Bulletin board: Panthers seek to end streak
LeROY — For the past four years, LeRoy's state-ranked wrestling team has had placers at the individual state finals. However, the school has not had an individual state champ since heavyweight RON OLIVER was victorious in 1984.
Coach DOUG DeWALD believes this can be the year the school's fortunes change.
"All eight of our guys (who qualified) are capable of doing great things," DeWald said.
Six of the eight have been to state before, and two (DEVIN BULINGTON and JUSTIN MEYERS) are two-time state placers.
"Those guys know how to win down there, and I fully expect them to do some damage," DeWald said. "Our preparation this year has been outstanding, and we train for this weekend.
"If we can come in with the right mind-set, wrestle smart and understand the toughness level needed in situational wrestling, we will come home with some state place winners."
Four of the LeRoy veterans are 100-match winners, and a fifth, junior AUSTIN MATLOCK (98-24), could join them this weekend. Bulington is 156-8 in his four years, Meyers is 137-18, JOHN MORRELL is 122-41 and BRAD SIMMONS is 103-33.
Morrell (119) and Meyers (118) rank first and second, respectively, for single-season takedowns. Bulington holds the record for most career pins (100), reaching that milestone with his sectional title-match fall.
Senior Josh Johnson and sophomores TY SANDY and CALEB WILSON are the team's other qualifiers.
Armetta continues climb
MAHOMET — Senior AUSTIN ARMETTA had one pin at last week's sectional, but it was enough to move him into a tie for fourth place on Mahomet-Seymour's list for career falls. He has 75, the same number recorded by 1988 heavyweight state runner-up TIM HOLDERER. A four-time state qualifier, Armetta has 127 varsity wins and 306 takedowns in his prep career. One other M-S athlete, TYLER MOXLEY, also qualified for state. The junior has 76 career wins.
Monticello grapplers make mark
MONTICELLO — One of Monticello's three senior state qualifiers is a 100-match winner who is also among the school's all-time leaders. LUKE DUNN has 111 career wins and ranks sixth overall with 88 takedowns this season and seventh with 210 in his career. His 36 wins this year are fifth all time for a season. The record (42) is held by current UI wrestler KYLE DOOLEY.
CLAY WRIGHT has 105 career wins. RAMSEY HOSS (92 career wins) is the Sages' other state meet competitor.
Ex-Sage has program on rise
CARLYLE — JACK ZVONAR, a 1988 Monticello graduate, started the wrestling program at Carlyle High School three years ago. This year, he will coach four of his athletes — including his son, 126-pound ZACK — at the three-day state meet.
Falcons seek to maintain trend
GIBSON CITY — During the team's current three-year streak of having at least one state placer, the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher cooperative has produced nine medalists. Four squad members have a chance to add to that total, including DYLAN DONNER, who is seventh all time at GCMS/F with 61 career falls, and CHET McCLURE, who is seventh all time with 11 technical falls. Donner added one pin to his total at sectionals. Teammates at state represent the lightest (106-pound CAMERON SCHWING) and the heaviest (285-pound JOSH WALLICK) weight divisions. All four have posted at least 32 wins this season.
Cousins sign with Parkland
CHAMPAIGN — Seniors SHELBY FRANZEN, from St. Joseph-Ogden, and HUNTER MARSH, from Salt Fork, have played summer softball together since they were 6 but have never been teammates in high school.
Next year, they will be together for the entire school year. Both softball standouts, who can play multiple positions, signed letters of intent last week to continue their careers with coach Chuck Clutts' Parkland College team.
As juniors, both girls were All-Area honorable mention selections.
Houmes picks Bradley
HOOPESTON — LAUREN HOUMES, who placed sixth in the Class 1A cross-country state meet in November, signed a letter of intent to continue her running career at Bradley University. Houmes plans to major in nursing.
Houmes ran the 3-mile state-meet course in 17 minutes, 50 seconds.
Unit 4 Pool to host sectional
CHAMPAIGN — Berths in the state swimming and diving meet will be on the line Saturday, when the Centennial Sectional takes place at Unit 4 Pool. Diving begins at 9 a.m., with the first swimming event scheduled for 1 p.m.
Swimmers can qualify for state by placing first or by attaining qualifying times. In diving, winners at each of 16 sectionals around the state automatically qualify. In addition, the 32 highest-scoring non-champions advance as at-large qualifiers.
The state meet is Feb. 24-25 at Evanston.
Ten schools with full teams are assigned to the Centennial Sectional. The sectional also includes 22 other schools that may enter individuals.
Champaign Central, the 2011 sectional team champion, returns defending champions in four individual events. Maroons senior Sam Stewart won the 200-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly last year. Classmate Blake Lehmann is the sectional's reigning 50 and 100 freestyle champ.
McGill to help with Y fundraiser
CHAMPAIGN — Ex-Champaign Central swimming standout Tyler McGill is scheduled to attend Friday's "Sneak Peek" fundraiser at the new Champaign County YMCA in southwest Champaign.
McGill, a bronze medalist in the 2011 FINA World Championships, will meet with fans and sign autographs. Tickets for the catered event are $50, with all proceeds going to Strong Kids Scholarships. The scholarship program provides access to classes and activities at the Champaign County YMCA for children and families in need.
The new YMCA building is at 2501 Fields South Drive, C. The Sneak Peek event begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at both current YMCA facilities.
McGill was a four-time IHSA state champion from 2004 to '06 before going on to an All-America collegiate career at Auburn. He is a member of the U.S. National Team.
Jeff Huth and Fred Kroner