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Talk to News-Gazette prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner
Greetings. Glad everyone could join us for this week's chat. Lets get to the questions.
I read in the News Gazette that Jud Wienke was not going to play football in college. Have you heard if there are any other Tuscola players who will be playing in college. A lot of talent on that team and I'd assume that some of them would play at the next level.
Hi Don. There's currently not a lot of activity concerning the Tuscola football program. I believe Pat Yoakum will have some options depending which sport -- if any -- he decides to pursue. Other than that, perhaps the next best prospect is T.J. Onstott, who is a junior. Kicker Darren Timlin could play somewhere, too. I think what you're seeing is that regardless of how good a small-school program is over a period of years, coaches don't want to take a chance that those players can compete with those from the 7A/8A programs, where the competition is fierce week after week. Not saying they can't do it, but college coaches want the proof and sometimes it's hard to see. In recent years, Tuscola has probably sent about as many players on to play in college as most small schools around this area.
Fred,Get well before tomorrow,need you covering State Wrestling Championships. What kids from area do you think can win a medal at State.
Hi Tom. In both 1A and 2A, there are 12 total qualifiers in each weight class. It will come down to who gets hot and stays hot this weekend. If someone is a little banged up or under the weather, there are plenty of legitimate candidates. We have more than 30 area qualifiers between the two classes. At this stage, there's not a lot separating any of those qualifiers from the rest of the pack. We could have 15-18 athletes wind up winning medals or as few as six or seven. In 2A, The Illinois Best Weekly (which has been ranking wrestlers in the state for 27 years) has none of our area athletes listed among the top four, but considers Centennial's Archie Williams (189), Central's Nate Volk (152) and Mahomet-Seymour's Austin Armetta (160) in an honorable mention category that means they could break through. The others from the area who qualified for state in 2A are M-S Tyler Moxley (103) and Urbana's Cameron Mammen (160). Mammen, in particular, is in a tough bracket. In my view, he has a shot to reach the medals stand, but it will be an uphill climb. In 1A, there are still three unbeatens from the area and two of them are ranked first in their weight classes: LeRoy's Justin Meyers (125) and Prairie Central's Andy Hoselton (160). LeRoy's unbeaten Devin Bulington (119) is picked for second as are Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley's Elliott McClure (152) and Bismarck-Henning's Dakota Patton (189). I also look for good things from Oakwood's Dacian Alvarez (112) and Argenta-Oreana's Aaron Ford (215) as well as several other LeRoy wrestlers and maybe a couple of heavywei-H's Morgan Supergan and A-O's Trent Trudeau. It should be an exciting and fun-filled weekend at the UI Assembly Hall.
Fred,If Urbana can beat Central tomorrow night will that tie them with Centennial for City Championship?
Hi Tom. That is my understanding of the situation. Centennial finished with a 3-1 record in the four games between the C-U schools. Urbana right now is 2-1 and would be 3-1 if it knocks off the Maroons at Combes Gym. Though Central is 0-3 in the series this season, the Maroons have been competitive in all the games, losing twice to Centennial by three points each time and once to Urbana by one point. It should be a terrific game.
Fred,have you heard of any updates on local kids going on to college to play football.
Hi Tom. I don't have a full list in front of me, but I know Centennial's Brad Waller is heading to Joliet Community College as is Rantoul's Taylor Behn. Danville's Justin March has signed with Akron and his high school teammates Joey Robinson, Ed Clark and Andrew Miller are all headed to McKendree College. I think there are others, but I don't have those names handy.
Any chance central pulls off an upset tonight? Didn't they win last year?
Hi Chris. Yes, it is certainly possible, but I don't think it is as likely as last year. Centennial's girls' team was more vulnerable going into the postseason last year. They were basically all freshmen and had just gotten into the state rankings. They didn't play well in the semifinals, but pulled out the win and then fell in the title game. This year's Centennial group is much more solid, both on offense and defense. They won't "wow" you with one standout player, but they play so well together. Still, it is a local rivalry game ... and the sectional will be played at Central again, so there's plenty at stake for the Maroons. This will be the fourth meeting between the schools. The first one was very, very close; the other two were not. I would expect this one to be comeptitive to the end, with the edge going to the Chargers.
Thanks to all for the questions. We'll return next week for another round. Enjoy your week.