Prep pulse: May 14, 2018

Prep pulse: May 14, 2018

Wrestling is one of those sports that doesn't have a terribly lengthy IHSA season, but keeps going on well past the annual February state tournament.

The latest examples of this came during the Illinois Greco-Roman State Championships on April 28 and the Illinois Freestyle State Championships on May 5-6.

Various area athletes took part in one or both of these events in one of two categories: cadet (born in 2002 or 2003) or junior (born Sept. 1, 1998 or later and presently enrolled in high school). And some of them qualified for their respective national tournaments in July.

Among those was Unity sophomore Cade Scott, who earned a top-two finish in the cadet 182-pound class in the Greco-Roman event to secure his bid in Fargo, N.D.

It wasn't just a major personal achievement — it was a historical one in terms of the Rockets' wrestling prowess. Unity never before had qualified a grappler for the national stage.

"He was beaming," said Unity coach Logan Patton, one of the club coaches for Team Illinois wrestling. "He's setting some precedents for the program. It's a big step for the program, and a big step for him."

Other local stars who moved on to the Greco-Roman national showcase through April's state meet were Hoopeston Area junior Ezra Elliott (junior 132 pounds), St. Thomas More junior J.D. Sexton (cadet 160), Clinton sophomore Micah Downs (cadet 195), Urbana junior Luke Luffman (junior 285) and Westville/Georgetown-Ridge Farm freshman Hayden Copass (cadet 285).

All of these individuals, including Scott, performed at the 2018 IHSA meet in February. But that doesn't mean these two tournaments were similar in style.

"We have so many guys who are new to this offseason Olympic style," Patton said. "(Scott) didn't even know when he won his match that he qualified."

Over in the freestyle tournament, area standouts who moved on to nationals were Prairie Central freshman Brandon Hoselton (cadet 195), Clinton's Downs (cadet 195), Urbana's Luffman (junior 285) and Westville/G-RF's Copass (cadet 285).

And just think: None of these kids are on the verge of graduation. We should expect to see a lot more of them in the next IHSA grappling campaign.