MORRIS – Shabbona eighth grade 112-pound wrestler Connor Shaw was one of nine area wrestlers to win a sectional championship this past weekend, in the process gaining a berth and a top seed at the IESA State Finals.
In total, 22 area grapplers will be traveling to DeKalb and the NIU Convocation Center after finishing in the top three at the Reed-Custer Sectional.
Dates for the upcoming tournament are March 14 and 15.
Shaw is currently 36-2 on the season and he heads up a list of sectional champions that also includes: Alex Friddle (80 pounds) of Coal City, Cody Hoshell (85) of Troy, Jeremy Pullen (90 pounds) of Troy, Danny Norton (126 pounds) of Coal City, Jared Moreno (135 pounds) of Minooka, Jerad Price (185 pounds) of Channahon, Derek Wentworth (215 pounds) of Minooka and Nick Pauly (275 pounds) of Troy.
Shaw was both a seventh and eighth grade Illinois Valley Conference champion and follows Shabbona state qualifiers Tony Menozi and Andrew Smith from last winter.
“Conner is more than impressive,” Shabbona coach Matt Mazgay said in a newsrelease on Tuesday. “He has become an absolutely dominant wrestler.”
Shaw defeated Jonathon Pullen of Troy – another area qualifier – at Braidwood to claim the championship. This after winning his first two bouts.
“I won the first two. The third match was against a wrestler from Troy,” Shaw said. “Somehow, I got a bloody nose during the match.”
Despite that he defeated Jonathon Pullen 8-4 to gain the higher seed starting on Friday, but both are moving on.
“He is more than ready for this competition and should do great,” Mazgay said of Shaw’s chances this weekend.
Shaw will wrestle the winner of the (Dee-Mack) Gary Cates vs. (Bloomington) Jack Henry bout in the first round.
Jonathon Pullen opens with Jake Simon of Twin Groves in the preliminaries.
As mentioned, Shaw is one of nine area wresters receiving a first-round bye for winning the Reed-Custer Sectional. Friddle will face either Sam Spencer (Lake in the Hills) or Gavin Braun (Barrington Station); Hoshell gets either Colten Bishop (Dixon Reagan) or Tyler Bachara of Darien Eisenhower; Jeremy Pullen will face Kale Venhuizen (Port Byron Riverdale) or Braiden Tisdale (Lincoln); Norton will get either Angel Solis (DeKalb Clinton Rosette) or Triston Davidson (Jacksonville Turner); Moreno faces either Nick Dimaggio (Lake Zurich North) or Luke Shobe (Clinton); Price will get either Quintin Janney (Island lake Matthews) or Zach Warnock (Homer Glen); Wentworth faces either Tyler Ward (Lake in the Hills) or Skyler Hufeld (Normal Parkside) and Pauley will get either Jake Estes (Wheeling London) or Collin Wilson (Jane Adams).
In addition to Jonathon Pullen, there will also be 12 others who will have to win a preliminary bout on Friday.
Those include second place finishers in Michael Carey (Minooka), Christian Rojas (Troy), Nick Daniel (Minooka), Ryan Wasielewski (Coal City), Jake Ryan (Channahon), T.J. Jezik (Coal City), Kole Vaught (Channahon), Jack Malloy (Channahon) and Danny McMillin (Channahon) and third place finishers Nick Gantt (Troy), John Nowak (Minooka) and Drew Gould (Minooka).
Carey will have to beat Ben Blevins (Prospect Heights McArthur); Rojas opens with Derek Owens (Mattoon); Daniel starts action with Matt Joyce (Prospect Heights MacArthur); Wasielewski needs to beat Nolan Throne (Taylor Ridge Rockridge); Jake Ryan opens with Mario Guevara (Gompers); Jezik starts the prelims with T.J. Mayberry (Canton Ingersol); Vaught kicks things off against Clint Schielein (Dixon Reagan); Malloy starts with Joel Large (Jacksonville Turner) and McMillin opens the event by wrestling Matt Kuehn (Fox Lake Station).
The third place finishers are in a similar boat on Friday, though they have to face a higher seed in the preliminaries.
That includes Gantt, who goes up against Hunter Janssen (Canton Ingersoll); Nowak, who has to overcome Austin Butlert of Johnsburg) and Gould, who has to press past Kameron Chappell (Jacksonville Turner).