CHAMPAIGN — Rantoul senior Demarius Smith’s eyes were glassy as he stared ahead on the second-place step of the podium.
His finish was the best in Rantoul history for the second straight year, but his loss by a 1-0 decision in Saturday’s Class 2A 152-pound state championship match stung.
CHAMPAIGN — Griffin Meeker’s coaches at St. Joseph-Ogden have dissuaded him from utilizing the cradle move he used often throughout middle school.
Before Saturday’s Class 1A 182-pound state championship match, the nation’s No. 1 195-pounder, Jacob Warner of Washington, also told him the move wouldn’t work.
CHAMPAIGN — Urbana sophomore Luke Luffman was anxious Saturday morning after his weigh-in for the Class 2A 220-pound state championship.
So he began walking laps around the State Farm Center concourse as he went through the previous days’ matches in his mind.
Finally, Tigers coach Charles Trabaris caught him mid-lap.
CHAMPAIGN — Late in his Class 2A 106-pound state championship match Saturday, Centennial junior Justin Cardani picked up opponent Kyle Schickel of Lemont, rotated a few steps to his right and looked toward the edge of the mat where photographers sat.
Eight local athletes competed for a wrestling state title tonight at State Farm Center. Here's how they fared on the mats, opening with the 152-pound matches across all three classes.
Justin Cardani was already destined to go down into the record books.
The Centennial junior just made sure he did so with an exclamation point.
CHAMPAIGN — For a split second, Centennial’s Justin Cardani flipped onto his back in the closing seconds of Friday’s Class 2A 106-pound state wrestling semifinal, in an effort to push to his feet to nab one final point.
CHAMPAIGN — Rantoul senior Demarius Smith tried to expel the thought from his mind, but it kept sneaking back in.
His opponent in Friday night’s Class 2A 152-pound state wrestling semifinal was Washington’s Kyle Goin, his practice partner during club season and his close friend. The two go back and forth with messages on Snapchat every day.
Three more area wrestlers clinched a spot in a state title match on Saturday night at State Farm Center, bringing the area contingent up to eight.