CHAMPAIGN — Central Illinois is home to three state champion wrestlers after the final day of the IHSA state wrestling tournament on Saturday.
Centennial has their first ever state champion in Justin Cardani at 106 pounds.
“I was just feeling really confident and I just wanted to go out there and dominate the whole match. It just feels amazing,” Cardani said. “I’m just really proud of myself and how I wrestled. Yeah, it feels amazing to experience with my family and friends, and all the people that helped me through the way. Yeah, I felt confident the whole time. I felt like I should dominate everybody.”
The marquee matchup for Central Illinois was in 1A at 182-pounds with St. Joseph-Ogden’s Griffin Meeker and Clinton’s Logan Winter. Just over a week ago Winter took the sectional title over Meeker but today the senior Spartan had his revenge.
“I didn’t know who I was going to end up wrestling but every single day I practiced, I put it in my mind what I was going to do and how I was going to do it out on the finals mat. Every single day I’ve looked into this day,” Meeker said.
“I’m happy to be here. I’m not mad. I mean, he’s a great wrestler,” Winter explained. “He’s a great person and so is his family. So, I’m happy for him. I’m happy to be here. I’m just happy to wrestle.”
Meeker took control after a cradle, eventually taking the match in 12-6 decision.
“I was more prepared today, not that I wasn’t prepared last week, but you wrestle that match nine out of ten times, it’d be a coin flip on who wins,” Meeker continued.
Another state champion missed out on his own sectional title. Urbana sophomore Luke Luffman placed third at his sectional last week before taking the the 220-pound title in class 2A in a 1-0 decision.
“It hasn’t hit me yet. I’m overwhelmed with emotions and I’m just ready to go celebrate with my family,” Luffman explained.