MDH announces All-Area Wrestling team

It was a solid year for the area wrestling teams this winter. Both Coal City and Seneca set school records for dual wins this season and Minooka once again made it's annual pilgrimage down to the IHSA Dual Team Wrestling Tournament in Bloomington.
 
In total, 17 wrestlers make up this year's Morris Daily Herald All-Area team, and combined they won 586 matches. Eight of the 17 grapplers from this season were also All-State caliber.
Without an further introduction, meet this year's MDH squad.
 
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106 — Cody Minnick — Coal City
A sophomore State runner-up with a 47-1 record in Class 1A. He had 140 takedowns and 25 falls.
An Interstate Eight Conference champ, Seneca Regional champ and a Plano sectional champ.
"Cody is a mat rat who wrestles year round. He has great work ethic and keeps the room loose with his sense of humor," Coal City coach Mark Masters said. "He reminds me a lot of John Odeen technique wise. He can be slick, physical or grind you into the mat."
 
113 - Corey Jurzak - Coal City
A sophomore State runner-up with a 42-4 record in Class 1A. He had 89 takedowns and 15 falls.
An Interstate Eight Conference champ, Seneca Regional champ and a Plano sectional champ.
"Corey had a phenomenal season He wrestled 11 of the 16 state qualifiers during the season, including the top five and went 3-2," Masters said. "He shows up ready to battle every day in practice and he really helped Cody and Casey (Brown) improve getting off the bottom. He has a wide-open arsenal on his feet, which is where he has improved the most."
 
120 — Casey Brown — Coal City
A junior State runner-up with a 45-4 record in Class 1A. Finished with 91 takedowns and 20 falls.
An Interstate Eight Conference champ, Seneca Regional champ and a Plano sectional champ.
"Casey had the best tournament of the state qualifiers. He pinned a returning state champ at 113 in the quarters, then beat the No. 2 ranked kid 1-0 in the semis," Masters said. "He has great hips and is always a threat for a five-point move. He really has improved in all phases of his wrestling over the year."
 
120 — Kenny Baldridge — Morris
A junior two-time State placer finished with a 39-3 record in Class 2A. Baldridge was sixth at State as a sophomore and fourth this winter.
"This year Kenny beat the eventual state champion at his weight class and has accumulated 104 career wins," Morris coach Jon Lanning said. "Kenny is a hard worker and is doing his best to move up further on that podium again next year."
Baldridge is a NIB12 Conference champion, Pontiac Regional champion and a Rochelle Sectional champion.
 
126 - Sage Friese — Seneca
A sophomore State runner-up with a 42-3 record in 1A.
"Sage is an athlete that made great improvements and he was coming off a state qualifying performance his freshman year to have the best seasonal performance in school history as just a sophomore," Seneca coach Todd Yegge said. "Sage works hard year round in preparation for wrestling season which is why he has the success that he does."
Broke SHS school record for single-season wins (42), consecutive wins (29) and overall record (42-3).  
A Seneca Regional champ and a Plano sectional champ.
132 - Justin Barkley - Morris
A senior who finished with a 30-15 record overall and who ended with 87 career wins. Was a State qualifier as a junior.
"Justin has worked hard throughout his high school career and finished strong this year," Morris coach Jon Lanning said.
 
138 — Mike McNulty - Minooka
A senior who finished with a 33-16 record in Class 3A.
"He has come so far for us," Charlebois said. "Mike received our Most Improved award this year. I really feel horribly for him that he didn't qualify for state this year because he worked so hard. But he came back against the kid from Waubonsie Valley who beat him in the sectional, and Mike beat him at the team sectional, and really took it to him. He had an awesome career."
 
145 — Jake Czaja — Coal City
A senior state qualifier in Class 1A who finished with a 40-10 record. Wound up with 117 career wins overall.
Had 20 falls this winter and finished with 72 over his four years with the Coalers. Also named All-State Academic.
"Jake had a great year, finishing in the top eight at the state tournament. He was our team captain the last two years," Masters said. "Always leads by example on the mat and in the classroom. He's as tough as they come. He finishes his career with 117 wins and 72 falls. We will definitely miss his leadership."
 
145 — Carson Oughton — Minooka
A freshman who finished with a 41-11 record and who finished sixth at Class 3A State.
"Because of his brother's injury, Carson got our Most Valuable Wrestler award this year," Minooka coach Jeff Charlebois said. "That's unusual for a program like ours for a freshman to be given that award. But he led the team in wins, pins, and was a sixth place finisher at State. He's just plain tough for a freshman."
 
152 — Corbett Oughton — Minooka
A senior who finished 14-5 and fourth at Class 3A State.
See Wrestler of the Year story.
 
160 - Trevor Allbert - Morris
A junior who finished the year with a 24-13 record in Class 2A.
"He's a very tough junior who has worked hard at the sport of wrestling," Morris coach Jon Lanning said. "He continues to get better every year and is ready to make a run at the state tournament as a senior."
 
160 - Tommy Lovett — Seneca
A junior who finished the year with a 39-10 record in Class 1A. Was a state qualifier in 2012.
"He had high expectations for himself as he should heading into this season," Seneca coach Todd Yegge said. "Hopefully lessons learned this year will help him next because he is capable of being at the top of the state podium next year, but that does not come easily or for free."  
Led Seneca with 89 takedowns, 23 three-point near falls, five major decisions and 343 match points.
 
170 — Ryan Naples — Coal City
A senior state qualifier who finished the year with a 26-12 record in Class 1A.
A two-time state qualifier.
"Ryan is another senior who finished in the top eight in the state. He was our work boot-lunch pail-type wrestler," Masters said. "He is always going forward, trying to outwork all of his opponents and teammates. He was a great role model for our younger guys."
 
182 - Nik Countryman - Morris
A senior who finished with a 37-8 record this year and was fourth in Class 2A State.
His 115 career wins ranks him fifth all-time at Morris High School. Was a sixth-place finisher in 2012.
"Nik has worked hard and overcame a lot of injuries this season to place at the state tournament again this year," Morris coach Jon Lanning said. "One of the hardest working kids I have ever coached. It will be very difficult for me to not write his name in our line-up next season."
 
220 — Brandon Webb — Seneca
A senior and two-time state qualifier for the Fighting Irish in Class 1A. He ended with 40 wins this year.
"Brandon has had the determination since his freshman year to be better than his brother Ron in the sport, that has really been one of the driving forces in his development and it really worked for him," Seneca coach Todd Yegge said. Great career, great kid and we will definitely miss him in the upper weights."
He had 35 pins - a new single-season record at SHS and his 246 team points is also single-season school record. Broke the career pins record this year, as well, with 75 and he ends sixth all time in school history in wins.
 
220 - Erik Velazquez — Minooka
A junior who finished with a 34-14 record in Class 3A.
"Erik is a great wrestler. He wrestled some bad tournaments here and there, but he did win a regional and beat a state placer there," Charlebois said. "He just had a bad sectional. Still, it was a great season. He has a great attitude and works hard."
 
285 - David Newman - Minooka
A freshman, Newman went 13-13 this season to post the top heavyweight record in the area.
"That .500 record is deceiving," Charlebois said. "He took some bad losses early, but by the end of the season he really grew physically. He probably put on 60-70 pounds since last year. He also grew a ton as an athlete. He had a great season. He's going to have three more really good years for us."  
Honorable Mention
Seneca - A sophomore, Dayton Coyle had 27 and was second in the Interstate Eight Conference; a senior Gary Wantroba had 23 wins this year; Morris - Dalton Ness "beat some quality kids and lost to some kids he shouldn't have," according to Lanning and Andrew Faught "lost some close ones to good competition and lost to people he shouldn't have.  Both have improved significantly this season."