WEEK 15 PREVIEW
Man, these previews get easier each week during the season, because we’re at the point where we only have to focus on one thing. This week, that happens to be the IHSA Individual State Tournament – the pinnacle of individual achievement for high school wrestlers in the state of Illinois, and one of the most highly regarded state tournaments in the nation. Just as each of the last two weeks were entirely focused on the regional and sectional tournaments, this week is all about everyone doing as best as they can at an individual level in the state tournament. We have had two of the best consecutive weeks of wrestling that any of our coaches have ever been a part of (I’m going to go ahead and speak for everyone on that), and we should hopefully be able to keep that momentum going. Last week, I wrote: “Hopefully, our wrestlers can put together another fantastic week, and we'll be able to set a new record for state qualifiers in one season (current record is 7 qualifiers). We have a very legitimate possibility of doing exactly that. We just need to do what we have been - wrestling up to our own abilities.” Our wrestlers delivered – and then some, qualifying 12 wrestlers for the state tournament – absolutely destroying our previous record. Heck, we had 9 wrestlers in the championships alone! The 5 sectional champions is also a new Lockport record.
The time schedule has already been released for the Individual State Wrestling Tournament, which starts this Thursday at the State Farm Center (formerly known as Assembly Hall) at the University of Illinois in Champaign. Although the team will be heading down early for weigh-ins, the start time for 3A to begin wrestling in Session I on Thursday is scheduled for approximately 5:00pm. I started writing this out for each day, but honestly, click the link for the schedule - it is presented far more clearly than is possible in paragraph form.
Brackets are already out as well, and you can find those here. Remember, while looking at these, that only the sectional champions are seeded – and even then, it’s by a predetermined points system based on accomplishments from this season as well as last season. The bracket is then created with a schematic, with those 4 seeds in mind. The 1st and 4th place finishers from any given sectional will be on one half of the bracket, while the 2nd and 3rd place finishers will be on the other. Each wrestler from a sectional is separated from the others so that they each feed into a different spot in the semifinals as well.
The most notable thing to remember about the state tournament is the importance of the first match. Any wrestler who wins their first match is guaranteed to have a total of at least three matches in the tournament. But, if a wrestler loses their first match, the wrestler that beat them must win their quarterfinal bout in order for that wrestler to be pulled back into the wrestlebacks. In other words, should you lose your first match, and the guy that beats you loses his next match, your tournament is over. It’s a shame we don’t have full wrestlebacks, but it’s the system we have for now, for better or worse.
WEEK 14 RECAP
If Regional week was a good week, then Sectional week was a great week! We set new program records for the number of state qualifiers and the number of sectional champions. Our 12 state qualifiers was more than that of any other team in the state from any of the three classes. It was a great tournament, and our kids really showed just how special of a team they are, and how much potential they have as individuals.
If you want an individual by individual run down of the sectional tournament, you can have it! Click here for the full recap from sectionals.
Haley Augello (King University): The Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) National Championships took place this past Friday and Saturday, and to the surprise of absolutely no one, Haley Augello is now a 3-time champion! Competing at 116 pounds, Haley routed the competition on the way to the finals, winning her first four bouts 10-0, 10-0, 11-0, and then a fall in 0:39 that would have been another 10-0 technical fall. In the finals, Augello took on Cady Chessin of Menlo College, who gave Haley her closest match, but Haley walked away with an 8-3 victory and a third national championship in three tries. Fantastic work!!
Luis Montoya (Elmhurst College): Elmhurst picked up their eighth CCIW Championship on Thursday, winning by a narrow 1.5 point margin over Augustana. The top five teams were only 7 points apart from one another in the final team scores – an incredibly close margin. Montoya, who has bounced between weights as a spot starter this season, was an integral part of this win. Taken directly from the Elmhurst College recap, “Luis Montoya placed fifth at 197 pounds. He dropped his opening round contest 10-0 to Wheaton's Mikey Swider, but rebounded to defeat Augustana's Ethan Benoit 3-1 in the consolation round. Montoya fell 5-2 to North Central's Tyler Vittal in the consolation semifinals, but he took fifth-place after earning a medical forfeit win over Swider.”
Shaun'Qae McMurtry (Northern Illinois University): This past Sunday was Senior Day at Northern Illinois University, so Qae was taking the mat at NIU for the final time in his career. Happily, he ended his home career with a victory, defeating Buffalo’s Tyler Rill by a score of 7-6 to kick off the dual meet.
Vince Dietz (St. Cloud State University): Dietz continued to pile up the wins this week, posting a 2-0 record for the Huskies in their two duals. In Thursday’s dual against Upper Iowa University, Dietz picked up a fall, as he often does, in 5:49. Saturday, the Huskies dominated the University of Mary, and Dietz earned a 16-4 major decision for the win.
Dan Radcliffe (Central College): Central squared off against Simpson College on Thursday, and Dan Radcliffe added another tally to the win column for his season thus far, picking up an 8-6 decision over Jason Kiehne and doing his part in pushing Central to a dominant 37-3 victory.
Brian Rossi (Stanford University): Rossi got the nod on Sunday as Stanford defeated San Francisco State, 33-11, and he didn’t even have to fly in and make weight on short notice this week! Having some mat time back underneath him over the last week, Rossi looked much more polished, as he picked away at SF’s Matt Gamble, earning an 8-3 victory at 125 pounds. (Bonus fact: In 2013, Brian Rossi took 2nd at 113 in Junior Freestyle at Fargo. Gamble took 4th. Brian defeated Gamble by 11-0 TF in the pool round of the tournament)
Brad Johnson (Oklahoma University): Oklahoma had two duals this week, and Johnson split his record between the two. On Friday, Oklahoma downed Wyoming 19-18, in large part due to Brad scoring bonus points in earning a 16-7 major decision victory over his opponent. Sunday, however, Oklahoma traveled to Oklahoma State for Brad’s final Bedlam meet. Brad dropped a very close bout to OSU’s 8th ranked Preston Weigel, 4-3. That said, Brad is very happy he’ll never have to be in the OSU gym and the sea of orange ever again.
Shayne Oster (Northwestern University): Oster posted a 1-1 record on the week as Northwestern closed out their dual meet portion of the season. Friday night, the Wildcats were out in Maryland, where Shayne scored a fall in 1:44 for the win at 149, and even threw in a rare stare-down on top of it. The win helped propel Northwestern to a 23-16 dual meet victory. Sunday, however, Shayne found himself taking a loss against Rutger’s 14th ranked Ken Theobold by a score of 10-3.