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 2016 IHSA Individual Wrestling State Finals. The three-day tourney will begin on Thursday, February 18 and conclude on Saturday, February 20.
Saturday evening’s Grand March, which precedes the state championship matches, will be led by Howard Becker, Ron Bessemer, Randy Conrad and Joe Summerville.
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 matches will be rebroadcast on Comcast Sports Net Chicago beginning March 1 (click for times/channel info).
Illinois wrestling historian Ron 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.
Five wrestlers will be bidding to end the season as three-time state champions. Four of them are in big-class 3A, and two, seniors Rudy Yates of Carl Sandburg and Dylan Duncan of Montini, are in the same weight class, 132 pounds. The others are junior Austin O’Connor (145) of St. Rita and senior Isaiah White (160) of Oak Park-River Forest in 3A and senior Randy Meneweather (170) of Washington in 2A.
A Yates-Duncan showdown would be only the third state final in the 79-year history of the state tournament matching multi-time state champions. The first two occurred in 2007, when Mike Benefiel of Montini won his fourth state title over two-time state champion Jordan Blanton of Richmond-Burton in the Class AA final at 171, and in 2011, when Joey Kielbasa of Crystal Lake Central beat Steve Robertson of Montini in the Class 2A final at 152 as two-time defending champions faced each other.
Yates (40-0), a University of Northern Iowa recruit, was the 106-pound state champion as a freshman at Brother Rice and won the 126-pound title in a Sandburg singlet as a junior. Yates, who carries a two-year, 84-match winning streak into the state tournament, also set the state’s technical fall records for a single season (29) and a career (65). Duncan (38-2), who will attend the University of Illinois, won his two previous titles in 2A, at 120 as a junior and at 132 last season. Yates has won both their meetings this season, 3-1 in the finals of the Cheesehead Tournament in Wisconsin in January and 7-5 in the Batavia sectional semifinals last week.
Two other championship finals could also see defending champions meet. In 3A, O’Connor (43-0), the 126-pound champion last season, could meet senior Shayne Oster (31-3) of Lockport, the 138-pound champion in 2015. The other is in Class 1A at 113, where defending champion Alec Henze (21-2) of Dakota could meet Joey Rivera (45-1) of Coal City, the champion at 106 last year. Both are seniors.
Twelve other wrestlers will try to win their second titles, and 10 of the 12 will try to win for the second straight year. Two of them, sophomore Real Woods (37-0) of Montini in 3A at 113 and senior Joshua King (14-1) of Hinsdale South in 2A at 285, will try to win in different classifications. Woods was the 2A champion at 106 in 2015 and King took the 3A championship at 220 a year ago.
Also trying to win for the second straight year: senior Nathan Traxler (42-2) of Marmion Academy at 182 and juniors Michael McGee (31-2) of Plainfield East at 120 and Austin Gomez (45-1) of Glenbard North at 126 in 3A, senior Hunter Grau (40-0) of Geneseo at 145 and junior Jacob Warner (39-2) of Washington at 182 in 2A, and seniors Greg Krulas (36-2) and Nathan Olsen (41-4) of Dakota at 145 and 160, respectively, and senior Wesley Kibler (43-0) of St. Joseph-Ogden at 195 in 1A.
Two other 1A seniors, Brady Wilsie (40-0) of Byron at 126 and Kyle Betourne (35-1) of Bishop McNamara at 182, also could become two-time state champions. The two won titles in 2014, but did not repeat last year.
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 31 seasons. Also a high school wrestling analyst at the national level, Sherrill is the National High School Editor for WIN magazine.
79th annual State Series
48th year at State Farm Center
State Farm Center
University of Illinois
Thursday, February 18
1:00 PM - 1A Prelims
3:00 PM - 2A Prelims
5:00 PM - 3A Prelims
Friday, February 19
8:30 AM - 1A Quarterfinals & Wrestlebacks
11:00 AM - 2A Quarterfinals & Wrestlebacks
1:30 PM - 3A Quarterfinals & Wrestlebacks
7:00 PM - Semifinals
Saturday, February 20
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 285 lbs, 106, 113, etc.)
BRACKETS & RESULTS
From Track Wrestling By Class/Weight/Day
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
Play Smart. Play Hard.
Take the PSPH pledge...
#IHSA on Twitter
Twitter - @IHSAstate
Instagram - @IHSA_IL
Classic IHSA YouTube Video
OFFICIAL STATE FINAL
Gear from Minerva
Photos from VIP
$8 or $10 per session
HISTORY & RECORDS
2016 State Series Results:
1A - 2A - 3A
Record Book & Past Champions