Wrestling storylines: State berths on the line

Wrestling storylines: State berths on the line

Vikings bringing a full house

DANVILLE — Entering nine athletes in a tournament with 14 weight classes, in theory, would make it challenging for a team to contend for hardware at that event.

But coach Terrence Tetter's Danville squad thrived without a complete lineup at last weekend's Class 2A Mahomet-Seymour Regional. Eight Vikings moved on to the Lincoln Sectional, while the ninth — a freshman — placed fourth in his class.

"That's a good feeling," Tetter said. "Mahomet is a heck of a program, and it's always nice to push them and compete with them. But I knew we were behind the 8-ball only bringing nine wrestlers."

The Vikings placed runner-up in the team chase to the host Bulldogs. They did, however, manage three individual titlists to M-S' one thanks to the efforts of Anterrius Turner at 106 pounds, Ty'reese Smith at 126 and Anthony Turner at 132.

Tetter was even in a good mood about his one athlete who fell short of advancement, Eliseo Perez at 138. Perez entered the tournament as a fifth seed with a 17-18 record, but knocked off Westville/Georgetown-Ridge Farm's Jake Lutchka before narrowly losing a third-place decision to Decatur Eisenhower's Jalen Calhoun.

"He'll be there (soon)," Tetter said. "I won't be surprised if he's on the state podium soon."

So Tetter now will haul his crew to Lincoln with the goal of besting Danville's two state qualifications last season.

Of course, having past success doesn't make Tetter any less nervous

"I'm going to hate it because I'm going to have to watch them for two days," Tetter said. "But the more the merrier."

Sages exceeding expectations

MONTICELLO — One can't underestimate the importance of filling a lineup come postseason time. Just ask Monticello coach Andy Moore after his Sages captured a Class 1A regional title last Saturday.

Of his 14 competitors, 10 earned a top-three finish at Shelbyville, led by Ethan O'Linc at 120 pounds and Benton Freeseman at 285 winning titles.

"We were one of the more put-together teams," Moore said. "Everybody contributed. Every single wrestler won a match. We had a couple kids not wrestle quite their best, but then we had a couple other kids step up and wrestle better than expected."

O'Linc qualified for state last season at 106 and went into Saturday's event needing two victories to crack Monticello's all-time top 10 in the statistic.

"Ethan just goes out there and explodes around and moves fast and makes stuff happen at a high pace," Moore said. "(The top-10 goal) just motivated him to go above and beyond getting a regional title."

On the flip side, Moore netted an unexpected performance from Aiden York at 106, who didn't qualify for this weekend's Vandalia Sectional, but his fourth-place finish netted Monticello 15 points.

With plenty of grapplers set to return after the 2017-18 campaign, Moore sees the Sages' present results as perfect building-block material.

"If we can punch through a handful of (state) qualifiers this year with the possibility of going further as a team, it sets the bar higher for next year and the next couple of years," he said. "They'll know what it's like to have success, and hopefully it makes them hungry to get to the next level."

Undermanned Comets shine

FITHIAN — Who was most closely chasing aforementioned Monticello at the 1A Shelbyville Regional last weekend? That would be coach Mike Glosser's Oakwood/Salt Fork group.

The Comets fell short against the Sages, but considering O/SF carried three fewer wrestlers into the competition — and could boast two more individual titlists the Monticello by regional's end — Glosser was thrilled with the showing.

Glosser's approach last Saturday was simple: Don't worry about the team aspect. Glosser believed his Comets would have a hard time capturing a championship, so he requested they "be selfish."

"(I told them) ... if we're meant to win a team title with 11 guys, we will," Glosser said. "If not, then at least we've got our individual successes and we've got guys moving on to the following weekend."

O/SF will send six wrestlers to Vandalia this weekend, including a quartet across the first five weight classes. In addition to respective bracket wins from Gage Reed at 106 pounds, Garrett Lashuay at 126, Ren Dazey at 132 and Mason Ajster at 160, Connor Hutson at 120 and Max Branigin at 195 also advanced.

Glosser's next goal is to send between two and four Comets to State Farm Center next week. The top four finishers in each weight class advance to Champaign.

"I think if the guys go and wrestle the way they should, we should come out with some state qualifiers and looking good for next weekend," he said, "and in good position to try and get some state titles."