Panthers cream of Class 2A crop

Bryan Veginski
Washington senior Brandon Rice was one of seven Panther wrestlers to register a Class 2A Notre Dame Regional title Saturday. Rice (35-5) placed first in 135 pounds. Not surprisingly, Washington won the championship in a 10-team field in dominating fashion.

Washington put its stamp on the Class 2A Notre Dame Regional Saturday.

Ten Panthers placed in the top three as the wrestling team racked up 222.5 points in winning the championship by a whopping 50.5 over runner-up East Peoria.

“We were very pleased,” WCHS head coach Bryan Medlin said. “They showed a lot of heart, a lot of poise and all the hard work paid off.”

Seniors Derek McIntosh, Trevor Mileur, Brandon Rice, and Dan Massengill, juniors Mason Wright, Dylan Reel and Keil Dossett and sophomores Austin Wileman, Travis Rice and Colton Gladwell all advanced to the Rochelle Sectional, which occurs this weekend.

“We got 10 through, now our goal is to get 10 through to the state tournament,” said Medlin.

Wileman, McIntosh, Mileur, Rice, Gladwell, Wright and Reel all were regional champions.

Wileman (25-14), won easily in 103 pounds, pinning Drew Burgess of Limestone and scoring a 13-2 major decision in the final against Austin Harper of East Peoria.

McIntosh (28-6) pinned Matt Weber of Metamora before an 11-6 victory over Manual’s Gary Lawrence.

In the championship bout, he came from way behind to break No. 1 seed Tyler Emert of Notre Dame with a pin at 4:51.

“That was the best match I’ve ever actually got a chance to coach,” said Medlin, adding the comeback showed a lot of heart and character on McIntosh’s part.

Mileur (26-6) pinned both his 130 foes — Notre Dame’s Leo Smith and Jesus Rivera of East Peoria — in the second period.

Rice (35-5) scored a combined 50 points in major decisions against Drew Foster of East Peoria, Robert McIrvin of Central and Morton’s Jaren Glascock in the 135 bracket.

Gladwell (29-9) neared the 30-win mark in 140 after disposing of Central’s Andrew Davis in a technical fall, Metamora’s Nate Gamez by a first-period pin and topping Zach Deaton 4-1 in the title match.

Wright (16-8), back in the line-up after an injury, allowed only two points in tussles with Morton’s Brandon Stamm and Tyler White of Metamora in 152.

Reel (39-1) used pins of Notre Dame’s Isaac Tudor and Metamora’s Marcus Miller to secure the 160 crown.

Massengill (20-11) was the 171 runner-up in a six-wrestler grouping.

Travis Rice (112 pounds, 23-19), and Dossett (189, 21-21) placed third. Rice won, 10-7, and Dossett was credited with a pin to earn their postseason advancement.

Seniors Trevor Craig and Dylan Koonce missed qualifying for the sectional by one spot after finishing fourth.

The regional title was the second consecutive for Washington.

Notre Dame and Metamora were the only other teams with more than 100 points.

Sectional: Session I in Rochelle is set for 4:30 p.m. Friday. Session II occurs at 9 a.m. Saturday and Session III is at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Panthers planned to focus more on individual work in preparing for the second postseason stage.

“We preach the idea of peaking at the right time,” Medlin said.

All the wrestlers have points they can improve on as the competition continues to get more intense.

He added everybody’s spirits are good, the team’s health is strong and there is a nice vibe in the practice room.  

The top three individuals in each weight class advance to the Feb. 18-19 state final at the Assembly Hall on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign.

Dual Team Sectional: Washington will take part in the Feb. 22 LaSalle Dual Team Sectional.

Crystal Lake Central, Rock Island and Sycamore also will be in the field after each won a regional championship.