About 50 wrestlers from area teams will participate this weekend in Class 1A and 2A individual sectional meets. Schedules for many of those events are up in the air because of concerns over large amounts of snow expected to fall in northern Illinois through Friday.
Nineteen individuals representing Coal City, Peotone, Reed-Custer and Wilmington will participate in the Class 1A Olympia Sectional, which will take place in Stanford, located west of Bloomington-Normal. The bad weather isn’t expected to alter the original schedule, which calls for one round Friday and two more Saturday.
The Coalers lead local teams there with nine qualifiers, while the Comets and Blue Devils will be represented for four individuals apiece.
According the most recent statewide rankings on the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association website, area teams have a number of highly-ranked individuals who figure to contend for sectional titles.
Peotone’s Paul Keane (31-1), a state runner-up last year, is ranked No. 1 at 113 pounds. His main competition figures to be Heyworth’s Levi Neuleib (36-1), who’s ranked No. 2.
Coal City’s Alex Friddle (39-1), who was third last season, is ranked second at 120 pounds and is the favorite over Heyworth’s Gabe Spencer (30-3), who is ranked fifth. Those two individuals figure to square off in the semifinals.
Coal City’s Ryan Wasielewski (39-3) is ranked No. 4 at 145 pounds, but that places him behind top-ranked Zach Haley (39-0) of Quincy Notre Dame and No. 2-ranked Trey Hild (42-1) of PORTA. Hild, who suffered his first loss in overtime to Haley in last week’s Camp Point Central Regional final, is expected to meet Wasielewski in the semifinals.
At 152 pounds, McNamara’s Mason Sauseda (17-4) is ranked fourth, while Coal City’s TJ Jezik (32-11) is ranked seventh, and Knoxville’s Kage Leab (30-4) is ranked No. 8 and could meet Jezik in the quarterfinals.
Coal City’s Daniel Jezik (36-6) is ranked No. 3 at 160 pounds, while Hoopeston Area’s Dale Ashby (38-2) is fifth. They both are on the bottom half of the bracket.
Peotone’s Chandler Gartner (21-0) is ranked No. 2 at 182 pounds. Clifton Central’s Robby Love (32-6) is ranked eighth, and El Paso-Gridley’s Dylan Reeves (36-3) is ranked ninth.
In the Class 1A Oregon Sectional, Seneca’s Mason Dooley (33-10) is ranked No. 7 at 170 pounds, which places him behind No. 2-ranked Rahveon Valentine (35-3) of Lena-Winslow-Stockton and No. 6 ranked Steven Speaker (22-4) of Mercer County, who are on the opposite side of the bracket from Dooley.
In the Class 2A Sycamore Sectional, Morris’ Cody Baldridge (35-0), a two-time state finalist, is ranked second and is the favorite at 182 pounds. His biggest challenge may come from Freeport’s Matthew Chavers (35-3). They are on opposite sides of the bracket.
Joliet Catholic Academy’s Dean Hamiti (35-4) is ranked fourth at
106 pounds, but he’s behind two others at that weight, No. 1-ranked Landen Pfeiffer (36-2) of Marengo and
No. 2-ranked Trevor Boryla (32-5) of Sycamore. The latter could meet Hamiti in the semifinals.
In the Class 2A Hinsdale South Sectional, the top three at 120 pounds will all be competing. Brother Rice’s Hassan Johnson (28-6) is ranked
No. 1, Lemont’s Kyle Schickel (34-3), a state runner-up last year, is ranked No. 2 and St. Rita’s Tommy Russell (30-9) is ranked No. 3. Schickel and Russell could meet up in the semifinals.
Lemont’s Drew Nash (36-4) is ranked fourth and is the favorite at 126 pounds, while teammate Grant LaDuke (25-6) is ranked seventh at 132 pounds, one spot behind TF North’s Sincere Bailey (25-1). LaDuke and Bailey are on opposite sides of the bracket.
And at 182 pounds, Lemont’s Alex Oruna (25-6) is ranked No. 7, one spot behind Bremen’s Mounes Betancourt (24-3). The pair is favored to meet in the title match.