Advertisement

2023 All-Area wrestling: Meet the first team

Mar. 19—Jack Barnhart

220 pounds Centennial junior

➜ Why he made the first team: Barnhart turned in a second consecutive All-Area wrestling first-team season after becoming an All-Area football first-teamer earlier this school year. On the mats, he recorded a 38-5 record that included a sixth-place finish in the Class 2A 220-pound state bracket.

➜ He needs concert tickets to see ... Rod Wave.

➜ Before he competes, he eats ... nothing.

➜ In his dream career, he would ... be playing football.

➜ His favorite subject to study in school is ... history.

➜ His favorite athlete is ... Aaron Donald.

➜ His favorite TV show is ... "The Simpsons."

➜ If he could have dinner with any three people from any time period, he would pick ... Aaron Donald, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Carnegie.

➜ Three items on his bucket list are ... skydiving, visit Europe and go to California.

Jacob Bischoff

220 pounds Le Roy/Tri-Valley junior

➜ Why he made the first team: Bischoff was the heavyweight presence on a Panthers team containing multiple strong lightweights, as he posted a 43-12 record while placing sixth in the Class 1A 220-pound state field. He also helped his team to the 1A dual-team state quarterfinals.

➜ He needs concert tickets to see ... Pop Smoke.

➜ Before he competes, he eats ... two granola bars and a banana.

➜ In his dream career, he would ... own a successful business.

➜ His favorite subject to study in school is ... math.

➜ His favorite athlete is ... Brian Urlacher.

➜ His favorite TV show is ... "Breaking Bad."

➜ If he could have dinner with any three people from any time period, he would pick ... Michael Jordan, Brian Urlacher and Donald Trump.

➜ Three items on his bucket list are ... skydiving, bungee jumping and ride a camel in Africa.

Holden Brazelton

132 pounds St. Joseph-Ogden sophomore

➜ Why he made the first team: After earning All-Area first team honors at 120 last season as a freshman, he performed even better at 132, authoring a run to third place in his Class 1A state bracket and going 49-3.

➜ He needs concert tickets to see ... Morgan Wallen.

➜ Before he competes, he eats ... Nutty Buddys.

➜ In his dream career, he would ... have a hammer high school or college wrestling team.

➜ His favorite subject to study in school is ... chemistry.

➜ His favorite athletes are ... Hayden and Halle Brazelton.

➜ His favorite TV show is ... "Outer Banks."

➜ If he could have dinner with any three people from any time period, he would pick ... Lucas Byrd, Coach Patton and Sarah Cameron.

➜ Three items on his bucket list are ... wrestle a bear, beat my Uncle Andy in a wrestling match and wrestle in the NCAAs.

Bryson Capansky

152 pounds Oakwood/Salt Fork junior

➜ Why he made the first team: Capansky provided a more veteran presence for a relatively young O/SF roster on its surge to the Class 1A dual-team state fourth-place trophy, and he also was a state qualifier individually at 152 pounds. He ultimately wound up with a record of 43-12 for the season.

➜ He needs concert tickets to see ... The Weeknd.

➜ Before he competes, he eats ... Subway and pistachios.

➜ In his dream career, he would ... be a Penn State athletic trainer.

➜ His favorite subject to study in school is ... history.

➜ His favorite athlete is ... LaMelo Ball.

➜ His favorite TV show is ... "Stranger Things."

➜ If he could have dinner with any three people from any time period, he would pick ... LaMelo Ball, Paul Walker and Abraham Lincoln.

➜ Three items on his bucket list are ... rebuild a 1967 Pontiac Firebird, go to Hawaii and go to the Philippines.

Mateo Casillas

195 pounds Mahomet-Seymour senior

➜ Why he made the first team: Our Wrestler of the Year — repeating after winning the award as a sophomore in 2021 — won the Class 2A 195-pound state title and amassed a 54-1 record, with the lone loss to an out-of-state foe. He also propelled M-S to the Class 2A dual-team state quarterfinals.

➜ He needs concert tickets to see ... Bailey Zimmerman.

➜ Before he competes, he eats ... a turkey and salami sandwich.

➜ In his dream career, he would ... work in the front office of a professional organization.

➜ His favorite subject to study in school is ... math.

➜ His favorite athlete is ... Bo Jackson.

➜ His favorite TV show is ... "The Mandalorian."

➜ If he could have dinner with any three people from any time period, he would pick ... Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan and Mike Trout.

➜ Three items on his bucket list are ... go to the World Series, play in the College World Series and go deep-sea fishing.

Brody Cuppernell

195 pounds St. Thomas More junior

➜ Why he made the first team: Cuppernell is another All-Area first-team football player from the fall who executed the same feat in wrestling during the winter. His 45-7 record included earning state runner-up honors in the Class 1A 195-pound field plus an all-conference first-team nod.

➜ He needs concert tickets to see ... Blake Shelton.

➜ Before he competes, he eats ... M&Ms.

➜ In his dream career, he would ... play in the NFL.

➜ His favorite subject to study in school is ... history.

➜ His favorite athlete is ... Jordan Burroughs.

➜ His favorite TV show is ... "The Simpsons."

➜ If he could have dinner with any three people from any time period, he would pick ... Peace Bumba, Peyton Manning and Mason Poll.

➜ Three items on his bucket list are ... catch a 101-pound bass, go elk hunting and go skydiving.

Brennan Houser

182 pounds Mahomet-Seymour senior

➜ Why he made the first team: Houser was another of the Bulldogs' stars alongside Mateo Casillas all season long, racking up a 52-4 record that landed him the fifth-place slot in the Class 2A 182-pound state bracket. He also was integral to M-S's run to the 2A dual-team state Elite Eight.

➜ He needs concert tickets to see ... Luke Bryan.

➜ Before he competes, he eats ... a peanut butter and honey sandwich.

➜ In his dream career, he would ... run my own gym.

➜ His favorite subject to study in school is ... trigonometry.

➜ His favorite athlete is ... Conor McGregor.

➜ His favorite TV show is ... "Outer Banks."

➜ If he could have dinner with any three people from any time period, he would pick ... Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee and Will Ferrell.

➜ Three items on his bucket list are ... play competitive chess, skydive and climb a mountain.

Nick Nosler

195 pounds Unity senior

➜ Why he made the first team: Nosler and Mateo Casillas were neck-and-neck for Wrestler of the Year status. Nosler was the Class 1A 195-pound state champion in dominant fashion, winding up with a 52-2 overall record whose only two losses occurred versus out-of-state competition.

➜ What Nosler, a future Southern Illinois-Edwardsville wrestler, had to say after winning his state championship, the Rockets' first since 1991 ... "I had to act like I was there before and just wrestle like any other match I was wrestling. It's pretty great because I finally gave (Coach Logan) Patton his first state champion. I was able to finally do it. ... It kind of just feels great because last year's loss (in the 1A 195 final), this year's win, it all just was coming together before I go off to college. ... It hit (the next day), when I woke up and I saw that bracket board just sitting in my room. It felt pretty great. ... I'm pretty excited. I had a second place up there. First seems a lot better than second."

Reef Pacot

145 pounds Oakwood/Salt Fork senior

➜ Why he made the first team: The easygoing Pacot was O/SF's bona fide leader during their Class 1A dual-team state fourth-place finish, and he was one of the best grapplers at 1A middleweight — as shown by his state runner-up effort at 145 pounds and his 51-3 overall record.

➜ He needs concert tickets to see ... Jimmy Buffet.

➜ Before he competes, he eats ... a peanut butter and honey sandwich.

➜ In his dream career, he would ... be a marine biologist.

➜ His favorite subject to study in school is ... computer networking.

➜ His favorite athlete is ... Bo Nickal.

➜ His favorite TV show is ... "Breaking Bad."

➜ If he could have dinner with any three people from any time period, he would pick ... Conor McGregor, David Goggins and Warren Buffet.

➜ Three items on his bucket list are ... travel the world, skydiving and walk the Appalachian Trail.

Lexi Ritchie

155 pounds Unity junior

➜ Why she made the first team: Ritchie wasn't quite able to replicate her girls' 155-pound state championship output from last season, but the two-time All-Area first-team selection still impressed to the tune of a fourth-place showing in that same bracket this year along with a 22-3 overall record.

➜ She needs concert tickets to see ... Vincent Mason.

➜ Before she competes, she eats ... blueberries.

➜ In her dream career, she would ... be a NASCAR welder.

➜ Her favorite subject to study in school is ... ag mechanics.

➜ Her favorite athlete is ... Alyssa Williams.

➜ Her favorite TV show is ... "Teen Wolf."

➜ If she could have dinner with any three people from any time period, she would pick ... Wyatt Flores, Tyler Childers and The Rock.

➜ Three items on her bucket list are ... get more tattoos, win a boys' Greco tournament and wrestle overseas.

Kyus Root

170 pounds Unity senior

➜ Why he made the first team: Root was among the Rockets' steadier hands after Nick Nosler, which is displayed in Root's 48-9 overall record. An All-Area football first-team choice earlier this school year, he bagged fourth place in the Class 1A 170-pound state tournament.

➜ He needs concert tickets to see ... Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen or Taylor Swift.

➜ Before he competes, he eats ... a box of Whales crackers, or whatever we were fed before we left.

➜ In his dream career, he would ... own an automotive shop that specializes in diesel pickups.

➜ His favorite subject to study in school is ... history or agriculture.

His favorite TV show is ... "Tom and Jerry" — the old version.

➜ If he could have dinner with any three people from any time period, he would pick ... my closest friends.

➜ Three items on his bucket list are ... go to the Ultimate Callout Challenge, skydiving and go to a Notre Dame playoff game.

Aiden Sancken

195 pounds Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher junior

➜ Why he made the first team: Sancken offered another strong local presence out of the Class 1A 195-pound state bracket, as evidenced by his 35-6 final record. He also overcame a first-round loss at the IHSA state meet and rallied to place fifth by the end of the three-day tournament.

➜ He needs concert tickets to see ... Lil Wayne.

➜ Before he competes, he eats ... peanut butter sandwiches or peanuts.

➜ In his dream career, he would ... be an astronaut.

➜ His favorite subject to study in school is ... math.

➜ His favorite athlete is ... Bo Jackson.

➜ His favorite TV show is ... "SpongeBob SquarePants."

➜ If he could have dinner with any three people from any time period, he would pick ... Martin Luther King Jr., Tom Brady and a caveman.

➜ Three items on his bucket list are ... go to outer space, become very rich and become a state champion.

Philip Shaw IV

182 pounds Danville junior

➜ Why he made the first team: Another All-Area first-team football player from the fall, the powerful Shaw put together a 33-7 campaign on the mats that culminated with a fourth-place finish in the Class 2A 182-pound field.

➜ He needs concert tickets to see ... a Dreamville Music Festival.

➜ Before he competes, he eats ... a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and oranges.

➜ In his dream career, he would ... interview people who are eager to talk and have no one to tell their stories to.

➜ His favorite subjects to study in school are ... English and language arts.

➜ His favorite athlete is ... Derrick Henry.

➜ His favorite TV show is ... "SpongeBob SquarePants."

➜ If he could have dinner with any three people from any time period, he would pick ... Frederick Douglass, J. Cole and Julia Davis Chandler.

➜ Three items on his bucket list are ... surfing, ice skiing and deep-sea diving.

Jurdan Tyler

235 pounds Urbana junior

➜ Why she made the first team: Tyler finished with a 14-8 overall record, and went from wrestling her first IHSA match in early December to placing third in the girls' 235-pound state tournament

➜ She needs concert tickets to see ... SZA.

➜ Before she competes, she eats ... half a plain bagel, about 40 minutes before the weight class prior to mine.

➜ In her dream career, she would ... love to take this opportunity to wrestle as far as possible, with a backup plan consisting of medical-field opportunities.

➜ Her favorite subject to study in school is ... Spanish.

➜ Her favorite athlete is ... Helen Maroulis.

➜ Her favorite TV show is ... "The Originals."

➜ If she could have dinner with any three people from any time period, she would pick ... Marcus Aurelius, Susan B. Anthony and Robyn Fenty.

➜ Three items on her bucket list are ... get married, travel the world and be happy.