Champ's return gives Urbana lift

Champ's return gives Urbana lift

URBANA — Illinois wrestling commit Luke Luffman will return to Urbana coach Chuck Trabaris' lineup at today's Twin City meet at Champaign Central.

With just three seniors on his squad, Trabaris needs all the role model-type grapplers he can get. Luffman, who has been dealing with an undisclosed injury, falls right in line after capturing the Class 2A 220-pound crown as a sophomore last season.

"He's been at every practice, been a leader in the room, coaching from the sidelines," Trabaris said. "But now the kids get to see exactly why he was a state champion last year."

Luffman's return moves senior A.J. Fox back to 182 pounds, a class in which he placed sixth at state in 2017. Fox is feeling his oats already this season, with a victory in the Lincoln Tournament's 182 field.

"A.J.'s brought a lot to the table here," Trabaris said. "He's never backed down from a challenge, and that's the best thing about A.J. He just meets it and keeps coming."

It's not just the two state qualifiers who make a difference for Urbana, though. Trabaris said he's been especially impressed with senior 152-pounder Polycarp Amosun, specifically because the second-year grappler is taking younger teammates under his wing this season.

Trabaris also highlighted the efforts from juniors Michael Monreal and Jeremy Macharo, who have filled in for Luffman while he's been on the mend.

A young team could be seen as a detriment heading into the Twin City, but Trabaris is using it as a positive from the perspective of opposing wrestlers won't have quite so many reads on his newcomers.

"For all my young kids coming in, the big thing they've got to do is just have confidence," Trabaris said. "Trust what they work on in the practice room, go with what they know and grind out some tough wins."