Wrestlers from Coles County will begin their quest towards making the state tournament today at 4:30 with the Mahomet-Seymour Sectional carrying over to Saturday.
Mattoon has nine wrestlers competing with Isaiah Woolcott (106), Brady Foster (113), Korbin Bateman (126), Ben Capitosti (132), Mick Porter (138), Aidan Blackburn (152), Kiefer Duncan (152), Aidan Surgeon (195), and Leo Meyer (220).
Mattoon placed second at the Mount Vernon Regional, losing out to champion Marion, but the team featured six Regional Champions. Woolcot, Capitosti, and Blackburn will all have to wrestle in the first round and head coach Brett Porter says that all three will have “their work cut out for them.”
As for the others, Foster is looking to make state for the third straight year. Duncan could unofficially become Mattoon’s first-ever four-time state qualifier, IWCOA State was last season due to the pandemic. Everyone else is looking to get to state for the first time and make a splash.
“Mick Porter rose to the top at Regionals by winning as a three seed and has goals to carry momentum into this weekend,” said Mattoon coach Brett Porter. “Our big guys, Aidan Spurgeon and Leo Meyer will have some tough competition to beat to qualify for state. The team has been working hard all season for this chance, and I know they will be ready to battle at Mahomet.”
As for Charleston, the team will have one qualifier in Josh Wiley (170). Head coach Mike Stanley calls this a huge accomplishment for Wiley, who faced some adversity during the season. Wiley came down with a bout of sickness that impacted his overall fitness, but he competed in intense matched pacing drills, live wrestling, and some other circuit training to get back to where he needed to be.
Stanley said that Wiley had made huge gains this season, especially since he did not go out for wrestling during his junior year due to COVID-19.
“Evaluating Josh from where he was at the beginning of the season it’s clear to me that he had picked up some solid fundamentals in his first two seasons of wrestling, especially from his feet and his offensive attacks,” said Stanley. “His weakest points were his stamina and endurance and his defense from the bottom position. He was winning several matches at the beginning of the season in which he then got turned and pinned when he chose the bottom position at the beginning of the period, or in which he just ran out of gas.”
Wiley took third at the Regional and has been seen as an underdog most of the season. Stanley said that Wiley would not like the season to stop and is not satisfied with ending at the Sectional.
“What we are working on most going into the Sectional tournament is maintaining his endurance and on keeping a strong position while on the bottom and staying off his back,” said Stanley. “He has been strong enough on his feet the whole season and he is peaking with his stamina and endurance at the right time and I believe that if he can make these adjustments on the bottom that he has a real chance to make some noise at Sectionals and has a very real shot at state.”