By JOHN ROARK
MT. VERNON — Just the chance to participate at a state tournament might be enough for some athletes, but not for the three Mt. Vernon Township High School wrestlers still in the running for Class 2A individual championships.
“These three, I don’t really worry about them thinking. ‘I made it to state and that’s great, and I’m just here for the experience,’” Rams coach Sean Docherty said of senior Torrey Pollard, junior Dustin Cole and sophomore Blake Stricklin. “These three want to do something.”
And the process takes up again Friday morning in Champaign at Assembly Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois. Each is entered in an opening-round match by virtue of their respective finishes at last weekend’s Lanphier Class 2A sectional.
Stricklin (135 pounds) and Cole (215) were both runnerups in their respective divisions, while Pollard — earning a trip north in his final go-around — survived a brutal trip through the 189-pound consolation bracket, winning four bouts in the second day to claim a third-place medal.
To Docherty, Pollard’s trip to Champaign, combined with his tremendous momentum from last weekend’s experience, comes at the right time.
Pollard (29-5) meets Lemont’s Connor Nagel (29-3) in the first round, and that winner will knock heads with Grayslake’s Kevin Hein (33-5).
Crystal Lake Central’s Austin Marsden (42-2) has the best mark in the 189 field.
“Torrey’s got a shot,” Docherty said. “He’s got two good wrestlers ahead of him for the first two rounds, but I think Torrey is gonna be OK, if he keeps wrestling the way he did last weekend.”
Docherty said the tournament has a follow-the-leader format.
“If you win, you keep going on,” Docherty said. “If you lose, the guy who beats you has to win the next time around for you to stay in the tournament. That’s why each of our guys’ opening (bouts) are important. They don’t have byes.”
Class 2A state wrestling preview
By JOHN ROARK
Rams sweep Salem
The Rams tennis team swept past Salem 9-0 Wednesday.
It was the opening match of the season for Mt. Vernon after three cancelations to start the year under first year boys coach Randy Knox.
Carmi downs Woodlawn
Carmi-White County jumped out early in an 11-3 win over the host Lady Cardinals on Wednesday.
Woodlawn tops Odin
The Lady Cardinals used late offense to put Tuesday's softball matchup with Odin out of reach.
Breese Central drops Mt. Vernon
A trio of first-half goals were enough for Breese Central to top the Lady Rams soccer team 3-1 Monday.
Lady Rams guard signs with Welch
Claire Ryan has functioned like a coach on the basketball court the past several seasons for the Lady Rams.
Ryan, who has been the team's point guard the past two years, signed with Welch College in Nashville, Tenn. on Friday.
Rams rally for win
The Rams baseball team scored a pair of late runs to beat Carbondale 6-5 Thursday.
Lady Rams fall to Lady Terriers
The Lady Rams softball team knocked out several hits but could never string together a solid rally in a 9-0 loss to Carbondale on Thursday.
Rams win quad meet
Robert Grider etched his name in the Rams track and field record book Wednesday.
The senior sprinter broke the 200 meter school record and tied the 100 meter mark in Mt. Vernon's win over Marion, Salem and Carbondale.
Marion shuts down Mt. Vernon
Chandler Ream foiled the Rams offense all game Tuesday.
Ream threw a one-hitter against Mt. Vernon, and Marion emerged with a 1-0 win in both teams South Seven Conference opener.
Hawkins headed to RLC
The Rams top scorer from this season is headed to Rend Lake College.
Shakari Hawkins signed with the college on Tuesday afternoon.
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- Rams sweep Salem