IHSA Releases Updated Officials Guidance for 2020-21 Season

IHSA Assistant Executive Director has released an updated Officials Guidance Document.

You can find the document in the IHSA officials center or on the IWCOA website at https://iwcoa.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Guidance-for-Officials.pdf

In his message, Mr. Knox shared “Our original Officials Guidance document for the 2020-21 school year said that electronic whistles are required.  That was before some manufacturers developed whistle covers or pouches that attach directly to a traditional whistle.  These whistle covers/pouches prevent the spread of respiratory droplets yet allow officials to use a regular whistle that produces a regular whistle sound.

See the attached Officials Guidance document that now allows officials the option of using a traditional whistle with a solid black cover/pouch or an electronic whistle.

I will also post this in the Officials Center message area.”

IWCOA State Championships – Indefinitely Postponed

The 2020 IWCOA H.S. Girls and Freshman/Sophomore State Tournaments have been indefinitely postponed due to the public health situation this current global pandemic presents. The Sangamon County Health Department and the Bank of Springfield Center have closed the BOS Center for the next 30 days.  

We are heartbroken for the athletes, coaches, and families who were preparing to have two great days in our state’s capitol.  Please know that the IWCOA exhausted all options, but there simply isn’t a county health department or facility in the state of Illinois willing to host an event of this size given the current public health situation.  We sincerely apologize to all for this inconvenience. The health and safety of our athletes will always be our highest priority.

Please keep these young athletes, and all of the other age groups affected by these recent cancellations in your thoughts.  From the NCAA to the IKWF to the IESA and beyond; our thoughts are with you as your athletes try to understand that the months and years of training will not culminate in an opportunity to wrestle for a 2020 championship.

The hotels in the Springfield area have been very accommodating and understanding.  They are offering refunds and cancellations with timely cancellations.  Please contact your respective hotel immediately.  Demonstrating patience, respect, and kindness will go a long way.  We are sure they are overwhelmed as well.


Yours in wrestling.

‘Dawson Duals’ honors LJHS coach

Article Source Written By: By Jean Ann Miller / The Courier

For the past 25 years coach Al Dawson has stressed the importance of never giving up. Dawson, who coaches wrestling at Lincoln Junior High School was honored Friday with a wrestling tournament named after him. Dawson thanked those who have shared the love of the sport as well as those who have supported the program.

“I started in this sports as a freshman in 1975. I am pleased to announce this is my 45th year involved with this sport,” said Dawson who was met with applause.

In the past 25 years he has coached 57 state qualifiers, two state champs and four state runner ups.

“In a basketball town, I am pleased with the accomplishments of the program,” he continued.

The first Dawson Dual welcomed eight teams to the meet with competitiors traveling from Seneca and Morris, Illinois.

Coach speak: Rob Ledin talks Mahomet-Seymour wrestling

Article Source Written By: Colin Likas Jan 6, 2020

Now in the midst of his 14th season in the charge of the Bulldogs’ program — capturing Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Hall of Fame status in the process — he offers insight on his program and more:

Your boys closed 2019 on a challenging note.

The Granite City tournament (on Dec. 28), that’s probably the toughest tournament on our schedule. … Missouri schools are at the Granite City tournament, so you’ve got some nationally-ranked type schools that are there. So that made it real difficult. We had four guys medal, top eight, and then we had three others in the top 10.

How would you compare this roster to others you’ve had recently?

We have 29 guys on our roster. Maybe for the area that’s pretty good. For us, that’s actually down, second year in a row. We were in the 30s. I’ve been as high as almost 50 since I’ve been here. The numbers have declined as of late. Wrestling is a hard sport, so it takes a lot of dedication. … I feel pretty good about our lineup. I think we’ve got some guys that are kind of learning their way, filling holes in our varsity, and hopefully by the end (of the regular season) they’ll be ready to go for that regional tournament. The guys that are pretty much mainstays for our lineup, they’re doing really well.

Who are some of those guys?

Seth Buchanan has been our top wrestler at heavyweight, doing really well leading our team. Placed first at Hinsdale South and third at Granite City. … Daniel Renshaw won on criteria to get into the top bracket and out of his pool (in Granite City’s 220 field). … Mateo Casillas, freshman at 195, a man’s weight, really is learning as he goes. But he’s such a good athlete and such a competitor.

You’ve accomplished a lot in your time with the Bulldogs. Any one favorite moment?

It would definitely be hard to nail down just one team or one thing. Every year it’s a little different, every year a different dynamic. … It’s been pretty special. As you said, since I’ve been here I’ve had a lot of personal accolades, which is a result of having some great kids do some great things. … Being able to walk as a grand marshal (at the IHSA state finals) a couple years ago, that was pretty special. Standing in the tunnel and being overcome with emotion and asking for Kleenex and thinking, “This is something.”

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

‘There’s only one more step’ left for Chargers’ Edwards

Article Source Written By: Colin Likas Jan 6, 2020

CHAMPAIGN — Roger Edwards could have been one of the first Centennial wrestlers to fill the void left by Justin Cardani.

When the now-Illinois sophomore graduated a Charger in 2018 — a pair of IHSA state championships in tow — the door was open for guys like Edwards to maintain and build upon Cardani’s historic efforts.

Considering Edwards already possessed two sectional berths in as many high school campaigns, it wasn’t a stretch to see Edwards making his way to state as a junior.

But while Centennial teammates Cam Nesbitt and Dontaice Roberson racked up five wins at the Twin City Meet on Dec. 21, 2018, Edwards was in pain.

Physical agony. The result of a dislocated left thumb in his first match of the night.

“I found out that even after injuries, even after you suffer them, as long as you work hard, you can get where you want to go,” Edwards said after posting a 1-1 record at last month’s Unity triangular with the Rockets and Danville. “Although I didn’t qualify for state after that, I still had that fire to come back and try to succeed.”

Edwards missed four weeks on the mat, courtesy his balky thumb.

He returned, however, to snag his third sectional trip, this one at 132 pounds after the previous efforts at 113 as a freshman and 132 as a sophomore.

Now, Edwards is a 145-pounder as a senior.“Roger’s at the right weight this season,” Chargers coach Ed Mears said. “He’s not cutting a ton of weight, and he’ll be fine.”

Edwards entered 2020 a modest 10-5, earning fifth place in the Lincoln Holiday Tournament’s 145 bracket to close out the previous calendar year.

Even if he’s not experiencing overwhelming success at this time, Edwards has seen gains.

“I’ve gotten stronger, and I’ve noticed that, over time, it’s just coming easier,” Edwards said. “… Especially when you are getting stronger, pounding the weights, and it shows.”

Before even entering his 12th-grade stint, Edwards used his final prep offseason to improve his chances of advancing to State Farm Center in February.

He attended an Urbana-based camp operated by Purler Wrestling Academy, which boasts on its website that it averages “over 125 state medalists each year” from its student body.

“It was … ran by someone who was a training partner with Jordan Burroughs, actually,” said Edwards, referencing a one-time Olympic and four-time world champion grappler in Burroughs. “He showed us a lot of stuff. It was a five-day camp. It was a nice workout. I enjoyed it.”

Edwards hit another snag, though, as Centennial’s practices got underway.

A bout with bronchitis had Edwards sidelined for part of November, making the early-December triangular at Tolono — the Chargers’ first duals of the 2019-2020 season — a good test for Edwards.

“I’m working on getting my endurance up,” Edwards said.

Another focal point for Edwards is “getting out on bottom” — escaping when his opponent holds dominant position on top. Mears agrees with that assessment.

“He’s got to win the third period,” Mears said. “He’s got to have the lungs. He’s got to work a little bit more on the bottom, but he looks very confident on his feet right now.”

Slipping out from bottom position could be a bit easier for Edwards moving forward thanks to his choice of training partner.

Junior Ryan Vasey is Centennial’s starting 170-pounder, and he also placed fifth at the Lincoln showcase.

“I like working with people heavier than me,” Edwards said, “so then, when I go out there, people will feel lighter than what I’m used to.”

Edwards’ motivation is straightforward at this stage. He owns one last shot at grabbing a state spot before exhausting his high school eligibility.

Beyond that, Edwards also has altered his mindset when it comes to other aspects of the sport.

“My past few seasons, I was always worried. I’m not trying to hurt an opponent,” Edwards said. “But, over time, you know if you’re doing everything right, it’s not going to happen. You won’t hurt anyone.

“As long as I come in and do what I’m supposed to do, and do it correctly and do it quick, then it’ll work out in my favor.”

Edwards and his Charger friends are less than two months from the start of the IHSA postseason schedule, with the Class 2A state tournament slated for Feb. 20-22.

Mears has high hopes for one of his three upperclassmen.

“He’s been a three-time sectional qualifier,” Mears said. “There’s only one more step.”

And Edwards maintains confidence that he can climb that one last step.

“I know for a fact I could be a (state) placer,” Edwards said. “I’ve just got to work on all the little things. That’s all I’m focused on for right now.”

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

Waubonsie Valley sophomore Antonio Torres has lofty ambitions but is taking the season ‘one step at a time’

Article Source Written By: KEVIN MCGAVIN – NAPERVILLE SUN |JAN 07, 2020 | 2:28 PM

Waubonsie Valley's Antonio Torres, left, talks with coach Brad Caldwell during a timeout at the DuPage Valley Conference meet in Aurora on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019.
Waubonsie Valley’s Antonio Torres, left, talks with coach Brad Caldwell during a timeout at the DuPage Valley Conference meet in Aurora on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. (H. Rick Bamman / Naperville Sun)

Antonio Torres is not about to get ahead of himself as the wrestling season progresses in January.

“I am just going to take it one step at a time: regional, sectional and then state,” Torres said.

But the Waubonsie Valley sophomore has lived up to his high expectations so far.

Torres was a DuPage Valley Conference champion as a freshman, though he fell short of reaching the Class 3A state meet at the tough Bolingbrook Sectional in February.

“Antonio is a special case,” Waubonsie Valley coach Brad Caldwell said. “He came in with a lot of accolades from the kids club and that type of thing. I would love to have 15 of him. If we had 15 of him, we would be unstoppable.”

But Torres’ ambitions are only increasing as the season comes to its tipping point.

Torres is ranked third at 170 pounds in the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association’s poll.

“It does put a little bit of extra pressure on me,” Torres said. “You have a target on your head, especially when you’re so young.”

Waubonsie Valley's Antonio Torres, top, works to control Naperville North's Kyle Plank at 152 pounds during the DuPage Valley Conference meet in Aurora on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019.
Waubonsie Valley’s Antonio Torres, top, works to control Naperville North’s Kyle Plank at 152 pounds during the DuPage Valley Conference meet in Aurora on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. (H. Rick Bamman / Naperville Sun)

Torres’ only losses this season have come during intense competitions during invitationals at Barrington, Rockford East and Wheaton Warrenville South.

The loss at Wheaton Warrenville South came when he could not answer the bell in the championship match against Evanston’s Ricardo Salinas due to an injury.

Caldwell marvels about Torres’ physical prowess.

“I jokingly call him a freak,” Caldwell said. “He is kind of like a cat. You can throw him up in any position, and he will land on his feet. He’s got great hips. He’s got great quickness, great body awareness.”

Torres tries not to be too critical.

“So far, I think I am doing well,” Torres said. “There are always things you can improve on. If you work hard in the practice room, it transfers over to the mat.”

“I need to be better on my top,” he added. “That’s what I am going to be focusing on until the regional.”

Champion also prepares for regional: Naperville North coach Tom Champion would be the first to admit his team is far from a finished product.

“We are still a team that has only two seniors on any given night,” Champion said Saturday afternoon at the Margaret Flott Invitational at Kaneland. ”We can use January to improve and perfect. We will use 2020 to start peaking for the regional in four weeks.”

The Huskies are led by seniors Evan Demari and Cosmo Champion at 113 pounds and 132 pounds, respectively.

Dane Tsao bears watching at 195 pounds.

“He’s our best chance to get out of the sectional,” Tom Champion said of Tsao.

Millington has surprises in store: Waubonsie Valley senior Charlie Millington had a peculiar reply when asked Monday how many times he has wrestled at heavyweight this season.

“None — not one match,” Millington said.

The Warriors’ only returning state qualifier as a heavyweight, Millington has been wrestling at 220 pounds.

“(220) is pretty challenging, so I think that has prepared me for the next step,” he said.

But Millington more than likely will return to 285 pounds for the state series.

“He is pretty athletic and quick for a big guy,” Caldwell said.

Kevin McGavin is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.

MELHS SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Lott’s achievements go beyond sports

Article Source Written By: Scott Marion, smarion@edwpub.net

EDWARDSVILLE – Whether it’s pinning a wrestling opponent or acing a test, Metro-East Lutheran senior Timmy Lott has shown he can accomplish plenty on his own.

But whenever a teammate or classmate needs some help, Lott is ready to lend a hand.

“We’ve always had a kind, giving family and my aunt always did her best to make sure that I had the best education possible,” said Lott, who Lives in Centreville with his aunt, Eugeni Lott. “I can do what I want as long as I have good grades. She made sure that I had manners before going out anywhere.”

Lott, who wrestles at 220 pounds for MELHS, was also a four-year starter in football. This fall, he was an offensive and defensive lineman for the Metro football team, which posted a 5-5 record and hosted a playoff game during its first season in the Illinois 8-Man Football Association.

But Lott’s contributions to his school go beyond sports.

MELHS sponsors the Serve Awards, which are nominated by faculty members and voted on every two to three weeks. There are three categories – athletics, academics and service. Lott is a multiple winner of the athletics award but has also won several times in the service category.

“The service category is the hardest one to nail down because a lot of kids do things for service organizations and we never hear about it,” MELHS coach Tim Muther said. “But Timmy has won the service award because he has helped people with different projects just out of the goodness of his heart. He’s not in Kiwanis or FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) or any organization like that, but his individual effort has been noted.”

Lott appreciates receiving the awards, but for him, it’s not about getting recognition.

It’s about doing the right thing.

“For the athletic Serve Award, it’s making sure that you do your best and try to improve with every game you play,” Lott said. “For the service award, it’s about having a serving heart and trying to do all I can for people. If somebody is moving something in the hallway, I ask if I can help them move it.

“There’s a lady who always works in concessions and whenever she’s around, I want to help do whatever she needs. It’s been four years of that and kindness accumulates.”

Doing the right thing has always been important for Lott, who attended Katie Harper Wright Elementary School in East St. Louis for six years and went to Mason-Clark Middle School in East St. Louis for sixth grade.

Looking for a better learning environment, he moved to Unity Lutheran Christian Elementary School in East St. Louis for seventh and eighth grade.

“That kind of set me on the path to Metro-East Lutheran and I love the student body here,” Lott said. “There are a lot of people that make every day a fun day to be there.”

To Muther, Lott is a natural leader, even if his leadership style is low-key.

“He’s the captain of our wrestling team and he was also a captain for the football team,” Muther said. “He’s super quiet but he’s come out of his shell.”

On a wrestling team that has only seven wrestlers — half of the 14 weight classes – Lott provides plenty of points for the Knights, but also sets an example for younger teammates.

Lott wrestled his first two years at Metro but sat out his junior year to concentrate on conditioning for football, where he was an offensive and defensive lineman.

“The good thing about wrestling is that it’s a sport that is drilled into your head, so a lot of it came back pretty quickly,” Lott said. “If I had to do it over again, I would have wrestled last season.”

After graduating from MELHS next spring, Lott will be looking for the next challenge in his life.

That challenge could be joining the Marines.

“I’m looking at the military in general, but the Marines are the ones I’m leaning toward the most,” Lott said. “I like the extreme physicality and I’m very much into being on my feet and working. It’s not sedentary and you’re always doing something.”

Beyond the Marines, Lott’s career plans could include the field of biology.

“I’m interested in working with animals or something like that,” Lott said. “That’s a part of me that just kind of came out of nowhere.”

Athletically, Lott still has some unfinished business on the wrestling mat. He has been one of Metro’s most consistent performers, with a 15-5 record heading into this week.

A Class 1A state qualifier as a sophomore in 2018, Lott hopes to end his high school career by qualifying for the state meet.

“I want to be the most fluid, active wrestler I can possibly be,” Lott said. “I want to be technically sound and physically sound.”

Reach reporter Scott Marion at smarion@edwpub.net

Patting knocks off Iowa state champion, again

Article Source Written By: Matt Coss

OCK ISLAND — When Eli Loyd took down Jack Patting with less than 20 seconds left Saturday afternoon to snatch the lead, the Alleman junior wrestler was in a precarious position.

“There is a little bit of panic that goes into your head,” Patting admitted, “but you’ve got to keep wrestling.”

Patting’s perseverance paid off.

The 152-pounder reversed Loyd and then was awarded two back points out of a scramble in the closing seconds for a 5-3 win at the Muddy Water Duals contested at Augustana College’s Carver Center.

It was the second consecutive year Patting beat the Pleasant Valley senior, who captured a Class 3A state title in Iowa last season and is ranked No. 1 at that weight class this winter.

Patting pinned Loyd with a headlock last year in the second period. This time, it required all six minutes.

“Everybody said last year I caught him and it was kind of a freak move,” Patting said. “To beat him on my own terms was nice.”

Patting, who finished the day 5-0, was named Illinois’ Most Outstanding Wrestler for the second straight year.

Iowa claimed 14 of the 25 duals, but Illinois retained bragging rights with a 955-909 advantage in total dual team points.

Davenport Assumption edged Geneseo 36-30 in the final round to finish the day as the lone unbeaten at 5-0. It was Geneseo’s first loss in 14 duals this season.

“It is almost good to lose because you look back more at what you need to work on,” Geneseo 120-pounder Cade Hornback said. “(Assumption) beat us technically. We conditioned harder than them. We should have fought a little bit harder to get that win.”

Geneseo trounced Davenport West 65-6, Davenport Central 62-18 and Davenport North 59-13.

It used the strength of its lower weights — Carson Raya (106), Anthony Montez (113), Hornback and Luke Henkhaus (126) — to slip past Pleasant Valley 37-25.

Montez, Hornback and Henkhaus were a collective 15-0 with six pins, three technical falls and a major decision.

“They train well together, a very good group in the room,” Geneseo coach Jon Murray said. “We’re always happy to have our little string through those weight classes.”

That stretch triggered Geneseo to a 21-20 lead over Assumption. Bruce Moore (152) squared the dual with a 4-2 decision win.

Assumption’s Eli McCracken (160) and Logan Schimanski (170) pulled out decisions at the last two weights to secure it.

“We had a shot at it,” Murray said. “We have to be on physically, technically and mentally. There are a lot of components to it. We didn’t put it all together the way we needed to come out with a win.”

A big turning point came at 195. Assumption’s Aiden Morgan led just 1-0 before he put Eli Allen on his back for a fall in 5 minutes, 49 seconds.

“Huge,” Murray said. “That was like a nine-point swing in their favor. We need to learn how to contain that and finish on the right side of those.

“I’d rather have that kind of thing happen now than when it really matters later in the season.”

Rock Island finished with a 3-2 mark. It beat Davenport Central, Davenport West and Davenport North, but fell to Assumption and PV.

Manny Limon (120) posted a 5-0 mark for the Rocks.

United Township did not win any of its five duals, but heavyweight Simon Wilson was 5-0 with four first-period pins and a forfeit.

Gage Mowry (126) and David Dierickx (138) joined Patting with undefeated performances for the Pioneers, who collected two dual victories.

Patting, a two-time state place winner, said the win over Loyd was a nice boost moving forward.

“You’ve got to think big picture,” Patting said. “The end goal isn’t to win this match against him. The end goal is to win a state title.

“However, (Eli) and I are kind of buddies. It was the last time we’ll wrestle each other in high school so that was a lot of fun.”

Dunlap wrestlers learning, laying groundwork for future

Article Source Written By: Stan Morris of the Journal Star

Dunlap is a little over a month into its first season of high school wrestling.

While wins may have been tough to come by, the enthusiasm for laying the groundwork and improving are evident.

“It’s been a great experience,” said coach Rick Mathern, who previously coached high school wrestling in North Dakota. “They’re learning what wrestling is all about. I’m just trying to keep the enthusiasm high and I’m good at that. That’s probably my best asset. We’re trying to enjoy the process.”

A roster that started out around 24 boys and girls has whittled down to 16. And the majority of those are in their first year of wrestling at any level.

Like captains Vivek Panicker and Ryan Schuck.

Panicker had only wrestled with friends before and decided to turn that into something competitive.

“I just thought, what could go wrong?” said Panicker, a junior who also competes in track and field. “Last two years of high school, might as well try something else new.”

Not a bad start. He finished fourth at 160 pounds at the varsity Chatham Glenwood Titans Invitational the first weekend of December.

“That was my first tournament ever,” Panicker said. “I’ve never wrestled in a high school tournament ever, so placing in my first one surprised me but I was really glad about it. It motivated me to do even better.”

Schuck, a sophomore, is not new to new adventures. He’s also a part of Dunlap’s two-year old lacrosse program. He was talked into coming out for wrestling by a teammate.

“Might as well test the waters,” he said. “I’ve had no experience. I couldn’t tell you how points worked or what you did in a wrestling match before. (But) I like the physicality of it. A lot of sports, you can’t win just off determination and practice and hard work. This, you have to grit and have to work through it and I enjoy that facet.”

Schuck was one of three Eagles to place at the Washington JV tournament on Dec. 21, coming in third at 182 pounds.

It was at Washington where Mathern began to notice a change in his young group.

“I could just see little gains starting to happen, from a toughness standpoint especially,” Mathern said. “We’re not rolling over like we were in December when we went to Chatham.”

Both Panicker and Schuck are excited about being on the ground floor of Dunlap’s new adventure.

“It’s an honor,” Schuck said. “I know in other sports I look up to the guys I see that have come first and set the groundwork. To be able to do that for people who come after us, I’m happy to be a part of this. And I know they’re going to improve upon it. We’ve got great freshmen, great people in the youth program.”

Dunlap is setting its sights on the Mid-Illini Conference JV meet Feb. 1 at Metamora.

“The reality is that is the competition level where I think we’ll be able to see some benchmarks happen,” Mathern said. “Our goal is we want to be better in that tournament than we were December 1.

″(Schuck and Panicker) have been great leaders for me. They came in with the strength that we needed and are doing everything they’re supposed to be doing in the room. I’m really hoping we’re able to turn some heads when we get to that JV regional in early February.”

Panick has already seen the improvements from everyone.

“We’re just trying to get in the motion of things, just trying to figure out how things work and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that,” Panicker said. “We had to take it to the basics and figure out how to maybe just get a power half (move), or something simple. There’s good energy (in the wrestling room).”

The reception from coaches, fans and other area wrestlers has also impressed Mathern.

“There are some great coaches in this region,” Mathern said. “Everywhere we go, I have coaches tell us how jacked they are, so excited that we’re starting the program. It’s really awesome to see. We’re getting shellacked and (wrestlers like state ranked Jared Dowell of Pekin and Broc Shymansky of Farmington) are letting us know to keep it going and are encouraging our kids.”

Mathern is already looking forward March, when he can begin implementing an offseason workout regimen, have a team camp and begin to build a parents booster club, among other things.

“This is a fly by seat of your pants year, but it’s been so much fun because the joy these guys get out of watching their teammates get wins, when wins are hard to come by, is fantastic,” Mathern said. “They’re not jaded by the sport yet. Wrestling is hard. It brings a lot of people down sometimes, but the excitement is real.”

Stan Morris can be reached at 686-3214 or smorris@pjstar.com.