SPRINGFIELD – After finishing second last year at the Class 1A state tournament, the Coal City wrestling team served notice to the rest of the state that the Coalers will be a force to be reckoned with again this season by winning the Abe's Rumble Classic at the Prairie Capital Convention Center.
The Coalers, currently ranked No. 3 in the state in Class 1A by illinoismatmen.com, topped second-ranked Lena-Winslow/Stockton in the title match, 35-30.
Danny Norton’s 13-3 major decision over Kyle Kalkbrenner in a battle of state qualifiers at 160 helped boost the Coalers to the victory..
Rahveon Valentine (170) and Elijah Rowe (182) opened with the match with pins to give Lena-Winslow/Stockton a 12-0 lead, but Bryan Stopka won at 195 and Brock Crawford scored a pin at 220 to narrow the gap to 12-9 for Coal City. Lena's Ian Kuehl then recorded a pin at 285 to make it 18-9.
Coal City won the next three matches, with Alex Friddle edging Austin Vincent, 2-1, in a battle of state placewinners at 113, to tie the match at 18, and state placewinner Jake Hiles’ pin at 120 gave the Coalers their first lead at 24-18. Lena-Winslow's Winston McPeek (126) tied the match again, this time at 24, with a pin, but Coal City's Ryan Wasilewski posted an 8-7 decision over state placewinner Hunter Luke at 132 to give Coal City the lead for good, 27-24.
In Thursday’s opening round against Sherrard, the Coalers' match ended in a 36-36 tie – one the Coalers squeaked through with an advantage in near-fall points.
Coal City then beat Macomb, 49-24 in the quarterfinals and Olympia, 50-24 in the semifinals.
Seneca finished 24th at the 42-team event, scoring wins over Pittsfield, Heyworth and Lawrenceville in pool action and St. Joe-Ogden in bracket action.
Coal City 77, Yorkville Christian 50: In the consolation bracket at the Plano Christmas Classic, the Coalers jumped out to a 27-5 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. Coal City placed three players in double digits in the Tuesday victory, as Christian Johnson scored 16, Blake Harseim added 14 and Zach Nolan 11.
Lisle 64, Coal City 42: The Coalers were within 12-9 at the end of the first quarter at the Plano Christmas Classic on Wednesday, but Lisle outscored them 27-11 in the second to take control. Jake Brnca led Coal City with 14 points, while Christian Johnson scored 11.
Newark 65, Burlington Central 57: The Norsemen (9-1) got 22 points from Dylan Patrick and 21 from Will Clausel in the tournament semifinals and upset the top seed. The Norsemen, who finished third in the tournament last season, will take on Ottawa for the title Friday night at 8.
St. Bede 43, Seneca 41: At the St Bede Tournament. the Lady Irish spotted the hosts an 18-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and trailed 27-14 at halftime.
"We just couldn't overcome St. Bede's great start," Seneca coach Barb Beck said. "The ladies had a great second half and just came up a little short."
Lyda Robinson and Cora Wilkinson each had 11 points and six rebounds for Seneca (8-9), while Lexi Greve had 11 points and five boards.
Lincoln-Way East 62, Minooka 49: In the championship game of the Lincoln-Way East Medieval Classic, the Indians got 24 points from all-tournament selection Brooklynn Bachmann, but saw their eight-game winning streak snapped.
Minooka 47, Lincoln-Way Central 31: At the Lincoln-Way East Medieval Classic, Brooklyn Bachmann scored 17 points to help the Indians improve to 11-2 and advance to the tournament championship. Jenna Roberts, Cierra Bachmann and Savannah Johnson all scored seven points for Minooka as well.
Kewanee 62, Seneca 39: At the St. Bede Christmas Tournament, Cora Wilkinson scored a team-high 11 points for Seneca, while Lyda Robinson had eight points and six rebounds. Liz Logan and Eva Bruno each finished with six points.
Elgin St. Edward 67, Coal City 45: At the Lisle Tournament, the Coalers got 10 points from Mackenzie Bugg and nine from Maddie Holladay in the opening round loss.
Lisle 42, Coal City 32: In the consolation bracket at the Lisle Tournament, Bridget Kauzlaric led Coal City with 11 points, while Mackenzie Bugg scored 10 and Kenady Clayburn added six.
Coal City 39, Hinckley-Big Rock 24: At the Lisle Tournament, Mackenzie Bugg scored a team-leading 15 points for the Coalers, while Bridget Kauzlaric added 13.
Wheaton Academy 53, Coal City 51: At the Lisle Tournament, the Coalers rallied to outscore Wheaton Academy 20-10 in the fourth quarter, but the comeback bid fell just short. Bridget Kauzlaric had 23 points and nine rebounds to lead Coal City (7-10), while Mackenzie Bugg had 16 points and seven boards. Cali Caruso chipped in with 10 points.
Dwight 40, Gardner-South Wilmington 36: Celia Barna had a team-high 15 points for GSW (13-5) in the loss.
Gardner-South Wilmington 58, Wilmington 27: The Panthers finished third in the Momence Tournament as Celia Barna and Jenni Price each had 12 points. Price added nine steals as well.
Coal City to host tournament Jan. 29: The tournament, which is open to any boy or girl in second grade or older, will be held Sunday, Jan. 29 at Coal City High School. The entry fee is $48 per eight-person team, and there re a maximum of 20 teams per session. Admission fee for spectators will be $2 for both adults and students.
To enter, a team manager will get a team of at least eight players, and only the manager will need to send in the pre-registration form and entry fee to McDowell. Any questions can be directed to McDowell by calling (815) 735-6387 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only the team manager needs to fill out and return the registration form (with fee) by Jan 28. Checks should be made payable to “Coal City Baseball” and returned to Jerry McDowell, 235 W. Division St., Coal City, IL 60416 or the Coal City Middle School office. All participants must sign an insurance liability form found on the back in order to participate.
Also, on Jan 29, there will be a sports card and collectible show from noon until 3 p.m. in the high school cafeteria . If interested in setting up your own table, contact Terry Gill at 634-2456.