Why he was chosen: The sophomore shined in the Class 2A 220-pound weight class, beating four opponents — and outscoring them by a combined 15-5 margin — to secure Urbana’s first state title since Cameron Mammen in 2013 and the eighth Urbana wrestler in program history to win a state championship.
MAHOMET — Mahomet-Seymour overcame an illness by a key wrestler and a strategic move by the opposing coach to defeat Chatham Glenwood 39-25 on Tuesday night during a Class 2A dual team sectional match in Mahomet.
The Bulldogs (20-5) advance to the Class 2A state quarterfinal against Dixon at 11 a.m. Saturday at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.
Centennial’s Justin Cardani, Urbana’s Luke Luffman and St. Joseph-Ogden’s Griffin Meeker each captured a state wrestling title Saturday night at State Farm Center.
PODCAST: News Gazette Sports Page 02-20-17: Play now!
Tonight's guests: State Wrestling Champions Justin Cardani (Champaign Centennial H.S.), Luke Luffman (Urbana H.S.), and Griffin Meeker (St. Joseph-Ogden H.S.).
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How impressive was the area wrestling scene this winter? What boys' basketball teams could go on a run to Peoria? How surprising it is that no girls' basketball team won a sectional title? What boys' swimmers have a chance to win a state title this weekend? Preps coordinator Anthony Zilis will take your questions at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, but feel free to send him some ahead of time.
Each Monday, prep sports coordinator Anthony Zilis will take a look at five area events to circle on the calendar:
1. MONDAY, TUESDAY, FRIDAY: Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Regional
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.