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2015 IESA State Wrestling Tournament

A field of 456 wrestlers from 126 of the 151 schools that entered the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) state wrestling series will compete this weekend in the 36th annual Boys State Final Wrestling Tournament at the Convocation Center on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.

There will be a total of 703 bouts over the two days with competition in 19 weight classes. It is the 10th time in IESA history that the state final wrestling field includes 100 or more schools. Last year, 122 schools advanced at least one wrestler to the big stage.

Breakdown of the competitors by grade in school is: 12 fifth graders, 54 sixth graders, 116 seventh graders and 274 eighth graders.

Doors open at 2:30 p.m. Friday and bouts will begin on eight mats at 3:30. The preliminary round and first round bouts in the championship bracket will be conducted Friday. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and wrestling resumes at 9:00 a.m. 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.

Single-day tickets are priced at $10.00 each day for high school students and adults. Price of single-day tickets for senior citizens (age 62 and above) and students in grades K-8 is $5.00 each. Children below kindergarten are admitted free. Advanced ticket sales for the state finals at the NIU Convocation Center are now available through Ticketmaster. Those who purchase their tickets in advance will bypass the ticket purchase line and simply proceed to the admission door. If you want to purchase tickets in advance simply go to www.ticketmaster.com, type in NIU Convocation Center and then find the IESA Wrestling Finals link. The standard Ticketmaster surcharge will be applied.

Visit www.iesa.org for additional information regarding complete pairings by weight class, team rosters, the 2015 Grand Marshals and the sectional place winners by site. Results from the state tournament will be posted continuously throughout the weekend.

This year's Grand Marshals are Anthony Clarke, Terry Kivisto, and Ray Winesburg. Clarke is the long-time official from Zion who has received numerous awards during his distinguished officiating career. HE was named IWCOA Official of the Year in 1996 and was inducted into the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 2005. He currently serves on the NFHS wrestling Rules Committee. Kivisto was the coach at Lake Zurich North for 25 years and retired in 2013. During his tenure as coach for the Wolves he had 133 IESA state qualifiers and three state champions. Winesburg lives in Elgin and is another one of the highly successful and decorated wrestling officials in the state. He has been selected twice for the IWCOA Official of the Year in 1999 and 2003 and was also inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2007.

There are four state champions returning from a season ago, all possessing the drive to recapture last year's state final magic. Peotone's Paul Keane is back and will be attempting to become a three time champion. Two years ago he won the 65 lb. weight class as a fifth grader, last year he captured the 70 lb. title as a 6th grader, and this year as a 7th grader will be wrestling in the 85 lb. class. Only four other wrestlers have won an individual title three times and no wrestler has ever won four individual titles. Keane will be looking to make history this weekend. Austin Spracht from Bradley Central won the 65 lb. weight class last year and will be looking to stand on the podium as a champion once again, this year in the 70 lb. weight class. Last year's 75 lb. champion, Peyton Lane from Macomb has moved to the 80 lb. class and will be hoping to capture the gold medal once again. Finally, Alex Friddle from Coal City will be looking to stand on the podium as a champion in the 90 lb. class after winning first place in the 80 lb. class last year.

Mahomet-Seymour is the all-time leading producer of individual state champions with 42. Sandwich is next at 25 followed by Bloomington JHS at 23, Shorewood Troy and Coal City each have had 22 winners, and New Lenox (Oster-Oakview Liberty, and Martino) at 20. They are the only schools in IESA wrestling history to have 20 or more individual champions. Fox Lake Stanton 18, DeKalb Huntley 17, Channahon 15, and Minooka with 14 round out the top 10.

The all-time record for most qualifiers by a single school is 20---Wheeling Holmes advanced 20 wrestlers to the finals in 1986 and New Lenox also advanced 20 in 2006. This year, Darien Eisenhower qualified the most wrestlers for the state tournament with 12 while Antioch qualified the second most wrestlers with 11.

The Mahomet-Seymour Bulldogs lead in team titles with 6, the last coming in 2009. Mahomet-Seymour won its other team titles in 1984-92-93-94-96. Second is the New Lenox program with 5 titles--1986, 87, 89, 2002, and 2003. Tied for third in team titles are DeKalb Huntley and Bloomington JHS with four each.

Last year's team champion was Deerfield Caruso. The team championship appears to be a wide open race this year. Any of the sectional champions or runner-ups is likely to walk away with the team title. Look for teams to place 1-4 to come from one of the following schools: Antioch, Bloomington JHS, Cahokia Wirth, Coal City, DeKalb Clinton Rosette, DeKalb Huntley, Darien Eisenhower, Homer Glen Homer, LeRoy, Mattoon, Minooka, or Yorkville.

The Convocation Center is hosting the IESA State Wrestling Tournament for the 13th straight year. The NIU campus is site of the event for the 17th consecutive year.

Media wishing to cover the event must send an email from the general manager of the outlet to Steve Endsley at the IESA Office by 12 noon on Thursday, March 12 to request credentials. He may be reached via email at steve@iesa.org.



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