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CHAMPAIGN — Josh Wallick’s Friday loss was only temporary.
As the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher junior wrestler was celebrating his semifinal victory, one of the Falcons’ coaches returned to the mat and located the contact lens that had popped out.
It was all good.
CHAMPAIGN — This was a 2-for-2 deal.
Centennial High qualified two senior athletes for the state wrestling tournament. Each was matched up with a senior from the same school, Tinley Park.
CHAMPAIGN — They are different weights, different ages and from different geographical sections of the state.
They all have the same goal: to win an individual wrestling state championship.
JOSH RUETTIGER, Lincoln-Way West
The 152-pound senior didn’t waste any time getting started in his first Class 2A bout. recording a pin in 10 seconds against a foe who’d won 37 matches.
BRANDON BRIGGS, North Boone
A state champion last year in 1A as a 103-pound freshman, he has moved up a weight class and turned in a powerful performance, winning 17-0.
There are 14 weight classes, but 15 numbers which stand out for prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner, who will be covering the IHSA state wrestling tournament during its three-day run at the Assembly Hall:
Recently: Followed up on regional title with a sectional crown, decisioning the same 195-pound foe in the finals in consecutive weeks. He’s ranked sixth this week entering state.
In his own words: “All the hard work I put in paid off. I wrestled all year long, giving up football.”
LeRoy’s DeWald establishing state culture in program
Wrestling season began before Champaign Central’s Toby Rivera got started, but it won’t end without him.
“Toby wasn’t going to wrestle this year,” Central coach Dan Warner said.
A football standout, Rivera originally planned to devote his offseason energies to bettering himself in that sport.
A list of area wrestlers who advanced to the state tournament at the Assembly Hall:
VANDALIA — Monticello will have seven participants this weekend at the Assembly Hall, and Argenta-Oreana had two sectional champions at the Class 1A Vandalia Sectional on Saturday.
Tanner VanDalsen had the Sages’ lone sectional championship at 195 pounds after he won a 4-2 decision against Cumberland’s Timmy Carli.
MATTOON — Cameron Mammen and Tyler Moxley hit the trifecta Saturday.
Austen Schott and Darren Wynn were in repeat mode.
All four senior wrestlers are headed back to familiar territory. They are among 10 area Class 2A athletes who earned state tournament berths with their performances at the Mattoon Sectional.