Area wrestlers prepare for state tournament

By Matt Nestor
Sports Columnist

Hononegah prepares to continue their quest to make the team state tournament, with their dual section match set to take place Feb. 23.

But while they wait, seven NIC-10 wrestlers have worked their way through sectionals and are ready for the individual state tournament, set for Feb. 19-20.

Leading the way for area wrestlers is Harlem junior Derek Elmore at 112 pounds. He won a 10-5 decision over Miko Villanueva to take home the sectional title.

Elmore has been the top-ranked wrestler in his weight class in the state and enters the state tournament as the top seed in the class, having only lost once all season.

The other top-ranked wrestler from the NIC-10 is Blaise Butler of Boylan, and he defeated Luke Smith of Wheeling to work his way into the state finals at 135 pounds.

The sectionals were a banner day for Harlem wrestlers going into the state finals. Sterling Hecox defeated Chris Johnson of Wheeling to work his way back into the state tournament at 189 pounds, while Josh Anthony pulled off an upset at 152 pounds, topping Anthony Pace of Lake Zurich at 152 pounds.

Hononegah senior Matt Dwyer won his class at 215 pounds as he tries to win an individual title before the Indians go for the team title. He’ll be joined by junior Colin Dodd at 119 pounds and freshman Manny Silva at 125 pounds. Each wrestler lost in the finals of the sectional, but was able to qualify for the state tournament.

The finals start Friday, Feb. 19. They will take place at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill. Tickets are $8 or $10 per session, or $32 or $40 for the entire tournament. You can also watch the action online at

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From the Feb. 17-23, 2010 issue

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