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 2015 IHSA Individual Wrestling State Finals. The three-day tourney will begin on Thursday, February 19 and conclude on Saturday, February 21.
Saturday evening’s Grand March, which precedes the state championship matches, will be led by official Tim Dodge (pictured), long-time youth wrestling administrator Ron Reichert, Elmhurst College coach and NCAA national champion Steve Marianetti, and former Urbana coach Wayne Mammen.
Every match this weekend in Champaign will be streamed live on the NFHS Network via www.IHSA.tv with a subscription or Comcast/Xfinity authentication, while recaps from Saturday’s finals will also be rebroadcast on Comcast Sports Net Chicago on 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 final 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.
You’ll be watching the individual state championships inside wrestling’s most tradition-filled arena, the State Farm Center in Champaign.
Since the starting weight for Saturday's championship matches begin at 126 pounds, we’ll know right away if Kris Williams (38-2, pictured) of South Holland Thornwood succeeds in his bid for a fourth Class 3A state title.
Williams was the champion at 120 last year, at 113 as a sophomore and at 106 as a freshman. On the other hand, we’ll have to wait until the very last match to see if Elijah Oliver of Washington earns his fourth state title in 2A, since he’ll be competing at 120. It would be the first Illinois title for Indiana University recruit Oliver (14-0), who moved to Illinois from Tennessee this year.
Last year, three Illinois wrestlers – Johnny Jimenez of Aurora Marmion Academy and Jered Cortz of Carol Stream Glenbard North in 3A and Josh Alber of Dakota in 1A – won their fourth titles, bringing to 14 the number of wrestlers who have done so. Every three-time state champion who has set foot on the mats of the State Farm Center as a competitor has been successful in his bid for a fourth title. If Williams joins them, however, it’ll be as the underdog.
After all, Williams didn’t win either the regional or the sectional. At the Stagg regional two weeks ago, in a final matching returning state champions, junior Rudy Yates of Orland Park Carl Sandburg edged Williams, 3-1. The loss was the first for Williams in exactly two years – since the regional final his sophomore year – and ended a 72-match winning streak. Last weekend, at the Downers Grove North sectional, Julian Blanco of Chicago Brother Rice edged Williams, 9-8 in the opening session Friday night. Williams roared back with two quick pins, a technical fall and a major decision in the consolation bracket to take third place, while the red-hot Yates, the 106-pound state champion two years ago while competing at Brother Rice, won the title with major decisions in all three matches.
Oliver’s toughest test, meanwhile, could come in the semifinals, where he’d likely face junior Travis Piotrowski (30-0) of Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge in a battle of unbeatens.
Four wrestlers, Danny Swan (40-2) of Oak Forest at 126 and Xavier Montalvo (35-3) of Lombard Montini at 182 in 2A, and Brandon Briggs (35-3) of Poplar Grove North Boone at 126 and Carver James (25-0) of Dakota at 170 in 1A, are trying for their third titles. Both Montalvo and James are University of Illinois recruits.
James, the champion at 152 last year and at 138 as a sophomore, is projected to be involved in the other final matching returning champions – and the only one matching wrestlers who were champions in 2014. Junior Kyle Betourne (30-2) of Kankakee Bishop McNamara is back at the same weight class he won a year ago.
For more state final notes on each class, click the link below to finish this story on the Illinois Matmen website:
Finish Ron 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.
78th annual State Series
47th year at State Farm Center
State Farm Center
Thursday, February 19
1:00 PM - 1A Prelims
3:00 PM - 2A Prelims
5:00 PM - 3A Prelims
Friday, February 20
8:30 AM - 1A Quarterfinals & Wrestlebacks
11:00 AM - 2A Quarterfinals & Wrestlebacks
1:30 PM - 3A Quarterfinals & Wrestlebacks
7:00 PM - Semifinals
Saturday, February 21
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 126 lbs, 132, 138, etc.)
BRACKETS & RESULTS
By Class & Day
All performances available LIVE on www.IHSA.tv
CSN Chicago Finals Recap Rebroadcast Schedule
State Final Gear
WCCI 100.3 FM (Savanna)
Area schools and general 1A & 2A coverage
$8 or $10 per session
HISTORY & RECORDS
2015 State Series Results
Record Book & Past Champions