Most wrestling coaches refer to this time of year as the championship season. It’s when grapplers fight to learn just how good they are and where they stand with others in their weight class in the state.
For Morris, that means taking a trip to LaSalle-Peru for the Class 2A regional; for Minooka that means heading to the Class 3A Bourbonnais Regional; for Coal City it is staying home for a Class 1A regional and for Seneca it heads to Class 1A Stillman Valley Regional.
“We have a very tough regional and sectional again this year,” Morris coach Jon Lanning said. “When it comes to wrestling, there are so many good teams in 1, 2 and 3A that there really is no place to hide in a regional or sectional anymore. So many talented wrestlers that you have to do something to separate yourself from your opponent.”
Lanning’s projected lineup looks something like this: Tony Menozi (19-12) at 106 pounds; Andrew Smith (19-9) at 113; Ethan Elleson (2-9) at 120; Dominic Byerly (9-16) at 126; Kenny Baldridge (32-0) at 132; A.J. Vota (20-12) at 138; Merrick Hairapetian (1-3) at 145; Emmet Chouinard (15-15) at 152; Trevor Allbert (25-7) at 160; Ryan Kowalczyk (4-22) at 170; Victor Touisaint (3-10) at 195; Dalton Ness (25-7) at 220 and Andrew Faught (16-12) at 285.
“The boys have been working hard in their two-a-day workouts twice a week plus normal practices over the past month,” Lanning said. “We are in our final push. We have to be in better shape than our opponents an just flat outwork them. If we do that, we will have a very successful postseason.”
Yegge thinks the Stillman Valley Regional/Byron Sectional is just as loaded.
“We have heard and seen at the state finals what this sectional has produced,” Yegge said. “This sectional seems to be very deep in quality wrestlers and it will be a challenge for all of our athletes to advance and qualify for state this year.”
Yegge’s projected lineup includes: Tyler Draine (16-13) at 160 pounds; Sage Friese (34-2) at 126; Kyle Sigmon (9-14) at 132; Anthony Haase (1-2) at 138; Cole Klicker (14-18) at 145; Bryce Coyle (22-12) at 152; Zach Russell (24-9) at 160; Dayton Coyle (28-11) at 170; Tommy Lovett (28-7) at 182 and Wyatt Rodriguez (13-19) at 195.
“I truly believe we have four or five athletes that can compete at a high enough level to challenge for a state berth,” Yegge said. “Hopefully we are ready to compete at a higher level on Saturday.”
Coal City coach Mark Masters said his team is looking good at the right time.
“We are starting to peak at the right time,” he said. “For the most part we are as healthy as we have been all year. Our guys have been competing every week in practice as well as our competitions.”
Master’s projected lineup includes: Casey Brown (35-3); Nate Buck (12-12); Taylor Cirrenicone (12-9); Anthony Combes (0-1); Brock Crawford (3-8); Jonah Englert (18-13); Jake Frost (20-13); Dakota Gagnon (3-5); Matt Girot (4-1); Noel Gomes (5-5); Brian Harris (5-2); Corey Jurzak (25-3); Riley Kauzlaric (28-12); Alec Leasure (9-9); Alex Medina (6-14); Cody Minnick (37-1); Joey Rivera (33-9) and Bryan Stopka (2-10).
Minooka’s projected lineup includes: John Callahan (7-7) at 160 pounds; KJ Minor (29-11) at 113; Andrew Potts (9-21) at 120; Bret Miller (6-16) at 126; Shane Mart (22-19) at 132; Nate Vaught (15-15) at 138; Kenny Kirkland (11-13) at 145; Carson Oughton (28-4) at 152; Jon Pickett (4-4) at 160; Chris Hiscock (27-11) at 170; Josh Bouie (25-13) at 182; Erik McMillin (6-11) 195; Erik Velazquez (33-7) at 220 and Kyle Williamson (7-16) at 285.