What to watch for, courtesy prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner
Five area athletes are projected as state finalists in their respective weights, including three LeRoy teammates — Devin Bulington, Justin Meyers and Brad Simmons — and Mahomet-Seymour's Austin Armetta and Urbana's Cameron Mammen, but there will be plenty of other storylines to follow this weekend. Among them:
Future teammates seek more glory. Last year in Class 1A, Reed-Custer's Billy Chancey won the 145-pound title and Winnebago's Trace Engelkes was triumphant at 152 pounds. This year, they are both contenders at 160 pounds. They are in opposite brackets, but only one of the two future Northern Illinois football players can emerge atop the winner's podium.
Heavyweights want bragging rights. According to the Illinois Best Weekly, the top-ranked 285-pounder in Class 1A is Byron's Reid Sealby and the second-ranked grappler is Riverdale's Mitchell Keppy. Next year, they will both be on the football roster at Iowa.
Can twins double their success? Morrison's Mark McDonnell weighs 145 pounds while twin brother Matt checks in at 195 pounds, but they are identical in another way. Each of the seniors is top-ranked in his respective Class 1A weight classes entering the 16-person challenge this weekend. In his first three years of high school, Mark had a third-place, a second-place and a first-place finish at state.
Will prep newcomer make his mark? Rich Central junior Nkosi Moody was home-schooled until this year and had no high school background in the sport. He was well known throughout the country, however, as a junior cadet national champion. The 106-pounder enters his first state meet in Class 2A as the top-ranked entry.
Former champs on collision course. Last year, Fenwick's Matt Garelli was the 103-pound champion in Class 3A. Two years ago, Montini's KeVon Powell was the 103-pound titlist in 2A. This weekend, they are in opposite brackets of the Class 2A 120-pound division, and the unbeaten Garelli is regarded as the pre-tournament favorite.
New school, new class, same result? Last year, Jered Cortez attended Aurora Marmion and won the 2A 112-pound state title. He's now at Glenbard North and unbeaten and top-ranked in Class 3A at 120 pounds. On the opposite side of his bracket is last year's 3A 112-pound state titlist, Hinsdale South's Sebastian Pique.