State wrestling: By the #s
There are 14 weight classes, but 15 numbers which stand out for prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner, who will be covering the IHSA state wrestling tournament during its three-day run at the Assembly Hall:
That’s one of the magic numbers for Clinton’s 160-pound senior Kye Reczek. He needs two more wins to reach 100 for his career. He needs two more wins to reach 40 for the season, which hasn’t happened at the school in more than a decade. He needs two more wins to assure himself of being Clinton’s first state-medalist since 2007. It would have been appropriate for him to have been ranked second. However, The Illinois Best Weekly rated Reczek third this week.
Consecutive years for LeRoy to have had state placers, the longest active streak in the area. The Panthers have had at least one athlete reach championship matches three years in succession. Overall, in the past five years, the school has had 11 medalists. During the first 46 years the school competed in wrestling, there were four state placers.
Amy and Brian Matlock, from LeRoy, have had three sons qualify for state, totaling seven appearances. Senior Austin Matlock (who is third on the school’s list for all-time wins with 128) is the third athlete ever from the school to compete at state four times in high school. His freshman brother, Cory, will join him this weekend, marking the first time the school has had brothers at state the same year. When Austin was a freshman, the Matlocks became the first family from the community with two sons advancing to state. Cory Matlock was a two-time qualifier.
The News-Gazette’s circulation area had more state medalists in 2012 than in any year since wrestling became a sanctioned IHSA sport. The previous high mark was 12 placers in 1989. Of last year’s 16 elite, the underclassmen who return this year seeking more glory are LeRoy’s Austin Matlock (120), Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher’s Chet McClure (138), Prairie Central’s Evan Bahler (145), Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher’s Josh Wallick (285) and Bismarck-Henning’s Morgan Supergan (285) in Class 1A and Urbana’s Cameron Mammen (170) in Class 2A.
The record number of years for an area school having at least one state-placer. Mahomet-Seymour started that streak in 1977 when Greg Sampson placed fourth at 98 pounds and it continued through 1999 (the second year M-S was in Class 2A) when teammates Aaron Armetta and Andy Ray placed fifth. Equally impressive, in 20 of the final 21 years of The Streak, the Bulldogs had at least one athlete in a state championship match. The exception (1986) was a year the school won the dual-meet state title.
That’s the winning streak for Centennial’s 132-pound Darren Wynn, entering the Class 2A portion of the state meet. A third-year varsity wrestler, Wynn spent most of his season competing at a higher weight class. He entered regionals with four total matches at 132 pounds. He is now 9-0 at his certified weight. His lone loss was to Mount Vernon’s Chase Vosburgh, a sectional champion at 145 pounds.
That’s the overall number of state qualifiers who haven’t lost this season. The breakdown: 15 in 3A, eight in 2A and nine in 1A. Oak Park-River Forest (three) has the most unbeatens. Both Sandburg and Dakota have two qualifiers apiece with perfect records. In all, 28 schools have an unbeaten entrant. Six weight classes have two unbeatens. In 1A, it’s 182. In 2A, it’s 152 and 220. In 3A, it’s 106, 195 and 285.
That’s the cost for author Rob Sherrill’s updated history of the state tournament entitled “Takes From the Mat, Illinois High School Wrestling at 75” which is now available. His original compilation was released in time for the 60th anniversary of the state finals in 1996. His 492-page book is as thorough as any history in any sport, listing not only every state placer, but also every official who has worked state as well as numerous pictures and a plethora of information.
Josh Wallick, the top-ranked 285-pound junior from Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher, will earn recognition beyond being a state champion if he wins all four of his matches this week. At 46-0 for the season, he is on pace to become the area’s first 50-match winner in a season.
For the first time in the 76-year history of the IHSA state finals, Saturday’s title matches will not start at the lightest weight and finish with the heftiest. By blind draw, the 170-pound weight was picked as the beginning point. From there, subsequent matches will be in weight-class order, making the 160-pound class the grand finale. Top-rated 170-pounders — according to The Illinois Best Weekly — are Sandburg’s Colin Holler (3A), Urbana’s Cameron Mammen (2A) and Pittsfield’s Zach Abney (1A).
High schools in Illinois participating in wrestling this year, one under last year’s record total. When the state tournament began in 1937, there were 28 schools which offered the sport.
The last year Urbana High School had a wrestling state champion, it was a senior who was unbeaten entering state and was ranked No. 1 at 185 pounds. His name was Kirk Mammen. This year, the school has an unbeaten senior entering state who is ranked No. 1 at 170 pounds. His name is Cameron Mammen, Kirk’s nephew.
State championships that will have been distributed in Illinois covering the 76 years of the tournament’s existence when this year’s event ends. There were nine weight classes for the inaugural one-class 1937 event and there are 14 weight divisions now in three different classes. In the history of the sport in the state, just 11 athletes have emerged as four-time champions. This year’s field has no three-time winners.
The year Fred Kroner graduated from high school and the year the IHSA relocated the state wrestling finals to the Assembly Hall. This marks the 41st straight year the event has been in the building. Kroner has covered the state finals for a daily newspaper for 37 consecutive years.
Last year of the IHSA’s current contract with the Assembly Hall to host the finals, which got their start in Champaign. The first tournament was held March 5-6, 1937 at the West Great Hall beneath the west stands of Memorial Stadium