home the gold to validate what has been a stellar season
Events for dual team state will be held in the U.S. Cellular Coliseum.