(WCIA) — The 2019 high school sports season brought plenty championships across Central Illinois. WCIA 3’s Bret Beherns breaks down the top story lines of 2019, headlined by repeat and first-time State Title winners. Here are numbers 5-1 in our downtown:
Three area wrestlers win state titles, headlined by Urbana’s Luke Luffman. The senior three-peated becoming the first guy in Champaign-Urbana history to win three state titles. It was an all local match at 182 pounds with Clinton’s Micah Downs beating Unity’s Cade Scott for the championship Hoopeston Area’s Ezra Elliott capped his senior season in perfect style winning the 138 pound title, becoming the first wrestler from his school to win it all in 40 years.
Teutopolis baseball winning its seventh state trophy in the last 10 years, along with another state trophy from Mt. Zion make number four in the countdown. The Shoes take home their fourth title in a decade, beating Pleasant Plains. Justin Fleener has a record of 303 wins to just 63 losses and two ties since 2010. Over at the Eastside Centre, Mt. Zion softball not only made it back to state but improved its finish. A year after taking fourth, the Braves move up a spot and win their final game of the year to come in third capping a great year with a 30-5-1 record.
3) TRACK AND FIELD
In all, 26 area boys and girls won gold, with an even split between the two. Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond’s Kenli Nettles dominated the Class 1A meet single-handily leading the Knights to a 5th place team finish with three individual state titles St. Teresa and St. Joseph-Ogden tie for third as a team in 1A, with Southeast 2nd in 2A, Monticello 3rd and Urbana 5th. On the boys side, Salt Fork brings home the Class 1A team title despite not winning an individual gold medal in any event. Mahomet-Seymour’s Hunter Hendershot sweeps the throws as the Bulldogs take 3rd in Class 2A.
Rochester wins it’s 8th state title in last decade, Central A&M makes it back to championship game for first time since 2001 capping a 13-1 season with a runner-up trophy. Williamsville wins school’s first football championship beating Byron. Rochester football is on another level, though. The Rockets move up a class to 5A and still win a state title, it’s the program’s 8th championship in 10 years. Derek Leonard’s teams have won double digit games every season since 2008. In Class 1A, Central A&M returns to the title game for the first time since 2001, falling to Lena-Winslow, capping a 13-1 season. Up in 3A, Williamsville is crowned champ making history for the program as first time title winners after beating Byron.
The Schlarman girls’ basketball team makes history winning back-to-back as Class 1A State Championships, led by Notre Dame five star recruit Anaya Peoples. Schlarman goes 65-3 in its two title years, living up to its sky high expectations with several Division I players on the roster.
Tri-County made a run to Redbird as well, the Titans come in fourth, winning the program’s fifth trophy. Class 2A, Tetuopolis appeared in its fourth Final 4 in the last six years but fell just three points short of winning its first state title since 1995. St. Joseph-Ogden was third in 2A after losing to the Shoes in the semis. Up in 3A, Sacred Heart-Griffin takes fourth.
At the Boys’ State Finals, Cissna Park made a run at the title but ran out of gas losing to Providence St. Mel in the championship game. The Timberwolves sent longtime head coach Kevin Long out in style with the best season in school history. Central A&M bounced back after losing to the T-Wolves in the semis, the Raiders are once again favored to be back in Peoria in 2020. Up in 2A, Gibson City-Mevlin-Sibley made its first appearance in the Final Four and after losing by two in the semifinals, the Falcons took Chicago Corliss to overtime, winning by nine to take third.