Rock Valley tourney appears wide open’
Whitewater High School’s wrestling team rolled through the Rock Valley Conference en route to the North Division dual-meet title this season.
The Whippets were 7-0 against Rock Valley opponents, 4-0 in the Rock Valley North, and ended the regular season with an impressive 39-33 victory over defending Rock Valley South dual-meet and conference tournament champion Clinton.
Will Whitewater’s magical season continue at Saturday’s conference tournament at Turner?
“I believe it’s going to be wide open,” Whitewater coach John Schimming said. “I don’t think any team is going to have more than one or two (individual) champions.
“It will likely come down to the third- and fifth-place matches, and how many points you can score in those bouts.”
Six wrestlers will be looking to repeat as champions, and keeping with Schimming’s belief that the tournament will be wide open, all six come from different schools.
Orfordville Parkview’s Alex Hauri, a Division 3 state place-winner a year ago, won at 103 pounds last season and is up to 112 this year.
Clinton’s Daniel Banh is the defending champion at 112, while Whitewater’s Luis Valadez returns after winning the 119-pound title a year ago.
“There are a number of very good wrestlers at the lower weights,” Schimming said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what weight classes certain kids end up at.
“The overall talent in the Rock Valley is strong this year. There are at least two or three very good wrestlers at about every weight class.”
Jefferson’s Ryan McDermott won at 125 a year ago, while Palmyra-Eagle’s Caleb Lucht was the 135-pound champion. Brodhead/Juda’s Dylan Severson is back to defend his title at 285.
Clinton won the conference tournament a year ago with 300.5 points, edging Evansville/Abany, which finished with 298. The tournament title was Clinton’s first since 1990 and deprived Evansville/Albany of a fifth straight championship.
Saturday’s tournament begins with the preliminary bouts at 9:45 a.m. The championship bouts are tentatively scheduled for 5 p.m.