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BLOOMINGTON – It was the No. 1 goal from the very first practice. And the Champaign Central Maroons never forgot it, ending each workout with the chant Big 12 champs.
Maroons coach Jeff Scott targeted a conference title not only because he thought it was reachable, but because it had been sooooo long. Forty-one years ago, to be exact.
CHAMPAIGN – Stan Adkisson has been so busy lately that he barely had time to get nervous before his last wrestling match at Champaign Central on Thursday. He's been juggling studying for exams and spent the early part of the afternoon having a root canal.
His Senior Night excitement and jitters didn't hit, he said, until he returned to Combes Gymnasium and his teammates began discussing the upcoming match against Mahomet-Seymour, which the Maroons lost 45-16.
CATLIN – When the Salt Fork and Westville wrestling teams meet tonight in Catlin, it will be a bit of a family feud for Salt Fork junior Caleb Williams.
Williams, who has excelled this season with a 23-2 record, is the ne-phew of Westville coach Sean Wilkus.
MAHOMET – After putting his title-round opponent on his back, Brandon Ward spent plenty of his postmatch recovery time in a prone position, too.
"I was pretty exhausted," the Champaign Central wrestler said after repeating as 171-pound champion of the Bulldog Invitational on Saturday. "I didn't think I'd be able to hold on til they (called) thepin."
FITHIAN – Like many successful coaches, Dave Markwell was a multisport high school standout who went on to play in college.
Unlike many successful coaches, Markwell has thrived in a sport in which he never participated.
Which area teams will strike gold? What area stars will shine brightest? Prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner previews the winter sports postseasons.
TOLEDO – Jake Wright (125 pounds), Jarrett Levette (130), Damon Duitsman (145), Nick Hamilton (152) and Damen Hillery (189) won championship matches to help Bismarck-Henning finish first in Saturday's Eastern Illinois Wrestling Conferences meet.
"I'm really proud of the guys," Bismarck-Henning coach Phil Benjamin said. "It was an outstanding effort, and it's not very often that you get all 14 guys to place. Hopefully our effort will carry over to next weekend's regional."