2/14/2017 5:13:00 PM Local wrestlers getting their shot at State
by Brent Sumner Staff writer
With 21 area wrestlers traveling to Champaign this week for the IHSA 1A State Championships, expectations are high that some are bound to earn medal when the final round concludes Saturday night.
Coal City's 11 matmen, Wilmington's eight, and Reed-Custer's two will all be vying for the top spot. The path they will need to take to come out on top will be difficult.
This weight class will display three local wrestlers, including Coal City's Brandon Strnad, Reed-Custer's Bobby Mann, and Wilmington's Tyler Rock.
The Coaler sophomore enters with a record of 17-12, and will face the top seeded Drew Sobol from Wood River (41-2).
Mann (36-7) will face Chevy Wood from Mt. Carmel (36-4) in his opening round. If the freshman wins, he could most likely face Aurora Christian's Cameron Johnson (31-0).
As for Rock (33-11), a Wilcat senior, he will be looking to start his final tournament off on the right foot. He will take on Ethan O'Linc form Monticello (30-10) in the first round, and if he wins, could face Austin Weaver from Olympia (36-2).
Coal City's Alex Friddle will be the only local wrestler at 113, but enters as a favorite to advance.
The sophomore holds a record of 40-1, and will face Dakota's Evan Riggle in the opening round (27-13).
Friddle could ultimately run into IC Catholic's Joey Bianchini again in the final, which would serve as a Sectional rematch. Both wrestlers are on opposite ends of the bracket, but it could definitely happen.
Jake Hiles will be the only wrestler representing the area at 120. The Coal City senior will be looking to cap his high school career with a state title.
Hiles (27-1) is a favorite to reach the final, but will start against Asher Wiegand from Eureka (33-7), and if he wins that one, he will most likely face Tanner Swain from Vandalia (35-4).
On the other side of the bracket, he could eventually run into Tyler Fleetwood from Fulton (36-2) in the final.
Lane Kutemeier will enter his weight class as the only local wrestler.
The Coaler freshman (20-11) will be tested right off the bat, facing top seed, Chase Bittle from Althoff Catholic (42-1).
Another favorite in the bracket will be Chase Emerson from Peotone (31-2).
Wilmington's Matt Nutt and Coal City's Ryan Wasielewski will enter at 132.
Nutt (29-18) will face the top seed, undefeated Trey Hild from PORTA (46-0), while Wasielewski (35-3) will enter against El Paso's Kain Jackson (36-11).
Wasielewski could run into either Nutt or Hild in the semifinals.
TJ Jezik will enter 138 for Coal City, and will kick his competition off against Jacob Horsch from Gibson City (34-11).
If Jezik (40-9) wins, he will most likely run into top seed, Joe Eads from Morrison (39-3).
All three schools will have wrestlers at the 145 bracket.
Reed-Custer's Gabe Nagel (30-15), will start against Prairie Central's Simon Schuler (38-6), and if he wins, he will likely face the undefeated top seed, Nolan Baker from Byron (39-0).
On the other side of the bracket will be another favorite to win the title, Wilmington's Bobby Shields (41-4).
He will start against Jake Larson from Illini Bluffs (36-10).
Coal City's Daniel Jezik (34-14) will enter in the middle of the bracket against Knoxville's Rueben Cantu (34-7).
Wilmington's Nick Pretto will be the only local wrestler at 152.
Pretto (41-6) will be a favorite to advance through the bracket, and will kick things off against Dale Ashby from Hoopeston (14-3) .
The Wildcat senior could eventually run into Belleville's Danny Braunagel in the semifinals. Braunagel enters as the top seed with a record of 43-0.
If Pretto reaches the final, he could end up having a Sectional rematch against Bishop McNamara's Mason Sauseda (30-8).
Two wrestlers will enter 160, Coal City's Danny Norton (40-2) and Wilmington's Mason Van Duyne (34-13).
Norton will begin against Erie's Garrett Passmore (33-5), and if he wins, he could face the top seed, Drew Hoselton from Prairie Central (43-0).
Van Duyne will enter in the middle of the bracket against Lena Winslow's Kyle Kalkbrenner (37-8).
Depending on how he wrestles, he will face the winner or loser between Eliseo Zamora from Hoopeston (27-11) and Mt. Olive's Jonny Darrah (32-5).
The 170 weight class will be the only bracket that will not showcase a wrestler from one of the three local schools.
There will still be an Interstate Eight wrestler in the bracket though, Peotone's Chandler Gartner (26-2).
Coal City's Bryan Stopka and Wilmington's James Cox have built quite a rivalry over the season, and at the state tournament, they will have to get past one another if they plan to make the finals.
Both wrestlers enter the lower bracket, and won't meet each other until the semifinals if they win through their competition.
Stopka (30-12) will start against Beardstown's Chad Grimm (39-6), while Cox (34-11) will begin against St. Joseph's Griffin Meeker (34-2).
Brock Crawford will represent Coal City at 195, and will have a tough road ahead.
Crawford (33-7) will enter against Gavin Smith from Lawrenceville (35-12), and if he wins, he will most likely face top seed, Niles Ager from Rock Falls (38-0). A win there would push Crawford into the semifinals.
Coal City and Wilmington will both be represented at 220.
Coaler junior Brendan Nevin (17-10) will enter against Orion's Logan Lee (37-3). If he wins, he could face top seed Keaton Fogler from Olympia (39-2).
Wildcat senior Sam Jones (30-18) will kick things off against Dakota's Maverick McPeek (39-3).
If he wins, he will most likely face Kyle Hammer from Clinton (31-7).
Wilmington's Josh Jones will enter in the middle of the pack for 285.
Jones (34-11) will start his competition against Tayler Fleetwood from Fulton (32-6).
If Jones reaches the final round, he could wind up with a Sectional rematch against Zach Muller from Westmont (33-0), who enters as the top seed on the other side of the bracket.
The class 1A preliminaries will start at 1 p.m. on Thursday, with the quarterfinals and first round wrestlebacks beginning on Friday at 8:30 a.m. Semifinals in the championship rounds will begin on Friday at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, the quarterfinals for the wrestlebacks will begin at 9 a.m., while the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th place matches being held at 1 p.m.
The Grand March and championship matches will be held at 5:30 p.m., with the program starting at the 152 weight class.