Editor's note: Previews for various regionals will be added to this blog throughout the week so check back daily.
Iowa Class 1A Wilton Sectional
When - Saturday at noon.
Teams in the field - Camanche, Durant-Bennett, Lone Tree, Louisa-Muscatine, Wapello, West Branch and Wilton.
At stake - Top two wrestlers in each of 14 weight classes advance to the district tournament at North Cedar on February 12. The top two teams will advance to team dual tournament regional action at Louisa-Muscatine on Tuesday.
Team favorite - Look for this one to be a battle royal between the host Beavers and West Branch from the Cedar Valley Conference, as well as Louisa-Muscatine from the SEISC. West Branch edged Wilton by just eight points, 226-218, at the CVC last weekend. L&M was something of a distant third at the SEISC, but was the top Class 1A team in the event.
Individual weight-class predictions:
103 pounds - 1. Chase Exline, Durant-Bennett (10th in 1A). 2. Will Seydel, West Branch. Thoughts - Exline has two wins over Seydel already, with a fall in the dual and an 8-1 decision in the CVC final. An upset pick could be Wapello's Jack Walker, but Exline and Seydel have an experience advantage.
112 - 1. Aaron Bartenhagen, Durant-Bennett. 2. Keegan Witbeck, Louisa-Muscatine. Thoughts - Bartenhagen had an earlier victory against Iowa City Regina's Nathan Shank be avenged in the CVC finals, but he is the most capable wrestler in the draw. Witbeck is the pick for second, but Camanche's Luke Snodgrass was a district qualifier last year and Wilton's Cole Hinkhouse could also challenge.
119 - 1. Kody Krenz, Louisa-Muscatine (second in 1A). 2. Eric Gray, Wilton. Thoughts - Krenz had quite a battle with New London's Sawyer Farris at the SEISC finals last weekend, but this year Farris is in Class 2A. Gray reached the finals of the CVC, where he also faced off against a 2A wrestler in West Liberty's Nick Arensdorf. Lone Tree's Keaton Kane and West Branch's Max Kober also could contend.
125 - 1. Konner Krummel, Durant-Bennett. 2. Richard Janney, Wilton. Thoughts - If Krummel stays at 125, this is how it plays out, and the bracket stays one of the sectional's most loaded. However, staying at 125 means going into an incredibly loaded district meet. If Krummel moves up to 130, which he did to win the CVC last week, then the sectional is a tough move, but districts could be easier. If he moves, move Janney up a spot and put Louisa-Muscatine's Anthony Kruse in the runnerup spot.
130 - 1. Austin Ronan, Lone Tree. 2. Tyler Donovan, West Branch. Thoughts - Ronan knocked out Krummel's teammate last year, Alex Wright, at districts, and comes in with 30-plus wins already. Krummel beat Donovan 7-0 to win the CVC at 130 last weekend. Another possibility could be Wapello's Ashton Grimm, if he is able to compete. Grimm did not wrestle at the SEISC last weekend. Wilton's Kurt Paulsen also could be a threat.
135 - 1. Nick Becker, Wilton (fifth in 1A). 2. Gage Curry, Louisa-Muscatine (eighth at 130). Thoughts - Becker had a couple of good fights at the CVC, falling in the finals to Tipton's Drew Proctor after winning in overtime over West Branch's Sid Thompson, who'll be here, too. Curry is ranked statewide as a 130-pounder, but hasn't wrestled at 130 all season. He didn't wrestle at the SEISC, either. Should he not compete Saturday, and I'd be surprised if he didn't, pencil Thompson in at the runnerup.
140 - 1. Jake Slocum, West Branch (seventh in 1A). 2. Nate Wallace, Louisa-Muscatine. Thoughts - Slocum dominated the CVC, winning by major decision in the finals. Wallace took Mediapolis' Cody Ramer to overtime before falling in the SEISC finals. Wapello's Jared Hunt, Wilton's Tyler Norby and Camanche's Jake Peterson should challenge.
145 - 1. Levi Goff, Louisa-Muscatine (ninth in 1A). 2. Jacob Walker, Wapello. Thoughts - Goff lost only to Columbus' Brady Milder at the SEISC, earning two pins before dropping a 7-2 decision to Milder, who is in 2A. Walker had a strong dual-meet season but did not wrestle at the SEISC. Look at Wilton's Koy Snider as a potential upset special.
152 - 1. Austin Kessler, Durant-Bennett (first in 1A). 2. Rilen Carew, West Branch (fourth). Thoughts - Kessler and Carew should be pretty lockdown choices in this weight class, even with some solid wrestlers here like Camanche's Brad Drury and Wapello's Nathan Boyer. Kessler decisioned Carew, 7-3, to win the CVC title. He's been ranked No. 1 at 152 all season.
160 - 1. Austin Anderson, Wilton. 2. Ryley Howell, Wapello. Thoughts - Since dropping to 160, Anderson seems to have found a home. He won the CVC with two quick pins and a 7-3 decision in the finals. Howell reached the finals of the SEISC, and is a quality freshman at this upper weight, but Anderson's experience advantage should stand him in good stead.
171 - 1. Derrick Miller, West Branch. 2. Jacob Tackenberg, Wapello. Thoughts - Both Miller (CVC) and Tackenberg (SEISC) reached the finals of their respective tournaments, and have the experience that will be needed to reach the next round. But this weight could be one of the deepest in the sectional, with Wilton's Travis Vick (who only lost 5-3 to Miller in the CVC semis), Camanche's Alex Dean and Lone Tree's Levi Reitzler also in the mix.
189 - 1. Cade Jones, West Branch. 2. Dalton Wheeler, Louisa-Muscatine. Thoughts - This weight class could be the one that determines which teams move on to team dual regionals. Jones won the CVC with two pins, including a second-period fall over Wilton's Trevor Levins, who also might be in the hunt here. Wheeler took third in the SEISC tournament last week.
215 - 1. Jacob Kerr, Wapello. 2. Sam Cunningham, Durant-Bennett. Thoughts - This should be Kerr's title to win after he finished second at the SEISC last weekend. Cunningham is the definitive pick over Wilton's John Brammeier and Louisa-Muscatine's Erick Kerker for the runnerup spot, although Lone Tree's Harry Miller could challenge, also.
285 - 1. Fernando Muniz, Louisa-Muscatine (10th in 1A). 2. Jacob Sexton, Lone Tree. Thoughts - Muniz won the SEISC title last weekend and has hung around the state's top 10 all season. Although Durant-Bennett's Drew George - a finalist in the CVC last weekend - could make things tough for Sexton, it should be Sexton who moves on.
Iowa Class 2A New London Sectional
When - Saturday at noon.
Teams in the field - Columbus, Davis County, Fairfield, Mediapolis, New London-WMU, West Burlington/Notre Dame.
At stake - Top two wrestlers in each of 14 weight classes advance to district competition on February 12 in West Liberty. Top two teams will advance to team dual regional competition in Washington on Tuesday, along with the top two teams in the Solon Sectional.
Team favorite - If results from last weekend's Southeast Iowa Superconference meet are any indicator, Mediapolis might be the on-points favorite over conference rivals Columbus and New London, but Fairfield, too, which put together a top-10 showing at the Bob Lueders Invitational in Clinton two weeks ago, could be a factor.
Individual weight-class predictions:
103 pounds - 1. Grant McPheron, New London (eighth in 2A). 2. Ray Quiroz, Columbus. Thoughts - McPheron didn't have a good SEISC tournament, taking a major-decision defeat in the finals against Highland freshman Travis Cole. Cole only beat Quiroz 7-0 in the semis, so Quiroz might have a chance - he should face Mediapolis' Colton French in the semis. Quiroz pinned French at the SEISC on French's home mat.
112 - 1. Drew Foster, Mediapolis. 2. Chad McCannon, West Burlington/ND. Thoughts - Foster established himself as the wrestler to beat at the SEISC, shutting out first Columbus' Jesus Amigon in the semis and then McCannon in the final, winning both matches by major decision. If Amigon can figure out what he needs to improve on after losing 8-2 to McCannon in the dual-meet matchup between the two, he might make it back to districts, because that rematch is looking like a semifinal bout.
119 - 1. Sawyer Farris, New London (second in 2A). 2. Johnny Peterson, West Burlington/ND. Thoughts - Farris shouldn't have many problems making it through to districts, where No. 1 Topher Carton of Assumption should loom in the final. Peterson pinned Columbus freshman Al Quiroz in the third period for third place at the SEISC. Quiroz and Davis County's Donnie Wintermote probably are the best bets to challenge for second place.
125 - 1. Dakota Simmons, Fairfield (eighth in 2A). 2. Drew Buster, Mediapolis. Thoughts - Simmons didn't compete against some of the local powers at the Bob Lueders Invitational, but he had a very solid showing at the Centerville Invitational in mid-January, finishing second. Buster pushed his candidacy forward with a runnerup showing at the SEISC. If anyone pushes past these two, it's most likely Columbus' Mitchell Roush, who decisioned New London's Brody Burns in the SEISC quarters. Davis County's Dillon Newton could be in the mix as well. Like both Roush and Burns, Newton has lost to Pekin's Austyn Vogel, although earlier in the month.
130 - 1. Steven Jones, Columbus. 2. Ammon Shaner, Fairfield. Thoughts - This is not the strongest of weights, so expect some 135s to move away from New London power Jake Kadel and come here. Jones, who was 135 at the SEISC, is probably the best of those who can move down. Shaner has hung in against some strong 2A/3A competition in southeast Iowa (Washington's Zach Walgren and Fort Madison's Clayton Hocker), but Mediapolis' Russ Moehle was a finalist at 130 in the SEISC. Davis County's Dakota Schutter could make some noise here, too.
135 - 1. Jake Kadel, New London (third in 2A). 2. Brady Broders, Mediapolis. Thoughts - Kadel should be untouchable here, but Broders established himself as the favorite for No. 2 with his runnerup performance at the SEISC. Davis County's Chase Quiver and Fairfield's Quinton Bradfield also should be competitive.
140 - 1. Cody Ramer, Mediapolis. 2. Jeremiah Garber, Davis County. Thoughts - Ramer had a nice SEISC, with two falls and an overtime win over a solid 1A wrestler in Louisa-Muscatine's Nate Wallace. Garber gets the nod over Fairfield's Aaron Gevock and Columbus' Scott Tompkins for the second spot, but it could be well-contested Saturday.
145 - 1. Brady Milder, Columbus (eighth in 2A). 2. Zach Fligg, Davis County. Thoughts - Milder has been the Wildcats' team leader this year after understudying for three years under the tutelage of such former Columbus powerhouses as Seth Noble and Jake Keller. Milder's stepped out into the spotlight, pushing his record to 36-1 after winning the SEISC last weekend. Fligg and Mediapolis freshman Walker Hostetter will battle for the runnerup spot.
152 - 1. Adam Drain, Mediapolis (seventh in 2A). 2. Michael Hammes, Fairfield. Thoughts - There aren't a lot of 152s in this sectional (just four) but three have winning records. It's unusual for a freshman like Drain to dominate an area at a heavier weight like this one, but he was the clear class of the field at the SEISC. Hammes should get past Davis County's Logan Boas in the semis in order to reach Drain.
160 - 1. Randy Quiroz, Columbus. 2. Blake Beckman, Mediapolis. Thoughts - Quiroz is tough as nails, but he'll have to be to get through this weight, which is one of the deepest in the sectional. In addition to Beckman, whom Quiroz beat 3-2 in the SEISC semis, there's Fairfield's Jacob Pilcher - who had two solid fourths at Centerville and Clinton - as well as Davis County's Dylan Nelson. It's a solid top four.
171 - 1. Jeff Guttry, Fairfield (fifth in 2A). 2. Pedro Nunez, Columbus. Thoughts - Nunez pinned his way through the SEISC without having to get past the second period, but Guttry, who didn't wrestle at Clinton but won at Centerville, is a load. With 34 wins so far, I expect Nunez to advance out. Davis County's Dustin Miller is a possible contender in the semis.
189 - 1. Seth Davisson, Fairfield. 2. Willy Bremer, Davis County. Thoughts - There's not a lot of strength in this weight class after these two. Davisson is solid, with a runnerup at Centerville and a very solid fifth in a loaded 189 bracket at Clinton. Class 1A wrestlers at this weight dominated the SEISC, with perhaps New London's Taime Fenton having the best day (sixth) among 2As.
215 - 1. Jacob Minaert, Fairfield. 2. Robbie Johnston, Columbus. Thoughts - There's two solid kids in this weight class and two decent ones (New London's Ty Reynolds and Mediapolis' Mike Rubey). Johnston, I would expect, should be favored above his conference counterparts, but he didn't wrestle at SEISC, so it's difficult to get comparisons, although Johnston has beaten Reynolds earlier in January. Minaert dropped a tough loss to Assumption's Luke Powers at the Lueders Invitational, but was fourth at Centerville.
285 - 1. Michael Smithburg, Fairfield (seventh in 2A). 2. Colton Boas, Davis County. Smithburg is the class of the bracket, and Boas gets the on-points nod over Columbus' Cristian Gutierrez, who did not wrestle at the SEISC. Gutierrez and New London's Matt Zachmeyer should challenge Boas for the second spot.
Iowa Class 1A Alburnett Sectional
When - Saturday, February 5, starting at noon.
Teams - Alburnett, Cascade, Central City, Lisbon, Midland, North Cedar, Tipton.
At stake - Top two wrestlers advance to district competition at North Cedar on February 12. Top two teams advance to dual team regional competition on February 8 at North Linn, along with the top two teams from the Maquoketa Valley Sectional.
Team favorite - Host Alburnett is ranked fifth in Class 1A, with four state-ranked wrestlers in the lineup, but the hosts will be pushed by Lisbon, which comes in ranked eighth statewide.
Individual weight-class predictions:
103 pounds - 1. Zach Fowler, Alburnett. 2. Sam Riely, Midland. Thoughts - Fowler has pins - quick ones, too - against everyone in the field except Tipton's Kody Wallick, who hasn't wrestled Fowler. Riely has falls against three other wrestlers in the weight class. Wallick was fifth at the CVC, but he could still push Riely.
112 - 1. Kyle Pegorick, Midland. 2. Hunter Hutchinson, Lisbon. Thoughts - Pegorick is the favorite, with decisions over both Hutchinson and Alburnett's Jacob Koch, who should be in the mix as well for districts.
119 - 1. Tyler Shulista, Alburnett (first in 1A). 2. T.J. Bowen, Midland. Thoughts - Pencil in Lisbon's Kolbi Kohl over Bowen if Kohl wrestles here, but it benefits the Lions more to have Kohl at 125.
125 - 1. Christopher Halblom, Alburnett (first in 1A). 2. Kolbi Kohl, Lisbon (second in 1A). Thoughts - Lock these two in for district.
130 - 1. Colton Martin, Alburnett (ninth in 1A). 2. Seth Hall, Lisbon. Thoughts - There are only three wrestlers at 130 in this district. If Tipton's Drew Proctor could get down here, it might be worth a look, because, statewide, 130 looks more open than 135.
135 - 1. Drew Proctor, Tipton (fourth in 1A). 2. Grant Henderson, Alburnett (10th). Thoughts - Henderson should provide Proctor with a good test right out of the chute. North Cedar's Josh McCall has an outside chance to advance to the finals, if he can knock off Henderson in the semifinals.
140 - 1. Tait Simpson, Lisbon (third in 1A). 2. Alex German, Alburnett. Thoughts - Simpson pinned German during the season. These two are far ahead of the rest of the likely competitors in the weight class.
145 - 1. Dylan Windfield, Alburnett. 2. Katlin Marr, Midland. Thoughts - Like 140, Windfield and Marr are the only competitors that are far above the .500 mark in this weight.
152 - 1. Zachary Hoyle, Alburnett. 2. Brad Gravel, Cascade. Thoughts - With North Cedar's Jonathan Holst (who might want to look at 160) and Lisbon's Dakota Van Dyke also in this weight class, it could be one of the deepest weights of the sectional.
160 - 1. Kal Alger, Lisbon. 2. Curt Stoll, Cascade. Thoughts - As this weight class shapes up, Tipton's Cole Cook (a finalist at the CVC last weekend) might have an outside shot at districts. Someone like Holst could easily finish second here by bumping up a weight. Holst might even push Alger for the sectional title.
171 - 1. Dacoda Ward, Lisbon. 2. Tanner Tenley, North Cedar. Thoughts - Tenley had a good CVC tournament, finishing second after winning two matches by pin. He'll be able to take advantage of a relatively-light weight class, but Ward is quite strong for not having a state ranking.
189 - 1. Ryan Leonard, Midland (seventh in 1A). 2. Samuel Bowers, Alburnett. Thoughts - Central City's Alden Betzer could push Bowers. But Leonard should be pretty untouchable this week.
215 - 1. Preston Russell, Lisbon. 2. Dakota Richards, Central City. With just three wrestlers in the weight class, Richards is Central City's best shot at advancing someone to districts.
285 - 1. Tyler Smith, Lisbon (third in 1A). 2. Alex Steffen, Cascade. Thoughts - Another light bracket, though Smith would probably be heavily-favored even if it were fuller. North Cedar's Jayce Droll could compete - but he did not wrestle at the CVC last weekend. It would have been a good chance to get some experience for Saturday.
Illinois Class 1A Riverdale Regional
When - Saturday, with the first session at 10 a.m. and the second starting at approximately 2 p.m.
Teams in the field - Kewanee, Knoxville, Mercer County, Monmouth-Roseville, Orion, Riverdale, Rock Island Alleman, Rockridge, Sherrard.
At stake - Top 3 in each of 14 weight classes advance to the Oregon Sectional on Friday, February 11, with regional champions receiving a first-round bye. The regional team champion will advance to the Morrison Dual Team Sectional on February 22.
Team favorite - Mercer County started the year ranked state-wide, had some early difficulties in tournaments, but recently righted the ship with an impressive victory at the Orion Invitational, where the Golden Eagles outpointed Dakota, 182-166, for the title. But Sherrard - still ranked seventh in 1A and possessing a dual victory over the Eagles earlier in the season - will put up a strong fight. Outside of Knoxville, which started a program this year, every team in the field should put together solid showings at this always hard-fought regional.
Individual weight-class predictions:
103 pounds - 1. Brady Ruden, Rockridge. 2. Jacob Devolder, Orion (eighth in 1A). 3. Jason Wilkens, Sherrard. Thoughts - Ruden won the dual meet, Devolder won at the Orion Invitational, so it should be interesting to see how a neutral site goes down. Ruden is right on the cusp of being ranked. If there's an upset special out there, it could sit with Monmouth-Roseville's Justin Kinney, although Wilkens pinned Kinney at the Kewanee Invitational. Or, look at Mercer County's Preston Adams.
112 - 1. Zeke Smith, Rockridge. 2. Jacob Dillbeck, Sherrard. 3. Tanner Coe, orion. Thoughts - Sometimes a weight class becomes a highlight because of how hotly-contested the matches are, and this is shaping up to be one of those. Dillbeck has a tournament title to his credit this year, but Smith finished third at Orion, while Dillbeck was sixth after losing to a wrestler that Smith went on to pin. After Coe, who did not wrestle at Orion, the pickings are a little slim.
119 - 1. Alek Blaser, Mercer County. 2. Ricky Vanderham, Sherrard. 3. Brandon Rohrig, Kewanee. Thoughts - This should be another weight class where the action is intense. Right now, Blaser has the edge on points over everyone and Vanderham is a slight favorite above the rest of the field, but one would have hoped for some separation between Rohrig, Orion's Kaleb Hougland and Rockridge's Jake Miller. Rohrig and Hougland had the opportunity at Orion to meet with the winner to earn a podium finish, but Rohrig forfeited, and Hougland went on to decision Miller for fifth place. But Rohrig teched Miller on Friday night at that tournament. So, right now, Rohrig is the favorite for third, but it could be an interesting semifinal and consolation-semifinal round.
125 - 1. Logan Snyder, Mercer County (12th in 1A). 2. Zach Butler, Orion (fifth). 3. Bryce Willett, Monmouth-Roseville (eighth). Thoughts - Rinse and repeat. This is another intense weight class. These three qualifiers could all finish in the top three in an entirely different order. Or, if Kewanee's Trae Walters or Riverdale's Al Zimmer or Sherrard's Cody Cullor or - assuming he's back and fully healthy - Alleman's Sean Wetherell puts together another solid tournament, one of these three could easily be out. This weight could be the deepest in a deep regional.
130 - 1. Thorian Twyner, Orion (first in 1A). 2. Austin Skiles, Mercer County (second). 3. Tyson Schulte, Sherrard. Thoughts - Twyner and Skiles seem to be facing off forever, though this postseason will represent the final set of matches, probably, for the pair. Some observers seem to think that Skiles will move up to 135, others say he won't back away from Twyner. I'll say either way, Skiles is going to go deep into the tournament. But Twyner, a defending state champ and three-time medalist, should be a solid favorite once again.
135 - 1. Kadmiel Smith, Rockridge (seventh in 1A). 2. Derrick Morford, Mercer County (ninth). 3. Hawk Gustafson, Sherrard. Thoughts - Smith only won by a 7-6 count in the Orion semifinals, so don't be surprised at all if this winds up reversing on Saturday. There's a big step from where Smith and Morford are to where Gustafson is (Morford beat Gustafson 13-0 for third place at Orion). Kewanee's Mark Breedlove might also be in the mix here.
140 - 1. Eric Miller, Sherrard. 2. Jesse Snyder, Mercer County. 3. Joe DeVolder, Orion. Thoughts - How this bracket falls out could determine the team regional champion. Miller had a strong Orion tournament after losing in the first round, winning three matches to fight all the way back to third place, including beating the kid that knocked him into the consolation brackets. Yes, styles determine matchups, and that could happen again in this weight class. Kewanee's Carlos Valencia is another solid contender here.
145 - 1. Zach Nelson, Mercer County (fifth in 1A). 2. Kevin Wetherell, Alleman (12th). 3. Doroteo Duarte, Kewanee. Thoughts - Nelson vs. Wetherell in the finals would be a rematch of the Riverdale Invitational finals between the two. Nelson appears to just get stronger and stronger, but Wetherell has pulled together some impressive victories in the postseason before. Kewanee's Duarte gets the nod over Orion's Trevor Peterson, Monmouth-Roseville's Gage Hedges and Sherrard's Michael Anthony.
152 - 1. Kelby Kindelsperger, Riverdale (11th in 1A). 2. Schuyler Wardlow, Sherrard. 3. C.J. Despain, Mercer County. Thoughts - Kindelsperger should not have trouble winning this title. He should get quite a bit of home-crowd support in his final home meet. Wardlow I'll take on points ahead of Despain, Monmouth-Roseville's Luis Viveros and Alleman's Cole Marxen.
160 - 1. Branson Cain, Riverdale (third in 1A). 2. Steele McCulley, Rockridge. 3. John Ricke, Mercer County. Thoughts - Cain didn't compete at the Orion tournament, but I would expect him to dominate this bracket. Look for McCulley to find his way to the finals ahead of Ricke, Monmouth-Roseville's Antonio Morales, Orion's Kevin Miller and Sherrard's Andrew Miller. The first round should be somewhat competitive, however.
171 - 1. Chad Kirkhove, Sherrard. 2. Brandon Mizlo, Riverdale. 3. Landon McIntosh, Mercer County. Thoughts - Actually, my thoughts and prayers go out to Landon and his family; older brother Yancy passed away in a car accident earlier this week. I covered Yancy several years ago, and he was a very hard worker who got every ounce of ability out on the mat. As for this weight class, I think Kirkhove shouldn't have any problem winning; Mizlo and McIntosh are the next strongest, but Alleman's Ben West might contend as well.
189 - 1. Seth Whan, Sherrard (fourth in 1A). 2. Tanner Edwards, Monmouth-Roseville. 3. Brandon Griffin, Rockridge. Thoughts - Although Whan should not be pushed too hard in collecting the title - he teched Edwards to win at Kewanee last month - Edwards should be the No. 2 candidate after his tournament win at Rochester. Griffin is the pick over Riverdale's Josh Duncan after defeating Duncan by major decision at Orion, but Duncan has beaten Edwards in the past. Alleman's Kyle Nelson should be in the mix, too.
215 - 1. Nate Steele, Sherrard. 2. Alex Kisner, Mercer County. 3. Mike Sprinkle, Knoxville. Thoughts - Another weight class that could very well determine which team wins the regional Saturday. Steele didn't wrestle at Orion, but finished second at Kewanee last month. Kisner had a tough battle with Sprinkle - Knoxville's best wrestler - in the consolation semis at Orion. Sprinkle is the pick for third over Rockridge's Justin Hitchcock and Monmouth-Roseville's Cain Cokel.
285 - 1. Mitchell Keppy, Riverdale (first in 1A). 2. Cal Breedlove, Kewanee (third). 3. Alex Wilson, Alleman (12th). Thoughts - Lock these picks in, in this order, for this weight. Keppy and Breedlove were expected to have a great battle at Orion, but Keppy was sick and didn't wrestle. Breedlove went on to win the title, as he did at PORTA and Kewanee, while Keppy has titles at Riverdale, Stillman Valley and Princeton. Winning is something they're used to doing. Wilson is the pick for third over Sherrard's Ben Corlett.
Illinois Class 1A Stillman Valley Regional
When - Saturday, Feb. 5, with the first session at 10 a.m. and the second at approximately 1 p.m.
Teams - Amboy, Ashton-Franklin Center, Byron, Lena-Winslow, Oregon, Polo, West Carroll, Stillman Valley.
At stake - Top three in each of 14 weight classes advance to next week's Oregon Sectional, with each regional champion receiving a first-round bye. The team champion advances to the Morrison Dual Team Sectional on February 22.
Team favorite - Stillman Valley. The Pirates are sixth in Class 1A and typically wrestle a schedule that features much bigger schools. Most of their regular-season tournament activity is against Class 2A and 3A teams. Byron (10th in 1A) and Lena-Winslow (11th in 1A) make this regional one of the state's strongest.
Individual weight-class predictions
103 pounds - 1. Nelson Baker, Byron (fifth in 1A). 2. Rickey Rowe, Oregon. 3. Anthony Hahn, Ashton-Franklin Center. Thoughts - Baker should dominate this weight class. Rowe pinned Hahn at the Orion Invitational two weekends ago.
112 - 1. Jeremiah Shearer, Stillman Valley (second in 1A). 2. Ryan Nadig, Lena-Winslow. 3. Nate Fore, Byron. Thoughts - Shearer won't have any difficulties with this bracket. A couple of observers on the Internet like Fore more, but Nadig had a decent tournament at Litchfield last weekend.
119 - 1. Nick Harrison, Stillman Valley (first in 1A). 2. Dustin Chapman, Lena-Winslow. 3. Matt McMullen, Byron. Thoughts - No one will touch Harrison in this bracket, and yes, West Carroll's Payton Nevills beat Chapman in the Stillman Valley tournament in December, but Chapman is on a roll after winning at Litchfield on Saturday, and McMullen was one match from placing at Princeton. Nevills will have to find the form that he showed in winning the Riverdale Invitational in December.
125 - 1. J.J. Whaley, Stillman Valley (second in 1A). 2. Zach Hartman, West Carroll. 3. Sean Cory, Lena-Winslow. Thoughts - Hartman was in the hunt to medal at the Lueders Invitational before a disqualification ended his day, but the form he displayed in winning at Riverdale and finishing second at Stillman Valley should get him through.
130 - 1. Jose Abitua, Stillman Valley (fifth in 1A). 2. Charles Sievers, Byron. 3. Peter Bonvillian, Lena-Winslow. Thoughts - This could be a surprisingly-deep bracket. West Carroll's Earnest Walls could pull together an upset or two, but fourth is probably the spot where he winds up.
135 - 1. Nick Temes, Amboy (fourth in 1A). 2. Austin McPeek, Lena-Winslow. 3. Jake Kaecker, Ashton-Franklin Center. Thoughts - West Carroll's Cody Yenney could also make a strong bid for sectionals, particularly if McPeek - who was second at this weight at Litchfield last week - drops back to 130, where he wrestled in December. This weight, too, is shaping up as a deep one.
140 - 1. Quincy Kalkbrenner, Lena-Winslow (fifth in 1A). 2. Talon Paul, Stillman Valley. 3. Aaron Bonnell, Byron. Thoughts - Another deep weight class, particularly at the top. Kalkbrenner defeated Paul in the finals at the Stillman Valley tournament in December.
145 - 1. Steven Bradley, Byron (third in 1A). 2. Tad Hawley, Stillman Valley (fourth). 3. T.J. Knutson, Lena-Winslow. Thoughts - This could be the strongest set of qualifiers coming out of this regional. At least two of these could wind up qualifying for state.
152 - 1. Mikey Brink, Oregon (10th in 1A). 2. Zach Hagemann, Polo. 3. Nick Elsbury, Byron. Thoughts - Brink pinned Hagemann in the consolation rounds to clinch a spot on the podium at Orion. Elsbury and Lena-Winslow's Dakota Cain will battle for the third spot.
160 - 1. Danny Bontz, Amboy (seventh in 1A). 2. Zach Patterson, Stillman Valley (ninth). 3. Brandon Sklavanitis, Oregon. Thoughts - This is another strong set of sectional qualifiers. Bontz and Patterson wrestled in the semis at Stillman Valley back in December, with Bontz winning with a third-period fall. Sklavanitis won at Orion at 160, but was at 171 in December. He could pull some upsets. With Byron's Dustin Elsbury in play at this weight also, this is another tough one.
171 - 1. Logan Staver, Lena-Winslow. 2. Jake Wold, Stillman Valley. 3. William Henert, Ashton-Franklin Center. Thoughts - West Carroll's Jacob Klein could put together a solid bid to knock Henert out of the top three. Staver's move up to 171 looks like the right one, particularly with Wold nursing an injured ankle and 160 being four-deep already.
189 - 1. Trey Griffin, Lena-Winslow (first in 1A). 2. Dillon McCannon, Ashton-Franklin Center (seventh). 3. Byron Morgan, Polo. Thoughts - Look at Stillman Valley's Zach Leuenberger as another possibility for the top three, but no one should beat Griffin.
215 - 1. Reid Sealby, Byron (eighth in 1A). 2. Trey Enloe, West Carroll. 3. Darious Decker, Amboy. Thoughts - It's sometimes tricky to compare wrestlers by common opponents, but Enloe pinned Le-Win's Jacob Weltzin at the Lueders two weekends ago, while Decker decisioned Weltzin at Stillman Valley in December. So with the more commanding victory coming at a more-recent time, Enloe should be the pick over Decker. Sealby should stand alone at the top.
285 - 1. Brandon Imel, Polo. 2. Nelson Ziel, Byron. 3. Kody Harriott, Stillman Valley. Thoughts - This might be the weakest bracket in the regional. Expect at least one, and maybe more than one, wrestler with a sub-.500 wrestler to advance out.
Illinois Class 1A Rock Falls Regional
When — Saturday, with the first session at 9 a.m. and the second starting at approximately 1 p.m.
Teams in the field — Erie/Prophetstown, Fulton, Putnam County, Mendota, Morrison, Peru St. Bede, Rock Falls, Princeton and Sterling Newman.
At stake — Top three individuals in each of 14 weight classes advance to the Oregon Sectional on February 11, with regional champions receiving a first-round bye. The regional team champion advances to the Morrison Dual Team Sectional on February 22.
Team favorite — Sterling Newman. The Comets, ranked third in Class 1A, are looking at a two-team race in this regional, as they and Erie/Prophetstown (12th) will be looking to pile up the sectional qualifiers, not to mention be the team that qualifies for team dual sectionals. Don’t count out the Panthers; eveyone did a year ago, and they wound up qualifying for state. Morrison and Princeton should also put up solid team efforts, though neither the Mustangs nor the Tigers have the overall team strength to dethrone either E/P or Newman.
Individual weight-class predictions
103 pounds — 1. Garrett Webb, Newman (third in 1A). 2. Chris Denning, Rock Falls (second in 1A). 3. Brandon McCullough, Erie/Prophetstown. Thoughts — This was Denning’s matchup to lose in December, but Webb turned the tables on him last week, winning 3-1 in the dual meet between the Comets and Rockets. Winning this regional is going to be crucial for both of them, because both have had huge problems trying to overcome Dakota freshman Josh Alber, and a regional title nets them at least a 2-in-3 chance of being on the other side of the Oregon Sectional bracket. Princeton’s Reece Bird could be in the mix as well.
112 — 1. Jake Snow, Newman (third in 1A). 2. Mitch Mallary, Erie/Prophetstown (sixth in 1A). 3. Tylr Dolan, Morrison. Thoughts — Snow decisioned Mallary in overtime to win the Erie/Prophetstown Holiday Invitational back in December. Expect another hotly-contested matchup if these two meet in the finals. Dolan closed with a strong finish to the season, with a place-winning effort at the Lueders Invitational in Clinton. But he’ll get some challenges, potentially from Mendota’s D.J. Duffey (although Duffey was at 119 for the Rockford Lutheran tournament last weekend) and, if he’s at 100 percent and in the lineup for regionals, Fulton’s Alex Gehn, who was strong in December.
119 — 1. Mitch Hood, Morrison (third in 1A). 2. Bryce Ivey, Newman. 3. Ethan Jones, Fulton. Thoughts — Hood ran into a buzzsaw of highly-regarded competitors in two states at the Lueders Invitational two weeks ago, and that experience — albeit one that led to a fifth-place finish — should have been a good capstone to Hood’s tournament experience this week. Jones was one loss from winning the Kewanee Invitational at 119 three weeks ago in Fulton’s final tournament. Princeton’s Marshall Ary and Duffey, if he stays at 119, will be in the mix.
125 — 1. Brian Zahnle, Fulton. 2. Pepe Cervantes, Rock Falls. 3. Maison Bittner, Newman. Thoughts — If regionals had been held in December, Cervantes would have been my pick for certain, the way he was tearing things up locally. But after getting the No. 1 seed at Princeton, Cervantes didn’t place, and has struggled a bit since. Zahnle has been much more consistent, but probably hasn’t seen the competition that Cervantes and Bittner have. Princeton’s Eric Bickett is another wrestler who could push his way forward.
130 — 1. Maxx Hubbard, Newman (third in 1A). 2. Brandon Meadows, Erie/Prophetstown. 3. James Dove, Princeton. Thoughts — There’s a big gap between Hubbard and Meadows, and a big-but-smaller one between Meadows and Dove, so Hubbard and Meadows seem to be fairly well-set for the finals. Dove might get a challenge from Morrison’s Zach Lyerla or Fulton’s Collin Grant along the way.
135 — 1. Jonathan Ortman, Newman (second in 1A). 2. Reiter Bird, Princeton. 3. Jeff Dornbush, Erie/Prophetstown. Thoughts — This could be one of the deeper brackets in the regional. Dornbush, who was one match from placing at Orion, does not have a secure spot, with Fulton’s Josh Lewis and one of Putnam County’s best — Kyle Kinczewski — for sure in the weight. If Rock Falls got senior Javier Cid back — he hasn’t wrestled in the 2011 half of the season — this would make every round of the bracket a fight.
140 — 1. Mark McDonnell, Morrison (second in 1A). 2. Zach Ryder, Fulton (sixth). 3. Alex Cole, Erie/Prophetstown (10th). Thoughts — Lock these guys up as the picks — so long as McDonnell stays at 140, though rumors are floating that he’ll move. I can tell you from the horse’s mouth: he told me at the Lueders that he’s comfortable at 140, even though he looks like a 3A 140-pounder. He’s my pick to win state at this weight. This is as solid a qualifying group as there is from any one regional, and then when you throw in Newman’s Stephen Adamecz (12th) and Princeton’s Cody Cumpton as potential upset specials, this is a weight class worth watching.
145 — 1. Jakob Jepson, Erie/Prophetstown (11th in 1A). 2. Sterlin Parks, Morrison. 3. Logan McCauley, Princeton. Thoughts — With five sectional-capable wrestlers at 140, and maybe at best two here, I would expect somebody — Ryder or Adamecz, perhaps — to move up here. Jepson is definitely capable of winning a regional championship, however. In this regional, however, there just isn’t a lot of depth after Parks.
152 — 1. Nick Stoddard, Erie/Prophetstown. 2. Phillip O’Shea, Morrison. 3. Earl Towne, Princeton. Thoughts — Should Newman’s Brian Bahrs — who won state last year — return, then pencil in Bahrs at the top and move everybody down a spot. Stoddard is just on the cusp of state rankings, while O’Shea has proven to be a very talented freshman at 152, losing just one match short of placing at the Lueders two weeks ago.
160 — 1. Dylan DeShane, Erie/Prophetstown (fifth in 1A). 2. Dylan Olson, Princeton (11th). 3. Tyler Hammer, Newman. Thoughts — It has never failed to surprise me to see DeShane wrestle so many duals at 189 during the regular season, and then see him be so much lighter at season’s end. DeShane was third at Orion two weeks ago, but Olson was a very solid fourth at the Princeton Invite in early January. Hammer could be a qualifier also at 152, if he’s able to go there and Bahrs isn’t able to wrestle, but it might be better to stay here.
171 — 1. R.J. Troye, Newman (sixth in 1A). 2. Colton Pate, Princeton. 3. Zach Dick, Fulton. Thoughts — Troye should dominate this weight class, I would expect. Pate I put on points ahead of Dick, Morrison’s Calvin Harridge and Rock Falls’ Ramon Luevano.
189 — 1. Matt McDonnell, Morrison (second in 1A). 2. Carlos Salazar, Newman. 3. Jake Guerrero, Mendota. Thoughts — McDonnell should not be pushed very hard in this bracket; his biggest challenge will be next week, with Lena-Winslow’s Trey Griffin and potentially three other wrestlers ranked in the top seven statewide at this weight. Salazar has shown a great deal of improvement over his career, Guerrero is by far Mendota’s best wrestler, but he could be pushed by Rock Falls’ Shawn Skinner or Erie/Prophetstown’s Johnathan Butts.
215 — 1. Ross Hughes, Erie/Prophetstown (12th in 1A). 2. Mitch Butt, Fulton. 3. Logan Kuehl, Morrison. Thoughts — After Hughes, there is some parity between Butt, Kuehl and Rock Falls’ Derek Dingman, and that could make the two final spots tricky to dig up indeed. Kuehl was one match from medaling at the Lueders Invite. Princeton’s Brewer Ary also could be in the mix as well.
285 — 1. Jake Walls, Newman (11th in 1A). 2. Ben Staton, Princeton. 3. Mason Kampe, Fulton. Thoughts — That I can tell, there are only three 285s in the regional. That makes all three sectional qualifiers. Morrison has had a 285 in the mix, at least it did in December, and that would make things very difficult for Kampe, who has struggled a bit. Walls should not have any trouble winning this weight class.
Class 2A Assumption Sectional
When — Saturday at noon.
Teams in the field — Anamosa, Assumption, Central DeWitt, Maquoketa, Northeast, West Liberty.
At stake — Top two wrestlers in each of 14 weight classes advance to district competition in West Liberty on February 12. The top two teams advance to team dual regional competition in Maquoketa on Tuesday along with the top two teams from the Dyersville Beckman Sectional.
Team favorite — Ranked No. 1 statewide in the final 2A rankings issued by The Predicament, Assumption should be a heavy favorite to win its own sectional on Saturday. The Knights could advance all 14 wrestlers out of the meet into districts, which will make a sustained challenge for any other team difficult. I think it’s a two-team battle for second between West Liberty (third at last week’s Cedar Valley Conference) and Central DeWitt (fifth at the WaMaC), though Maquoketa and Northeast should have some decent showings, too.
Individual weight-class predictions:
103 pounds — 1. Tony DeVriese, Assumption (fourth in 2A). 2. Tyler Schoon, Northeast. Thoughts — DeVriese finished third at the MAC and followed that up with a runnerup finish at the Lueders Invite in Clinton, where he shut out Schoon, 10-0, in the quarterfinals. With 30-plus wins, I expect Schoon to be the finalist at this weight. Schoon pinned Central DeWitt’s Nick Woodford in the second period.
112 — 1. Kyle Springer, Assumption (ninth in 2A). 2. Eliot Henderson, West Liberty. Thoughts — Springer has falls over Henderson and Central DeWitt’s Nick Jewell, who’s also here. It might be that Maquoketa’s Christian Flenker, a WaMaC top-eight finisher, is the strongest challenger to Henderson, but an unknown commodity would be the status of Northeast wrestler Connor Soenksen, who was a 30-match winner last year at 103. Soenksen would definitely be a challenge for Springer.
119 — 1. Topher Carton, Assumption (first in 2A). 2. Haven Miller, Maquoketa. Thoughts — Carton probably won’t be touched at this sectional, though he hasn’t faced Miller this year. Miller was pinned by Carton’s 125-pound teammate, Eric Clarke, but Carton needed just 40 seconds to pin West Liberty’s Nick Arensdorf, who is probably next-best after Miller, who was second at the WaMaC at this weight. Northeast could send Soenksen out here, too, as he spent the first half of the season competing at 119, but it was Andrew Driscoll who competed at this weight at the Lueders.
125 — 1. Eric Clarke, Assumption. 2. Skylar Kraft, Anamosa. Thoughts — This could be a competitive final match, as Kraft finished fourth in a very competitive WaMaC tournament, although Clarke finished fourth at the MAC behind three Class 3A wrestlers, two of them ranked. Clarke and Kraft should be ahead of West Liberty’s Isaiah Rodriguez. Both have falls over Rodriguez earlier in the season.
130 — 1. Jason Bowers, Anamosa. 2. Grant Rosenboom, Assumption. Thoughts — Bowers and Rosenboom established themselves as the top dogs with Bowers’ pin of Central DeWitt’s Greyson Doolittle for third place at the WaMaC and Rosenboom’s tech of Doolittle shortly after the MAC tournament. Rosenboom also has a first-period pin over Northeast’s Blake Tebbe and West Liberty’s Sam Stecker. It will pretty much come down to the finals. Don’t be surprised if Rosenboom makes it five Knights titles in a row, however.
135 — 1. Shiloh Snyder, Maquoketa. 2. Jacob Kagemann, Central DeWitt. Thoughts — Snyder was ranked for most of the season, and fell out of the final rankings, but he gave Benton’s Dustin Shinkle a 2-1 battle in the WaMaC finals. Kagemann was fifth at that same tournament, and is the pick for second unless one of two wrestlers return: Assumption’s Tony Parks has missed most of January with an ankle injury, and West Liberty’s Luis Gallegos has been out for most of the season. But Parks is certainly capable of a runner-up finish here, and Gallegos would not only be the favorite for second, but would push Snyder hard in the finals.
140 — 1. Jeremy Felderman, Assumption. 2. Dakota Snyder, Maquoketa. Thoughts — Snyder didn’t wrestle at the WaMaC, but if he competes, he should be the same competitive matchup for Felderman that he was back in December, when he took Felderman the full six minutes before falling, 6-4. Neither Felderman nor Snyder will be able to overlook West Liberty’s Dillon Christensen, who was third in the CVC, and Central DeWitt’s Luke Kelley, who was 4-1 and fifth at the WaMaC, losing only to eventual champion Taylor Hotek of Waterloo Columbus.
145 — 1. Brody Grothus, Assumption (second in 2A). 2. Logan Hewitt, Anamosa. Thoughts — While I don’t expect anyone to push Grothus too hard on Saturday, what I do expect is a tremendous semifinal on the other side between Hewitt and Northeast’s Kody Moehr, a 35-match winner. It would not surprise me if Moehr wound up winning that match, but Grothus needed only 38 seconds to dispose of Moehr in the quarterfinals of the Lueders. Losing that semifinal might very well mean elimination from the tournament, because Grothus should be that heavily-favored.
152 — 1. Nick Georgean, Assumption (sixth in 2A). 2. Chase Kraklio, Central DeWitt. Thoughts — Kraklio won his last three matches to finish fifth at the WaMaC, but at 18-21, he’s the strongest challenger to Georgean at this sectional. That leads me to believe, if I’m Moehr or Hewitt, to look very hard at moving up to 152, where the chance to move on is much higher than warring through the other guy to make the finals at 145.
160 — 1. Thomas Reyhons, Assumption. 2. Alexis Sagastume, West Liberty. Thoughts — Reyhons hasn’t wrestled long enough to be ranked, but I won’t be surprised to see him on the state podium somewhere Saturday night. He was dominant at the North Duals. Sagastume, who was (to me) a surprising third at the CVC, may not let him be dominant. But Sagastume, too, will face a challenge from a Northeast wrestler in the semifinals, as Josh Kennedy will come in with 30 wins. That should be a good match, and one Sagastume will need to win if the Comets are to push for second place.
171 — 1. Tommy Argo, Assumption (ninth in 2A). 2. Josh Holtz, Maquoketa. Thoughts — This should be a good final and good rematch of one of the more competitive matches that the Knights and Cardinals had back in December, when Argo won by a 12-9 decision. It’s possible that West Liberty’s Kory Wiele might be able to contend in the mix, but I think it’ll be a rematch in the finals.
189 — 1. Erik McKillip, West Liberty. 2. Assumption wrestler. Thoughts — Back in January, McKillip decisioned the Knights’ Bradley Grothus, 5-4, in the dual meet for one of the Comets’ two victories. We may not know before the seed meeting who Assumption will send out at 189 and 215 pounds (it’ll be two of Grothus, Andrew Riley and Luke Powers), but I think as capable as Riley is, he’d be giving up too much size to McKillip and I think Powers would be given up too much experience at the varsity level. Grothus is the best matchup for McKillip, but it may be someone else there. Whoever the Knights send out, that wrestler should move on.
215 — 1. Tom McClimon, Central DeWitt (10th in 2A). 2. Forrest Marx, Northeast. Thoughts — This might be the one weight where Assumption might struggle, depending on who goes out. McClimon (runnerup at the WaMaC) and Marx are both very capable 215s, but it’s possible that Bradley Grothus could be up here for Assumption. Even if not, and it’s Powers instead, this is the deepest weight class in the sectional, with West Liberty’s Jake Boehme — a CVC champ at 285 — more than capable not only of advancing but winning here. A foursome of McClimon, Marx, Boehme and Grothus would make for two monster semifinals and a monster consolation-semifinal match.
285 — 1. Tyler Swope, Assumption (second in 2A). 2. Creighton Fox, Central DeWitt. Thoughts — I think even if Boehme were to stay up here, I would expect Swope to dominate and Fox to take second. Fox’s pin of North Scott’s Jake Arthur at the Lancer Duals in early January convinced me that the ranking he had at the time was legitimate, and I think he could — if he can get out of districts — earn a podium finish. If Boehme stays at 215, there aren’t any other wrestlers that could contend for the finals, although Northeast’s Alex Hinerichsen has built up a decent record.