LIVE! State wrestling
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.
Mahomet-Seymour senior Hunter Crowley defeated Oak Forest's Eric Brenner by pin in 3 minutes, 32 seconds to clinch a spot in the 195-pound title match in 2A. Crowley (51-5) will take on Washington senior Jacob Warner (40-0) on Saturday night.
At 220 pounds, Urbana sophomore Luke Luffman (38-3) knocked off Washington's Jace Punke via a 3-1 decision to secure a spot in the title match. Luffman will face Chicago Brother Rice senior Scott Sierzega (34-3) in the championship match.
Also at 220, Bismarck-Henning junior Cody Miller worked his way into the state title match in 1A after he pinned Dakota's Maverick McPeak. Miller (45-2) will square off against Orion sophomore Logan Lee (40-3).
Crowley, Luffman and Miller join Centennial junior Justin Cardani (44-0) at 106 in 2A, Rantoul senior Demarius Smith (35-1) at 152 in 2A, Prairie Central junior Drew Hoselton (46-0) at 160 in 1A, St. Joseph-Ogden senior Griffin Meeker (38-2) at 182 in 1A and Clinton senior Logan Winter (44-1) at 182 in 1A among area competitors vying for a state title on Saturday night.
The Grand March is slated to start at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday inside State Farm Center, with state title matches set to begin shortly thereafter at 152.
The Class 1A 182-pound state title match on Saturday night features two area wrestlers who are already familiar with one another this postseason.
St. Joseph-Ogden senior Griffin Meeker (37-2) will square off against Clinton senior Logan Winter (44-1) to determine a state champion in that weight class at State Farm Center after both earned semifinal wins tonight.
Meeker defeated Chad Grimm of Beardstown via an 8-6 decision, while Winter beat Isaac Lyzenga in a 4-2 decision.
Winter beat Meeker 7-6 last Saturday in the 1A sectional title match.
With Meeker and Winter advancing to the state title match, the number of area wrestlers who will compete for a state title on Saturday night in Champaign is now up to five.
Two more area wrestlers will vie for a state title on Saturday night along with Centennial junior Justin Cardani.
Demarius Smith of Rantoul edged Kyle Goin of Washington in a 7-4 decision in a Class 2A 152-pound semifinal match tonight, earning the senior (35-1) a spot in Saturday night's title match against Highland senior Trent Rakers (34-0). Smith, who placed fourth last season at 145 to become Rantoul's highest-ever medal winner, will try to win the Eagles' first-ever state title on Saturday night.
In Class 1A, Prairie Central junior Drew Hoselton kept his perfect season intact after a 4-2 decision against Kyle Kalkbrennre from Lena-Winslow in the 160-pound semifinals. Hoselton (46-0) will face Midwest Central senior Josh McKinney (38-3) in Saturday night's title match.
Justin Cardani is one victory away from history.
The Centennial junior continued his undefeated season with a 7-0 decision against Washington's Christian Goin in the Class 2A semifinals of the 106-pound weight class.
Cardani (44-0) will face Lemont freshman Kyle Schickel (41-5) in the championship march on Saturday night at State Farm Center in Champaign.
If Cardani defeats Schickel, he'll become the first Centennial wrestler to win a state title since the high school opened in Champaign in 1967. Centennial has had two other wrestlers place second in history, with Darren Wynn doing so at 132 in 2013 and Erik Mueller doing so at 119 in 1984.
The area wrestling scene will have solid representation tonight when the state semifinal matches get underway at State Farm Center shortly after 7 p.m.
In both Class 2A and 1A.
Six area 2A wrestlers and six area 1A wrestlers advanced out of Friday morning's quarterfinals in Champaign, while Centennial's Justin Cardani edged closer to making school history.
Cardani won his 106-pound quarterfinal match in 2A against Christian Valdez from Carmel with a 10-0 major decision victory. Cardani (43-0) now faces Kankakee McNamara freshman Pauley Keane (27-4) in the semifinals tonight.
Five other area 2A wrestlers also advanced, with Rantoul's Demarius Smith at 152, Danville's Porfirio Perez at 160, Urbana's A.J. Fox at 182, Mahomet-Seymour's Hunter Crowley at 195 and Urbana's Luke Luffman at 220 all winning their quarterfinal matches.
Smith won his 152-pound quarterfinal match via a 9-3 decision against Lemont's Jake Kirkman. Smith (34-1) will wrestle Washington senior Kyle Goin (31-6) in the semifinals tonight.
Perez won his quarterfinal match this morning at 160 when he picked up a 6-1 decision against Marty Krasinski from Harvard. Perez (35-2) faces Antioch senior Pat Schoenfelder (46-2) in the semifinals tonight.
At 182, Fox claimed an 8-6 sudden victory against Glenbard South's Numan Ayhan in his quarterfinal match. Fox (36-4) will go up against Morris junior Cody Baldrige (38-1) in the semifinals.
Crowley (50-5) won a 10-4 decision against Crystal Lake Central's Seamus O'Donnell in the quarterfinals to set up a semifinal match against Oak Forest senior Eric Brenner (38-7).
Luffman gives Urbana two wrestlers in the semifinals after he won a 5-1 decision against Antioch's George Bessette. Luffman (37-3) faces Washington sophomore Jace Punke (35-6) in the semifinals.
In 1A, Hoopeston Area junior Dale Ashby won a 6-3 decision against Monticello senior Kahl VanDalsen at 152. Ashby (16-3) advances to face Belleville Althoff junior Danny Braunagel (45-0) in the semifinals tonight.
Prairie Central junior Drew Hoselton kept his undefeated season intact with an 18-3 technical fall win against Garrett Passmoore of Erie in the 1A quarterfinals at 160. Hoselton (45-0) faces off against Lena-Winslow senior Kyle Kalkbrenner (39-8) in the semifinals tonight.
The 182-pound weight class has two area wrestlers into the 1A semifinals. Clinton senior Logan Winter (43-1) defeated Brandon Elsbury of Byron via a 7-3 decision in his quarterfinal match. Winter squares off against Illiana Christian junior Isaac Lyzenga (31-9) in the semifinals tonight.
On the bottom half of the 182-pound bracket. St. Joseph-Ogden senior Griffin Meeker (36-2) will wrestle Beardstown sophomore Chad Grimm (41-6) in the semifinals tonight. Meeker won his quarterfinal match this morning by a 17-15 decision against West Carroll senior Nate Schultz.
At 220, Bismarck-Henning junior Cody Miller improved to 44-2 on the season after a 9-0 major decision against Grant Park senior Joel Swanson in the quarterfinals. Miller squares off Dakota junior Maverick McPeek (41-3) in the semifinals tonight.
LeRoy senior Alex LaMont rounds out the area 1A representatives in the semifinals after LaMont won his quarterfinal match against West Carroll senior Josh Anderson with a 5-0 decision at 285. LaMont (39-6) will meet Fulton junior Taylor Fleetwood (34-6) in the semifinals tonight.