Coalers matmen advance to Elite Eight

COAL CITY SENIOR Brant "Buddy" Widlowski is one of the starters from last year's state championship team who returns as a factor for the Coalers as they advance to the Elite Eight match on Friday.

Photo by Kelly VanDuyne

The Coal City wrestling is so far on track to defend their 1A state dual team title.

The Coalers dispatched Chicago (De La Salle) easily on Tuesday night, 60-15, during the Coal City Sectional to advance to Friday's State Finals at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington.

Of all the Elite Eight teams remaining in 1A, Coal City had the most decisive sectional victory and will face Port Byron (Riverdale), who got by Sandwich 38-36, in the quarterfinal round on Friday at 5 p.m. in Bloomington.  The Riverdale Rams had two third place winners out of five state qualifiers for individual state. The Coalers sent 11 to state, coming home with a first, second, two fifths and one sixth place medal. In head-to-head matches between Coal Cty and Riverdale, Coalers Brant Widlowski (150) win 8-2 and Culan Lindemuth pinned his 120-pound opponent.Both those Rams were their third place finishers.

The Coalers need to get by Riverdale on Friday to return on Saturday at 9 a.m. for the state semifinal. Their opponent will likely be Vandalia who beat Benton 49-24 in the Sectional. Of course Vandalia has to beat Rickover Naval Academy on Friday too. If Coal City and Vandalia both make it to the semifinal, the Coalers may have the edge as Vandalia had six state qualifiers, two winning second place while Coalers Culan Lindemuth (120) and Cooper Morris (113) both faced Vandalia opponents at state and defeated them.

Win or lose on Saturday morning, the Coalers would stay for a 6 p.m. match to determine third place or the championship. The Coalers have good odds of being in the championship against Woodstock Marian who recently had eight state qualifiers who finished with two first, one second, a third, fourth and sixth place medal. Marian beat Byron 48-28 to advance to the Elite Eight and will have to get by LeRoy in the quarterfinal.