Chart toppers: Best bets to win state wrestling titles this weekend, courtesy Marcus Jackson
On a team with a host of wrestlers ranked near the top of their respective weight classes, the 220-pound senior stands out. After reaching the final four last year, Simmons has put together a 37-2 senior campaign and is the top-ranked wrestler at his weight entering this weekend's state finals. He's beaten three wrestlers ranked in the Top 15 and might have to get through second-ranked Aaron Ford of Argenta-Oreana to win a Class 1A championship.
A state qualifier a year ago, the 160-pound senior has vaulted into the upper echelon of grapplers in his class this season. Armetta has fashioned a 35-1 record, boasting wins against highly regarded Lucas Rusk of Rock Island and Zach Nohns of Normal West. Armetta, ranked second in Class 2A, won the Pontiac Invitational at 170 pounds and also has captured titles at Springfield and Mahomet-Seymour.
Another in the outstanding group of Panther wrestlers, the 138-pound senior enters the state finals unbeaten at 38-0 and ranked second in his weight class. Meyers finished second in Class 1A last year, and six of his wins this season have come against wrestlers ranked in the Top 15, including two against fourth-ranked Ben Pintar of Eureka and one against fifth-ranked Derrick Morford of Mercer County.
The unbeaten junior (26-0) rides a wave of momentum into this weekend's finals after a stellar showing at the Class 2A Mount Zion Sectional. The 170-pounder defeated top-ranked and previously unbeaten Jake Tindle of Troy Triad before defeating fourth-ranked Alex Bee of Chatham Glenwood en route to winning the sectional championship. It's the second straight year that Mammen, who has won invites at Lincoln, Morton and Urbana, has qualified for the state finals.
The senior reached the Class 2A semis at 189 pounds last year as a junior before losing to the eventual state champ. Williams enters the state finals this weekend ranked third at 182 with a 37-2 record after spending much of the season wrestling at 195 pounds. The Big 12 champion at 195 also won the Prairie Central Invitational at 195 but must bounce back from a loss in the Mount Zion Sectional championship bout. Watch out for teammate Deonte Adams (195), too.