You could call it the perfect balance.
Even with February far away, Mattoon head wrestling coach Brett Porter likes his team on paper.
“They have had a great start to the season, and are working very hard in the practice room,” said Porter, now in his 12th year coaching at Mattoon. “Individual success in wrestling always benefits the team. If everyone on our team is able to perform to the best of his abilities, I have a good feeling Mattoon High School will be well represented as a team in the post-season.”
Leading the way will be two seniors in Brady Foster (113) and Kiefer Duncan (145). Foster is coming off a very successful junior season where he was a state qualifier and a 2021 Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association state finalist. Foster nearly won the Class 2A 106-pound weight division last year, but narrowly lost 4-2 to state champion Gylon Sims of Joliet Central Catholic. Now, Foster has moved one weight division and is ranked No. 2 in the state.
Duncan is a three-time state qualifier and finished sixth at the IWCOA state finals. Currently, Duncan is listed as the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 145 pounds.
“Several wrestlers have goals set on the IHSA State Tournament held at the State Farm Center in February,” said Porter. “A couple are working toward a State Championship.”
The idea of two wrestlers wrestling for a state champion could grow as big five. After all, the youth brings just as an impressive resume to the varsity level. Sophomore, Aidan Blackburn won the IWCOA F/S state championship at 152 pounds. Sophomore Korbin Bateman is a former IESA state champion and will wrestle at 126 pounds, while junior Leo Meyer was an F/S state finalist and will wrestle at 220 pounds.
A new face to the team will be freshman Ben Capitosti, who will wrestler at 132 pounds, and was once ranked as high as No. 3 in the state at the IESA level. Senior Aiden Spurgeon rounds out the accolades at 195 pounds after the All-Apollo linebacker led the state in tackles this past football season.
Rounding out the varsity lineup, junior Logan Blackburn will wrestler at 120 pounds, senior Mick Porter at 138 pounds, junior Geoffrey McGahey at 160 pounds, freshman Kael Alexander at 170 pounds, and sophomore Clayton Webb at 285 pounds. For now, Mattoon does not have a wrestler at 106 and 182 pounds.
With the lineup, Porter is optimistic about a successful wrestling season. One of the goals will be an Apollo Conference championship, but Porter said that is going to be a difficult task with how talented the conference is projected this season.
“The Apollo Conference is very competitive in wrestling,” said Porter. “Mahomet has a good team returning and they are the defending Apollo champs. Mt. Zion and Lincoln look to make some noise in the conference as well. Our line-up at Mattoon has a good mix of both upperclassmen and tough underclassmen. The senior leadership will be critical in our attempt to win Apollo. Those duals are held in January, and will definitely be fun to watch.”