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109 Schools Have Qualifiers At 2008 IESA State Wrestling Tournament

A field of 456 wrestlers from 109 of the 128 schools that entered the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) state wrestling series will compete this weekend in the 29th annual Boys State Final Wrestling Tournament at the Convocation Center on the campus of Northern Illinois University.

There will be a total of 703 bouts over the two days with competition in 19 weight classes. The 109 schools with at least one wrestler advancing to the State Tournament represents .851 percent of the total number of schools that entered the state series at the regional level. It is the third time in IESA history that the state final wrestling field included 100 or more schools, and is the record for schools with qualifiers. In 2006, there were 100 schools, and in 2007 there were 106 represented at the State Tournament.

Doors open at 2:30 p.m. Friday and bouts will begin on eight mats at 4:00. The preliminary round and first round bouts will be conducted Friday. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. Saturday and wrestling resumes at 9:00. Semifinals are set to begin Saturday afternoon at approximately 12:30 p.m. Championship bouts are scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. Championship bouts will be conducted simultaneously on two mats in the following tandems: 112-119, 105-126, 100-135, 95-145, 90-155, 85-167, 80-185, 75-215, 70-275, 65.

Single-day tickets are priced at $9.00 each day for fans in high school and adults. Price of single-day tickets for senior citizens (age 62 and above) and students in grades K-8 are $4.00 each. Children below kindergarten are admitted free.

Three individual champions from last year return. Frank Wenmouth of Darien Eisenhower was the 65-pound champion in 2007 and is at 80 pounds this year. He was Sectional D runner-up to teammate Sebastian Pique 80. Ian Kurth of East Peoria Central won last year's 70-pound title and is at 85 pounds this year. He finished second to Mahomet-Seymour's Branson Painter in Sectional H. Eric Gordon of Normal Parkside won the 80-pound title last year and is at 85 pounds this year. He won the 85-pound weight class at Sectional F. Kurth and Gordon wrestle in the lower bracket at the state tournament and could meet in the semifinals.

Mahomet-Seymour is the all-time leading producer of individual state champions with 37. Sandwich is next at 24 followed by Bloomington JHS at 20. They are the only schools in IESA wrestling history to have 20 or more individual champions. Mahomet-Seymour also leads in team titles with 5, the last coming in 1996. Tied for second in team titles are DeKalb Huntley and New Lenox Martino with four each. DeKalb Huntley last won in 2004 and New Lenox Martino last won in 2002.

Defending team champion Bloomington JHS advanced 15 wrestlers to the state final tournament, including six sectional champions: sixth grader Derrik Watts at 75, and eighth graders Jared Ogg at 119, David Watts at 126, Alex Bee at 135, Jonathon Wimp at 155 and Lee Brewer at 215.

New Lenox Liberty also qualified 15 wrestlers for the state tournament and also six of them won sectional titles. They are sixth grader Matt Ryan at 80, seventh grader Matt Schneider at 126 and eighth graders Mick Korte at 105, Logan Doyle at 112, Collin Mulroe at 167 and Zack Sheffer at 185.

Darien Eisenhower, which produced a trio of individual champions in 2007, qualified 14 wrestlers for the state tournament including six sectional champions: seventh graders Marc Kosiek at 75 and Sebastian Pique at 80 and eighth graders Ed Wenmouth at 85, Bobby Lane at 100, Kevin Ousley at 145 and Lenny Giric at 167.

Five other schools qualified 10 or more wrestlers for the state tournament.

Mahomet-Seymour and Johnsburg have 13 qualifiers each. Mahomet-Seymour advanced seven sectional champions: sixth grader Cody Hooper at 70, seventh graders Brandon Ireland at 65 and Quinton Butsch at 95, and eighth graders Branson Painter at 85, Kyle Dollahon at 105, Skyler Ireland at 112 and Austin Armetta at 119. Johnsburg had three sectional champions: fifth grader Branden Peshek at 65, and seventh graders Brian McKay at 75 and Aaron Destefano at 85.

Glen Ellyn Hadley has 12 qualifiers with one sectional champion: eighth grader Lance Mathieu at 112. Antioch also advanced seven sectional champions, and 12 qualifiers: seventh grader Mike Gussarson at 90 and eighth graders Mike Morales at 95, Bryan Tiernan at 112, George Gonzalez at 119, Zack Epker at 145, Lee Shannon at 167 and Jake Meeks at 215.

Homer Glen Homer advanced 10 wrestlers and four were sectional winners: sixth graders Dominic Naso at 70 and Austin Strzelczyk at 75 and eighth graders Jon Guess at 155 and Emmanuel Rodriguez at 275.

Bloomington JHS rolled to the 2007 team title with 225.5 points with only two state champions -- Kylor Sorensen at 95 pounds and Jeff Drake at 167 pounds. Normal Parkside was second last year with 157 points and had two state champions. Darien Eisenhower, with the trio of individual champions, finished third in the team standings with 130 points.

Named Grand Marshal for 2008 is long-time floor official Scott Kody of Inverness. Complete biographical information for the Grand Marshal is on the IESA Web Site on the Wrestling Page.

The Convocation Center is hosting the IESA State Wrestling Tournament for the sixth straight year. The NIU campus is site of the event for the 10th straight year.

Visit www.iesa.org for additional information regarding complete pairings by weight class, team rosters, and the 2008 Grand Marshal. Results will be posted continuously throughout the weekend.



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