State champions will be crowned across 14 weight classes in Class 1A, 2A and 3A, respectively, at the State Farm Center on the campus of the University Illinois in Champaign at the 2017 IHSA Individual Wrestling State Finals. The three-day tourney will begin on Thursday, February 16 and conclude on Saturday, February 18.
Every match this weekend in Champaign will be streamed live on the NFHS Network via www.IHSA.tv with a subscription, while every state championship matche will also be rebroadcast on Comcast Sports Net Chicago beginning February 28 (click for times/channel info). IHSA broadcasts are brought to you by COUNTRY Financial.
Visit Champaign County encourages all coaches, student-athletes and fans attending this weekend to get info on the tournament and area from www.LegendsPlayHere.com.
Saturday evening’s Grand March, which precedes the state championship matches, will be led by Mike Bukovsky, Jim Chaloupka, Dave Curby, and Ray Winesburg, who have been named this year's Grand Marshals.
In addition, the Illinois Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association (IWCOA) recently named its 2017 Hall of Fame Class, who will also be recognized over the weekend.
One of the weekend's top storylines will occur in Class 3A at 152 pounds, as St. Rita's Austin O’Connor looks to become the 15th wrestler in state history to win four individual state titles. Another storyline also comes from the city of Chicago, as the Chicago Tribune recently chronicled the rise of the Bowen High School program under the guidance of head coach Ron Wilson.
To get ready for the state final weekend, take a look back at season-long rankings courtesy of Rob Sherrill, the Illinois Matmen and Go Earn It Apparel.
Then see who the Illinois Matmen predict will win in Champaign.
An Illinois wrestling historian, Sherrill provided the preview below, highlighting some of the key storylines entering the state meet.
Rob Sherrill Preview:
Three months of preliminaries are over. The weekend every Illinois high school wrestling fan has been looking forward to has arrived.
Starting Thursday afternoon, you’ll be watching the individual state championships inside wrestling’s most tradition-filled arena, the State Farm Center in Champaign.
Austin O’Connor (152) of St. Rita will be trying to become the state’s 16th four-time champion. If the University of North Carolina recruit is successful, he will be the first to accomplish the feat since 2015, and the first in big-class 3A since 2014. O’Connor (42-0) won his previous three titles at 106 pounds in 2014, at 132 in 2015 and at 145 last year.
Two other seniors, Austin Gomez (138) of Glenbard North in 3A and Jacob Warner (195) of Washington in 2A, will be trying to end their careers as three-time state champions. Iowa State University recruit Gomez (42-1), who has not lost to an Illinois opponent since his sophomore year, is projected to meet fellow senior Jaime Hernandez of Oak Park-River Forest in a state finals rematch of their Conant sectional semifinal bout, won 3-1 by Gomez. Warner (37-0), a University of Iowa recruit, is ranked No. 1 nationally at his weight class by WIN magazine.
The state’s defending 106-pound champions in 3A and 2A, respectively, junior Joey Melendez (41-4) of Montini and sophomore Travis Ford-Melton (36-3) of Marian Catholic, will meet far sooner than most would like – in the 3A quarterfinals at 113. What might have been the state’s only final matching defending champions was derailed when Melendez was pinned in the semifinals of the Downers Grove North sectional by Tommy Russell of St. Rita. Another Marian Catholic wrestler, senior Kordell Norfleet (39-0), will try to add a 3A title at 182 pounds to the 2A title he won at 170 as a junior.
Ten other wrestlers will try to win their second titles. In 3A, senior Michael McGee (39-0) of Plainfield East at 120, committed to Old Dominion University, and junior Real Woods (32-2) of Montini at 126 were 2015 champions. Both finished second last year. Senior Jason Renteria (36-2) of Oak Park-River Forest will try to add a 132-pound title to the 120-pound title he won as a junior.
In addition to Warner, 2A powerhouse Washington has two other returning champions, University of Missouri signee Dack Punke (37-2) at 120 and junior Tyler Delaware (30-6) at 126. Junior We Rachal (30-1) of Chicago Washington at 132 and senior Lenny Petersen (34-4) of Crystal Lake Central at 138 will try to repeat at the same weight classes they won last year.
Northern Illinois University recruit Nolan Baker (39-0) of Byron will try to cap his second straight unbeaten season in 1A at 145. Juniors Tyler Fleetwood (36-2) of Fulton at 120 and Chase Bittle (42-1) of Belleville Althoff at 126 also will try to repeat.
For more notes on each class, finish the Rob Sherrill preview by clicking here.
Rob Sherrill is the author of Tales From the Mat: Illinois High School Wrestling at 75. A frequent contributor to the Illinois Matmen web site, he is the administrator of the GEI/illinoismatmen.com state rankings. He has covered wrestling in Illinois for 35 years for a variety of publications, including the Chicago Sun-Times, and has published The Illinois Best Weekly for 32 seasons. Also a high school wrestling analyst at the national level, Sherrill is the National High School Editor for WIN magazine.
80th annual State Series
49th year at State Farm Center
State Farm Center
University of Illinois
Visit Champaign County
Thursday, February 16
1:00 PM - 1A Prelims
3:00 PM - 2A Prelims
5:00 PM - 3A Prelims
Friday, February 17
8:30 AM - 1A Quarterfinals & Wrestlebacks
11:00 AM - 2A Quarterfinals & Wrestlebacks
1:30 PM - 3A Quarterfinals & Wrestlebacks
7:00 PM - Semifinals
Saturday, February 18
9:00 AM - 1A-3A Quarterfinal
11:00 AM - 1A-3A Semifinal
1:00 PM - 1A-3A 3rd/4th/5th/6th Place
5:30 PM - Grand March &
State Championship Matches
(begin at 152 lbs, 160, 170, etc.)
BRACKETS & RESULTS
Track Wrestling Results by Class/Weight/Day
$8 or $10 per session
All matches available LIVE on www.IHSA.tv
CSN Chicago Finals Recap Rebroadcast Schedule
WCCI 100.3 FM (Savanna)
Area schools and general 1A & 2A coverage
OFFICIAL STATE FINAL
Gear from Minerva
Photos from VIP
SOCIAL MEDIA #IHSA
Twitter - @IHSAstate
Instagram - @IHSA_IL
Classic IHSA YouTube Video
Wilson Sporting Goods
HISTORY & RECORDS
2017 State Series Results:
1A - 2A - 3A
Record Book & Past Champions