BLOOMINGTON – Junior Elliott McClure experienced both ends of wrestling Saturday as Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher earned the state runner-up trophy in the 27th Class 1A dual-team state tournament at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
In the quarterfinals, his 145-pound weight class was chosen by blind draw to be the opening match.
"I hate it," said McClure, about being first.
He started the team off with a 13-0 win that helped the Falcons beat Vandalia 43-26.
BLOOMINGTON – In reaching a plateau which had not been achieved by a Champaign Central wrestling team in nearly three decades, the Class 2A Maroons showed they were deserving of a team state trophy.
In a Saturday team-dual semifinal match against top-ranked Lombard Montini – which one week earlier had steamrolled all comers in the individual wrestling finals at the Assembly Hall – Central showed its competitive side.
WILMINGTON – Fourth-rated Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher (21-5) posted eight pins while rolling past Walther Lutheran 52-19 on Tuesday in a Class 1A sectional wrestling team dual meet at Wilmington High School.
Cole Lush (140) had the fastest fall for the Falcons, sticking a regional champion in 48 seconds. Dylan Donner (103) and Stephan Birt (171) also had first-period pins.
Guy Kirby, a Class 1A state champion at 140 pounds, bumped up two weight classes and put GCMS/F ahead to stay in the first match contested, pinning his opponent in 2:58.
MATTOON – Nate Volk crammed as much into his 16th birthday as was possible.
The Champaign Central High School sophomore went to school Tuesday. He got his driver's license. He won a wrestling match, and he played percussion with the Central Wind Symphony in an evening concert at Krannert.
The last two activities were not a given. They started within 90 minutes of one another and in communities 52 miles apart.
High school boys
Centennial 57, Springfield SE 49
Danville 77, Mattoon 57
Shiloh 47, Bement 43
Martinsville 80, Villa Grove 68
Cerro Gordo 76, Tri-County 40
Okaw Valley 88. Lovington 48
CHAMPAIGN – The winningest wrestler in Champaign Central history left the Assembly Hall as a winner Saturday.
Brandon Ward's final victory didn't come in the match he wanted, but he registered an 8-0 triumph against third-rated Marian Catholic's Jared Koch to salvage third place in Class 2A at 171 pounds.
CHAMPAIGN – There's hope for all youth wrestlers who aren't experiencing success at the highest level.
The proof is provided by the six area athletes who on Saturday competed for state championships in Class 1A at the Assembly Hall as 9,764 spectators watched.
Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher's Dylan Donner not only didn't earn a medal during his Kids' Club career, but Falcons coach Ryan Birt also said "he never won a match at state."
On Saturday, the 103-pounder competed for a state title.
CHAMPAIGN – Nathan Santhanam pulled off the Great Escape on Friday.
Today, the St. Thomas More senior wrestler will try to pin down more victories.
The 112-pound Santhanam is one of 11 Class 1A area athletes who have secured berths in this morning's semifinal round of the 73rd state tournament at the Assembly Hall.
Santhanam, ranked third in the state in his weight class, scored an escape with one second left in the third overtime to edge Benton's Jordan Parola 5-4 in the quarterfinals.
CHAMPAIGN – Austen Schott and Brandon Ward are Champaign wrestlers who attend different high schools and are separated by 68 pounds.
On Friday, however, they each shared the thrill of victory during the Class 2A state tournament at the Assembly Hall.
They can be called a veteran and a rookie, though neither description is totally accurate. A senior at Central, Ward is a first-time state qualifier. A freshman at Centennial, Schott has years of experience in youth wrestling.
Each had reason to celebrate.
CHAMPAIGN – Chances are if you looked at one of the six mats on the Assembly Hall floor Friday, you saw a wrestler from Montini at any given time.
The Broncos were represented by one wrestler in each of the 14 weight classes in Class 2A, the first time that's happened in state history.
"You could never predict something like that. The stars just aligned at sectionals," Montini assistant coach John Dziewiatkowski said. "The guys did really well. They've been working really hard and got the job done."