BLOOMINGTON — A pair of coaching milestones could be reached in today's 5 p.m. Intercity Wrestling Tournament at Bloomington High School.
Fourteenth-year BHS coach Mark Gardner needs three victories to reach the 250-win milestone. He comes in at 247-61.
Eleventh-year Normal Community coach Dave Baeten needs one victory to reach his 150th win.
Tonight's first round pits BHS (6-2) against Normal West (5-0) on one mat and NCHS (5-2) against University High (2-10) on the other. The second round has BHS opposite U High and NCHS against West. The final round features BHS versus NCHS while West faces U High.
Among the top wrestlers for BHS are Justin Hale (11-0 at 145), Nick Alvis (6-0 at 160), Tyler Johnson (6-0 at 112), Brian Temple (11-1 at 215), Tyler Cain (9-3 at 171), and Jacob Lehr (5-1 at 152).
The leaders for NCHS include Tyler Winland (7-2 at 103), Corey Esparza (9-3 at 125), Casey Vercruysse (6-2 at 135), Kyle Garretson (6-3 at 140), Austin Kull (3-0 at 189) and Quenton Vandermay-Kirkham (3-0 at 152).
NCHS lost to East Peoria and Peoria Woodruff while missing some key performers.
"We should be (undefeated)," said Baeten, who hopes his team can challenge BHS as it bids for a 13th consecutive Intercity title.
"Last year we focused so much on Bloomington, Normal West snuck up on us (to grab second)."
Normal West, which placed third in Saturday's Pontiac Tournament, is led by Danny Hafley (8-0 at 275), Ryan Elam (7-0 at 215), Alex Delp (6-2 at 135), Tyler McGregor (6-2 at 112) and Josh Alvis (5-3 at 160).
"In general, I think the kids are wrestling well," said Wildcat coach Jim Eaton, whose athletes have leaned on each other to cope with the Nov. 28 auto accident death of teammate Kevin Smith Jr.
"I'm very proud of our group and how they've handled that situation. They attended the visitation as a team and they observed a moment of silence at their next home match."
U High's young team is led by sophomore Joe Waropay (10-1 at 160) and freshman Max Hayden (3-2 at 145).
"They work extremely hard," said U High coach Mike Troll of his Pioneers. "We're thinking too much (instead of just reacting on the mat)."