Area Wrestlers Get Ready For First Step Towards State
By Al Zipsie
NUIC wrestling takes center stage this weekend.
The top two ranked 1A wrestling teams in the state (Rob Sherrill rankings) are on a collision course for a showdown this Saturday at the Winnebago Individual Regional.
Dakota and Lena-Winslow/Stockton both from the NUIC will meet with the only the team point champion from the Individual Regional advancing to the State Duals. It should be a very close battle with the other teams in the nine-team regional playing a part. Any Dakota and LW/S head to head matches will be key. And both teams will be looking to scrape out points where they can.
For the lone survivor, they will hope to give the NUIC a state champion for the sixth straight year and in the title match for the seventh year in a row. LW/S was the runner-up in 2012 and won it last year. Dakota had won it four straight years in between.
Who is in each of the 14 weight classes may change. This is a look at each weight class. LW/S has the more of the powerful wrestlers who can win Individual state. They include the trio of Hunter Luke at 138, Rahveon Valentine at 170 and Ian Kuehl at 285. They are hoping to notch first place points. The Panther/Hawks also hope to get solid efforts from Jaden Rice at 106, Tanner Kalkbrenner at 126. Winston McPeek at 132 and both Jeremiah (145) and Jason Hermann at 152, Collin Dvorak at 160 and Elijah Rowe at 182.
Dakota has just one of the state's top ranked grappler at 220 in Maverick McPeek. However, Dakota may have a little more depth and it will be clutch to get points and high places from Connor Elmer (106), Lucas Sutherland (113), Quinton Heilemeier (126), Caleb Alber (132), Evan Riggle (138), Cade Slayton (145), Andrew Wenzel (152), Aiden Nardin (160) and Chad Gallagher at 182.
Winnebago Individual Regional. Only team champion in points advances for a shot at dual state title.
Saturday February 3rd. The top three wrestlers in each weight class advance to Sectionals.
- Connor Elmer of Dakota had won a 7-1 decision over Jaden Rice of LW/S when Dakota won the dual 36-33 a few weeks ago. The deep field also includes Andrew Herbst Oregon, Ivan Loyala Stillman Valley, Jake Larson Byron, Hayden Faworski Winnebago and Briar Nevills West Carroll.
- Jacob Milliman of Oregon is the favorite with Dakota's Lucas Sutherland and West Carroll's Trapper Hartman in the field.
- Top heavy with the top two in Josh Schrank of Rockford Lutheran and Ethan Doty of West Carroll.
- Up in the air as any weight class with Tanner Kalkbrenner LW/S, Carlos Sanchez Winnebago, Luke Bennett Stillman Valley and Quinton Heilemeier Dakota.
- Jared VanFleet is a heavy favorite from Stillman Valley. Also looking to advance Caleb Alber Dakota, Winston McPeek LW/S and Noah Paul Oregon.
- Hunter Luke of LW/S is your favorite with others in the field Austin Abitua of Stillman Valley, Evan Riggle of Dakota and Chase Clark Oregon.
- Jeremiah Hermann LW/S, Cade Slayton Dakota, Chris Alaniz of Oregon and Logan Lagenhauser Stillman Valley will battle for the title.
- Could be a LW/S and Dakota final with Dakota's Andrew Wenzel and LW/S with Jason Hermann.
- Sam Durfey of Stillman Valley is the favorite. Also looking to make a mark Collin Dvorak LW/S, Tristan Faworsski Winnebago and Aiden Nardin of Dakota.
- Rahveon Valentine of LW/S is the favorite with Ricky Messling of Byron and Alex Hoffman Du/Pec looking to advance.
- Could be a good battle with Jonah Pearsons Byron, Elijah Rowe LW/S and Chad Gallagher of Dakota.
- Drake Jennings of Stillman Valley is looking for the title. With Matt Wombacher Byron hoping to challenge.
- Maverick McPeek if Dakota is hoping to dominate. Also in field Peyton Lind of Byron.
- Ian Kuehl of LW/S is favorite with Byron sophomore Tyler Elisbury looking for an upset.