Not thinking small
Coal City coach Mark Masters got comfortable in his chair at the onset of the Plano Class 1A Wrestling Sectional.
After all, he never had to move for the entirety of the first 20 minutes as he was watching his 106, 113 and 120 pound wrestlers win championships.
Filling those weights this season is sophomore Cody Minnick, sophomore Corey Jurzak and junior Casey Brown, respectively.
While having three guys clustered together in consecutive weights is not uncommon, what is a bit rare is having three varsity wrestlers together at the three lowest weights.
"We've had a couple of different teams where we had a group with a circle of three, but not at the first three weights," Masters said. "They are constantly beating the tar out of each other in practice. They put in a lot of time together in the practice room. They've been kicking each other's butts for years."
They say familiarity breeds contempt and in this case it's somewhat true as those three have spent countless hours forcing each other to be better.
"We're all pretty good partners to each other," Brown said. "We've been wrestling so long together we know what to expect. Me and Cody and Corey have been wrestling each other for some time now," Brown said. "I'm the one that got Cody into wrestling at the age of six. We've been together for a long time."
"They are definitely really good to practice with," Minnick said. "All three of us are at the lowest weights and we push each other to be their best every day."
"It helps out a lot having good practice partners," Jurzak said.
According to Masters, sometimes he needs to be more of a traffic cop than a coach if things get to heated.
"Sometimes when they get going, if it gets too physical, I'll have to stop it," he said. "Those kids take a beating every day and it's not the same kid either. It seems like its a different one every day."
Then there are times when he admits he feeds the beast.
"One of the things we do is drill off the bottom. If they don't get up in five minutes, then the next guy also starts on top," Masters said. "There has been some practices where Casey has been down for 20-25 minutes at a time. He's got Jurzak and Minnick on top. Then I'd have a little fun with it and right as one of them would get up, I'd blow the whistle and stop it by calling out of bounds. They'd say to me, 'out of bounds, there's no out of bounds!', then I'd laugh and make them reset."
All in an effort to make each other better.
Brown and Minnick each finished in fifth place last year at the IHSA Class 1A State Tournament and Jurzak is hoping to achieve All-State status with them this year. If they take out their aggression on their opponents the way they do each other in the practice room, there is little doubt that can become a reality down at Assembly Hall in Champaign.