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-Urbana at the 2018 IHSA Individual Wrestling State Finals. The three-day tourney will begin on Thursday, February 15 and conclude on Saturday, February 17.
Every match this weekend will be streamed live on the NFHS Network via www.IHSA.tv with a subscription, thanks in part to presenting sponsor COUNTRY Financial, and in conjunction with Track Wrestling.
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 Alvin Kaltofen, Rob Ledin, Ralph McCausland and Todd Rosenthal, who have been named this year's Grand Marshals.
Two female wrestlers have a chance at history on Thursday. The IHSA state tourney has had two previous female qualifiers (Caitlyn Chase, Glenbard North in 2005; Alli Ragan, Carbondale in 2007 ), but none has ever advanced in Champaign. Richards' Mia Palumbo (2A, 106 lbs) and Dunbar's Quiovany Santos (1A, 106) could break that spell, as both enter state as Sectional champions.
To get ready for the state final weekend, take a look back at season-long rankings courtesy of Rob Sherrill and the IWCOA, as well as the Illinois Matmen and Go Earn It Apparel.
Then see who Sherrill and the Illinois Matmen predict
Rob Sherrill Predictions
Illinois Matmen Predictions
Rob Sherrill's IWCOA 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 seniors, Joey Melendez (120) and Real Woods of Montini in 3A, We Rachal (138) of Chicago Washington in 2A and Chase Bittle (126) of Belleville Althoff and Tyler Fleetwood (132) of Fulton, are trying for their third state championships. They are among 15 wrestlers who are trying to repeat as champions in 2018.
For the second straight year, Melendez will have to face fellow defending champion Travis Ford-Melton of Marian Catholic. The champions at 106 pounds in Classes 3A and 2A, respectively, in 2016, the two met in the 3A quarterfinals at 113 last year, with Melendez winning 4-3 en route to his second title, while Ford-Melton, a junior, finished third. For the second straight year, the two will be the only returning champions in the same weight class. A rematch this year, however, would take place in the finals. Rachal won the past two seasons at 132.
Bittle is back at the same weight class he won last year. The first wrestler in state history to pin his way to a title with four first-period pins a year ago, Bittle set the state’s career pin record in the quarterfinals of the Quincy Tournament Jan. 13. He enters his final state tournament with 142 career falls, 11 more than the previous record holder, Garrett Goebel of Montini, amassed from 2008-11.
Althoff teammates Danny and Zac Braunagel, both University of Illinois commitments, will try to repeat at 160 and 182, respectively. Danny Braunagel set a career record of his own in the very same round at the Quincy Tournament. He now has 70 technical falls in his career, eight more than the 62 scored by Rudy Yates of Carl Sandburg from 2012-15. With 33 this season, Braunagel is one away from the single-season record of 34 set by Nate Jozsa of Argenta-Oreana in 2014. In his finals win at the Vandalia sectional, Braunagel set the single-season points record with 876 – most of them coming on his 288 takedowns this season. Former Mount Zion standout Nathan McMillin held the previous record, scoring 874 points in 2001. Braunagel’s 2,587 career points broke a record also held by McMillin.
Eleven other wrestlers will try to win their second titles. Two are in 3A, seniors Will Lewan (152) of Montini, committed to the University of Michigan, and Anthony Cassioppi (285) of Rockton Hononegah, a University of Iowa signee. Cassioppi also pinned his way to a state title last season.
In 2A, senior Justin Cardani (113) of Champaign Centennial, a University of Illinois recruit, and junior Luke Luffman (220) of Urbana take unbeaten records into the state tournament. Senior Austin Macias (126) of Burlington Central, committed to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, returns to the same weight class he won in 2017. Senior Tyler Delaware of Washington, who lost to Macias in last year’s final, is up a weight class at 132. Delaware was a 2016 state champion. Finish the preview here
Finally, get ready for the state final action by reliving last year's Grand March jumbotron video and highlights:
81st annual State Series
50th year at State Farm Center
State Farm Center
University of Illinois
Visit Champaign County
Thursday, February 15
1:00 PM - 1A Prelims
3:00 PM - 2A Prelims
5:00 PM - 3A Prelims
Friday, February 16
8:30 AM - 1A Quarterfinals & Wrestlebacks
11:00 AM - 2A Quarterfinals & Wrestlebacks
1:30 PM - 3A Quarterfinals & Wrestlebacks
7:00 PM - Semifinals
Saturday, February 17
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 106 lbs, 113, 120, etc.)
BRACKETS & RESULTS
Track Wrestling Results by Class/Weight/Day
$8 or $10 per session
All matches available LIVE on the NFHS Network via www.IHSA.tv
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
Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano
Illinois Treasurer Office
HISTORY & RECORDS
2018 State Series Results:
1A - 2A - 3A
Record Book & Past Champions