By Jeff Owens

It is postseason wrestling time for the Mattoon and Charleston high school wrestling teams. 

Both teams have been placed in the Chatham Glenwood IHSA Class 2A regional this Saturday at Glenwood High. A total of eight teams are entered in the tourney, including the host school along with Decatur MacArthur, Decatur Eisenhower, Riverton, Rochester, Lincoln and the two Coles County schools. 

Coach Mike Stanley’s Charleston squad will send six wrestlers to regionals at the following weight classes. 

106Lucas Ross9-8FR
126Dylan Lowell8-18FR
138Kenny Merrill13-6JR
152Alec Sellers19-13SR
182Kolton Dare4-10SO
195Marcellx Boling16-11SO

Stanley says he believes Alec Sellers, Marcelly Boling, and Kenny Merrill have the team’s best chances of getting through.

“Each of them, I believe, have the skills and mindset to get themselves to the Sectional, if they wrestle at the levels they are capable,” Stanley said. “Each of them have defeated other wrestlers this year who I am confident will make the sectional tournament themselves. They have all already displayed the ability to get it done, and I believe they will each be ready give their best performances Saturday to give themselves the best shot they can. They will be ready to go.”

Stanley also thinks that freshman Lucas Ross could also advance. “He has made some pretty significant jumps in the wrestling lately with his aggressiveness,” Stanley said, “and (he) is starting to show an understanding of some fundamental aspects of controlling a match.” 

Stanley said the team has many unfilled spots.

Injuries, grades and other issues have prevented several other wrestlers from competing in the regional.

“We have had several wrestlers with pretty high potential not be able to finish out the season for one reason or another, whether it be other priorities in life, grade issues, injuries,” Stanley said.

“The other coaches and I have been very satisfied with the work that has been and is being put in the room this season on the daily. Everybody we have in your room, boys and girls, all come in everyday ready to learn and ready to give their best to improve their strength, conditioning, and wrestling abilities. You can see that everyone in the practice room values and respects this sport. The culture and lifestyle of the sport becomes more a part of them each day and that is exciting to see.”

Mattoon coach Brett Porter will send 12 Green Wave wrestlers to regionals at the following weight classes, saying he has high expectations for most to advance to the following week’s sectional at Highland. 

113Tristan Porter28-9FR
120Vincent Gibson26-10SO
126Korbin Bateman39-1JR
132Kainen May4-7FR
138Ben Capitosti36-6SO
145Aidan Blackburn33-5JR
152Ean Freeman 10-7SO
160Jason Skocy31-13SR
170Blaine Howell14-13SO
182TJ Owens27-18SR
220Leo Meyer38-3SR
285JD Sullivan12-19JR

“Let’s forget about best chances and just say our goal is to get all of our Regional entries to advance to Sectionals,” Porter said. “The effort in the practice room is giving everyone a good chance”

Mattoon’s team includes eight wrestlers on varsity who entered the season with either no or limited varsity experience.

“To say we have accomplished good things with this team would be an understatement, “Porter said. “Our captains and leaders in the room have worked hard to be successful as a team. Now, individuals look to succeed at the next level.”

One name missing from the lineup is senior Logan Blackburn (28-6), who is battling an injury. He would compete at the 120-pound division.

“As a senior, ” Porter said, “he’s earned his shot to achieve his long-term goals.  Regardless, I’m proud of Logan and all seniors for their efforts.”

The regional competition will start at 9 a.m.

The top three wrestlers in each weight class advance to the Highland Sectional.

In addition, the team regional winner advances to team sectional wrestling which is held after the IHSA state individual finals set for Feb. 16-18 at the State Farm Center in Champaign.