Wrestling: Bulington leads powerful LeRoy lineup

Wrestling: Bulington leads powerful LeRoy lineup

LeRoy High School's wrestling team, ranked second in the state in Class 1A, has a power-packed lineup featuring athletes who've been successful throughout their prep careers.

Coach Doug DeWald's lineup includes three wrestlers with 100 career wins and three others who should reach that milestone within the next six weeks.

Senior Devin Bulington has 137 career wins, 10 more than the school's previous all-time leader (Ronnie Oliver). Senior Justin Meyers is at 111 career wins, and John Morrell, who reached the 100-win mark last week, has 102.

Set to join their teammates are junior Austin Matlock (95 wins), senior Tyler Woolridge (94 wins) and senior Brad Simmons (83 wins).

"Simmons and Woolridge didn't wrestle much varsity as freshmen," DeWald said. "For them and Matlock to approach 100 in three years is more impressive."

Bulington recently supplanted Oliver, a former heavyweight state champion, as the school's top career pinner. He has 89. Oliver had 85. Meyers' 334 career takedowns are a record that continues to grow.

Bulington and Meyers aren't just strong in their sport. Bulington scored a 33 on the ACT, and Meyers, who plans to attend Northwestern, wrote a 32.

The Panthers got an upclose look at the state's top-rated team, Wilmington. In last week's New Year's Classic, hosted by St. Thomas More at Huff Hall, Wilmington and LeRoy met in the championship dual.

Each school won seven matches, but Wilmington prevailed 30-28.

If there is a rematch, it could take place in the state dual-team quarterfinals in Bloomington.

"That's a tough draw," DeWald said. "We have a lot of firepower in the lineup. It will come down to matchups, if we can stay healthy and if we get to the point we're able to wrestle that physical style and be tough in critical situations.

"Talentwise, work ethicwise and experiencewise, this team definitely has the potential to win in the end."

A likely state semifinal opponent for either LeRoy or Wilmington in the team-dual series would be defending champion Sterling Newman.

To achieve the success they desire, the Panthers are working out in a dedicated state-of-the-art wrestling room, which includes a treadmill and enough room for two mats. It was part of a construction project that was finished this school year and included a new gymnasium and an all-weather track.

"The wrestling room is unbelievable," DeWald said. "I've been in a lot of them, and this is the nicest one I've seen. It has high ceilings and natural light."

DeWald has assembled a knowledgeable staff, most of whom have been together for years.

Top assistant Jeff Baughman has been at the school for five years, as has Colby Getch (a former state champion in Iowa) and R.K. Lunn.

A new addition this season is former Mahomet-Seymour state champion Chris Little, who DeWald said, has "brought in a lot of new ideas and ways to go about things."

Also helping are former Panther wrestlers Danny Monical and Tyler Wilfley, both students at Illinois State University.

"It starts with surrounding yourself with really good people," DeWald said. "I have fantastic assistant coaches who could all be head coaches somewhere, if they choose to do that. We work well together, have the same philosophies and believe in the same things."

Not to be overlooked is the job done by Greg Conn, who coaches the junior high school feeder program that includes students at LeRoy and Tri-Valley.

"He gets 40 to 45 kids out every year and is a great wrestling recruiter," DeWald said. Among Conn's assistants are Jerry Danko and Jay Jensen.

Tough luck for Sages

Monticello will not be able to get all of its top wrestlers in the same meet together. Senior Ramsey Hoss, who needs 21 wins to reach 100, and sophomore Dylan Knisley, a state qualifier last year, each are competing at 145 pounds. They've had wrestleoffs and each has been victorious in different weeks.

It's not an option to bump up a weight class. The 152-pound spot is filled by Luke Dunn, who needs 13 wins to reach 100.

Another Sage who could reach that milestone is 160-pound Clay Wright, who has 82 career wins. Dunn was a state qualifier a year ago. Hoss and Wright were one match from earning a berth at state.

In Argenta-Oreana's recent Bomber Classic, seven Sages reached the semifinals. Six were then matched up against the No. 1 seed. Monticello's top placer at the event was Austin Hyde (third at 113).

Armetta makes move

Mahomet-Seymour senior Austin Armetta, a three-time state qualifier, hit the 100-win mark with his title-match win in the Pontiac Tournament. He also is climbing the charts for career pins. His championship-bout pin in last week's Springfield Tournament raised his career total to 62, which ties him for sixth with Lyle Shallenberger on the Bulldogs' career chart. Next up is Doug Younger, with 68 career falls. The all-time M-S pin leaders are Brett Camden and Joe Sapp, each with 79.

B-H toughens schedule

In last week's New Year's Classic, which St. Thomas More hosted at Huff Hall, Bismarck-Henning was eager to face the toughest opponents. On the first day of the two-day event, the Blue Devils went head-to-head with No. 1 Wilmington, No. 4 Sterling Newman, No. 14 Beardstown, No. 15 Litchfield and No. 17 Vandalia.

The team was 0-5 for the day, but junior heavyweight Morgan Supergan won all of his matches and ended the event 9-0. His wins moved him to 99 for his career. He is ranked third in the state in Class 1A.

Two teammates recorded their 100th career wins during the super-dual event. Jacob Carter reached No. 100 against Vandalia and now has 105. Zach Martin hit the 100-win mark in his final bout, against Roxana.

Saber starts strong

St. Thomas More senior Lucas Rice had a dominating start to his season. The 182-pounder won his first six matches, winning five by pin and earning a 12-2 major decision in his other bout. Against those six opponents, Rice totaled 22 takedowns.

"He works as hard as anyone I've ever coached," St. Thomas More coach Cord Schroeder said. "He is a gym rat that I have to tell to go home instead of staying more."

When Rice won his weight class at the Seneca Tournament, it was his first career tournament crown.

M-S to play catchup

With three December tournaments in a row, Mahomet-Seymour competed in only five dual meets as of Jan. 1. That will change this month. The Bulldogs have 16 duals on the schedule.

Twenty-one of the team's 35 squad members are either freshmen or sophomores. Of those in the junior and senior classes, two are first-time high school wrestlers: senior D.J. Garrison (182) and junior Kyle Olsen (170), who is in the starting lineup at his weight.

Two freshmen also took up wrestling for the first time: Simeon Asbill (120) and Robert Westfall (145).

Charger still unbeaten

Centennial senior Archie Williams has won all 17 of his matches this season, pushing his career win total to 96. He could reach the 100-win mark in Saturday's Prairie Central Tournament.

Eleven of Williams' wins are by pin. His 57 career pins places him within striking distance of the school record-holder, Danny Rolando, who had 63. Williams, who is interested in wrestling at Lincoln College next season, will move up the list of career takedown leaders. He has 211. Centennial's record-setter is Sam Ferguson with 287.

Youthful Bombers hit 600

An Argenta-Oreana team that has had as many as eight sophomores in the varsity lineup at the same time, recorded the school's 600th career dual-meet win with a 72-6 win against Dwight.

"They are a good group of kids," A-O coach Gary Cook said. "They can be pretty talented with the right work ethic and will all win 20-plus matches."

One squad member off to a slow start is senior Aaron Ford, top-ranked in Class 1A at 220 pounds. He has been sidelined with an elbow injury suffered in his final football game. Ford, who needs 10 wins to reach 100, could be back in the lineup Jan. 12, when the Bombers host a triangular meet.

"By regionals, he will be where he needs to be," Cook said.

Senior Kyle Powars, who didn't wrestle as a freshman, is on course to reach the 100-win mark. The 132-pounder has 82 wins (57 by pin) and is ranked third in Class 1A.

A growing program

Last season, Paxton-Buckley-Loda had five wrestlers. This season, there are 18 Panthers in the sport, including Nick Glover, a transfer from St. Joseph-Ogden. Among the squad members are Eddie Woolridge, a senior who played basketball the previous three years, and Bill Masco, a senior who is a valedictorian candidate. Masco won three of his first four matches.

Coach Erik Ronney's squad had its first — and only — home meet last month against SJ-O and Grant Park.

Notebook items

Unity senior Troy Welch is five wins from recording No. 100 in his career. ... Clinton graduate Rob Meadors (Class of 2001) started his first year as head coach at the school with 32 prospects, but that group has whittled itself down to 18. Of those, seven are first- or second-year wrestlers. ... Hoopeston Area's Robbie Irvin (160 pounds) is a member of the 100-win club. ... Josh Kessler, a three-year letterman, has left the Bismarck-Henning program. ... Schlarman senior Joe Cahill (7-3 at 220 pounds) is chasing the school record for single-season wins (15), held by Michael Callahan. ... The Hilltoppers have a junior exchange student from Finland, Zhong Liang, who had no wrestling experience but already has won twice by pin at 152 pounds. ... SJ-O's Andy Bensyl reached the 100-win mark with his second victory this season, and the unbeaten senior is now up to 116 wins. Teammate Kenny Lindsey needs eight wins to hit 100.

Coaches corner
Prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner polled area coaches about conference races:
Big 12 Conference
(first-place votes in parentheses)
Bloomington (9)    99
Centennial (1)    81
Normal Community    80
Mattoon    69
Champaign Central    62
Normal West    48
Urbana    44
Danville    36
MacArthur    20
Eisenhower    11
NOTE: Maximum points 100
Cameron Mammen, Urbana, Jr., 170    3
Archie Williams, Centennial, Sr., 182    3
Stephon Rudicil, Bloomington, Sr., 182    2
Austen Schott, Centennial, Jr., 113    1
Nate Volk, Central, Sr., 152    1

Mahomet-Seymour (5)    47
Eureka (2)    40
Pontiac    33
Prairie Central    32
Normal U-High    18
Olympia    17
Rantoul    9
NOTE: Maximum points 49
Austin Armetta, Mahomet-Seymour, Sr., 160    3
Jordan Lind, Pontiac, Jr., 113    2
Evan Weaver, Normal U-High, Sr., 145    2
Alex Friedman, Pontiac, Jr., 160    1
Jason Locker, Pontiac, Sr., 152    1

LeRoy (6)    36
GCMS/Fisher    29
El Paso    25
Deer Creek-Mackinaw    16
Tremont    11
Heyworth    9
NOTE: Maximum points 36
Devin Bulington, LeRoy, Sr., 126    3
Justin Meyers, LeRoy, Sr., 138    3
John Morrell, LeRoy, Sr., 132    1

Monticello (4)    34
Argenta-Oreana (2)    32
Clinton    23
Unity    16
Shelbyville    11
Warrensburg-Latham    10
NOTE: Maximum points 36
Aaron Ford, Argenta-Oreana, Sr., 220    3
Troy Welch, Unity, Sr., 126    2

St. Joseph-Ogden (4)    16
Clifton Central    10
St. Thomas More    10
Paxton-Buckley-Loda    4
NOTE: Maximum points 16
Kenny Lindsey, St. Joseph-Ogden, Sr., 195    2
Andy Bensyl, St. Joseph-Ogden, Sr., 182    1
Doug Easter, Clifton Central, Sr., Hwt.    1
Lucas Rice, St. Thomas More, Sr., 182    1

Bismarck-Henning (4)    24
Hoopeston Area    16
Oakwood    15
Westville/Salt Fork/G-RF (1)    14
Schlarman    6
NOTE: Maximum points 25
Morgan Supergan, Bismarck-H., Jr., Hwt.    3
Dacian Alvarez, Oakwood, Sr., 120    2
Robbie Irvin, Hoopeston, Sr., 160    2
Zach Drollinger, Hoopeston, Sr., 152    1
Trae Ford, Westville/Salt Fork/G-RF, Sr., Hwt.    1

Area athletes in the state rankings compiled by The Illinois Best Weekly:
Class 2A
113 pounds—6. Austen Schott, Centennial
152 pounds—5. Nate Volk, Champaign Central
160 pounds—2. Austin Armetta, Mahomet-S.
170 pounds—4. Cameron Mammen, Urbana
182 pounds—4. Archie Williams, Centennial
Class 1A
113 pounds—3. Jacob Carter, Bismarck-Henning
120 pounds—5. Austin Matlock, LeRoy
126 pounds—2. Devin Bulington, LeRoy
132 pounds—2. Kyle Powars, Argenta-Oreana
132 pounds—4. John Morrell, LeRoy
132 pounds—5. Chet McClure, GCMS/Fisher
138 pounds—2. Justin Meyers, LeRoy
145 pounds—4. Tyler Woolridge, LeRoy
152 pounds—6. Josh Johnson, LeRoy
195 pounds—5. Kenny Lindsey, St. Joseph-Ogden
220 pounds—1. Aaron Ford, Argenta-Oreana
220 pounds—3. Brad Simmons, LeRoy
Heavyweight—3. Morgan Supergan, Bismarck-H.

N-G Top 10
SCHOOL (previous)     RECORD
1. LeRoy (1)    15-1     Lone loss to top-rated Wilmington    
2. Centennial (7)    14-1    Lone loss to Mattoon
3. Mahomet-Seymour (2)    4-1    Lone loss to Centennial
4. Urbana (10)    9-6    33rd Urbana Invitational on Jan. 14
5. Champaign Central (3)    12-3    Losses to Bloomington, Centennial, Urbana
6. Prairie Central (4)    11-3    Losses to LeRoy, Peotone, Pontiac
7. Argenta-Oreana (5)    5-2    Losses to Centennial, Mattoon
8. Bismarck-Henning (6)    14-9    Five losses to state-ranked opponents
9. Monticello (8)    6-4   Losses to LeRoy, Mt. Zion, Orion, Prairie Central
10. GCMS/Fisher (9)    8-11     Falcons will host HOIC Duals on Jan. 28

Save the date
Feb. 4 — 1A/2A/3A regionals
Feb. 10-11 — 1A/2A/3A sectionals
Feb. 17-18 — 1A/2A/3A state at the Assembly Hall
Feb. 21 — Team sectionals
Feb. 25 — Team dual state at Bloomington


Categories (3):Illini Sports, Wrestling, Sports


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