County title up for grabs
FITHIAN – Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac's wrestling team will try to clinch its 10th Vermilion County title tonight with a regular season-ending dual meet at Bismarck-Henning. Neither school has lost a match to a county opponent, so the undisputed team title is at stake.
For O/A-P coach Dave Markwell, it could be a bittersweet evening. The 25th-year wrestling coach (21 years at Oakwood), who will be inducted into the state Hall of Fame in April, could be coaching his final dual meet. He has announced his retirement as coach when the season ends. He retired as a teacher last June.
"It will be tough to walk away," Markwell said. "There will be a good group coming back, but everything has to change."
Markwell will recommend his first-year assistant, Nic Wright, as his successor. Wright is a Bismarck-Henning graduate.
Tonight's dual for the Comets also could enable the team to match its school-record single-season victory total of 19, set last year. The state-ranked O/A-P team is 18-1.
LeRoy wrestlers reach 100 wins
LeROY – Within a one-week span, three LeRoy wrestlers recorded their 100th career victories. In Saturday's Randy Bowman Invitational, 119-pound Cory Matlock and 135-pound Dan Monical joined the club, which 140-pound teammate Tyler Wilfley entered Jan. 17.
Monical and Wilfley won their weight classes last week. Matlock placed second.
Big 12 wrestling titles at stake
CHAMPAIGN – Champaign Central's Aryn Gilenson (see story on this page) isn't the only area wrestler looking to repeat as a Big 12 Conference champion Saturday.
Centennial senior Cam Pickett and Champaign Central senior Brandon Ward also enter the meet at Centennial High School as defending titlists. In 2008, Pickett captured the 135-pound crown, and Ward placed first at 171.
The meet starts at 9 a.m., with finals beginning not before 4 p.m.
Three other area returnees reached title bouts last year: Caleb Blaney of Urbana and Centennial teammates Nick Congdon and Adam Graning. However, Chargers coach Ed Mears said the 140-pound Graning is questionable for the meet due to an Achilles' tendon injury that has hampered the junior for the past month.
Champaign Central senior Evan Ellsworth, who is recovering from mononucleosis, will not compete. The 160-pounder was a Big 12 runner-up in 2007 while attending Centennial and placed third last year with the Maroons.
Arcola pitchers to continue careers
ARCOLA – The top two pitchers on Arcola's softball team last spring signed letters of intent to play in college.
Garrnett Stenger will continue her career at St. Mary-of-the-Woods. Mackenzie Thomas signed with Olney Central College.
Last year, Stenger posted a team-high 11 victories and struck out 101 batters in 872/3 innings. She batted .306.
Thomas won seven games and fanned 52 batters in 451/3 innings. She hit .333.
With their help, Arcola was 21-4 last season and played in the sectional finals.
Both athletes were honorable mention All-Area selections in 2008.
Depratt signs with Lincoln College
WESTVILLE – Heathre Depratt signed a national letter of intent to continue her softball career at Lincoln College. A senior at Westville, Depratt is a three-sport standout.
She batted a team-high .402 last year for the Tigers, with 35 hits in 87 at-bats. She was an honorable mention All-Area selection as a catcher.
Bronco to sign with WIU
CERRO GORDO – Derek Shay, a two-time All-Area lineman from Cerro Gordo, will sign a letter of intent next week to play football at Western Illinois University. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive end had 47 tackles as a senior.
Jeff Huth and Fred Kroner