Friday's prep roundup: Molina advances to state semifinals

Feb. 24—BLOOMINGTON — Phoenix Molina only started wrestling in eighth grade.

Now, two years later, the Unity sophomore is on the cusp of adding more success to the Rockets' history.

Molina won her first two matches on Friday at Grossinger Motors Arena during the first day of the IHSA girls' wrestling state finals, sending her into the semifinals on Saturday.

Same for Prairie Central junior Chloe Hoselton. In fact, a state title for either Molina or Hoselton could mean the two wrestlers from Illini Prairie Conference schools meeting for the state title of the 235-pound weight class.

Molina and Hoselton are the only area wrestlers of the 11 who qualified for the state finals to reach the semifinals.

Molina (27-5) started Friday with a 2-1 sudden victory against senior Jocleyn Williams of Homewood-Flossmoor to send her into the quarterfinals. There, she was matched up against Ottawa senior Juliana Thrush, but Molina again came away with a close win, this time by a 4-2 decision.

"She stayed focused and kept trying to score," Unity coach Logan Patton said.

Molina will now wrestle Oak Park-River Forest senior Sarah Epshtein (26-3) in the semifinals on Saturday, with action starting at 9 a.m. If Molina can top Epshtein, she'll meet either Curie senior Aaliyah Grandberry (22-0) or Hoselton (17-3).

"She keeps trending the right way, so the skies the limit," Patton said of Molina.

Hoselton opened her state stay with a 13-0 major decision against Lockport freshman Rebekah Ramirez before she only needed 42 seconds to pin junior Rylee Hammond of Robinson in the quarterfinals.

State championship matches are set to get underway at 2 p.m. Saturday, starting at 120.

But for both Molina and Hoselton, their success at the state finals is continuing on a family tradition.

Molina's father, Juan, won a Class A state title at Unity in 1991. Hoselton's older brothers, Drew and Brandon, won a combined three state titles with the Hawks in 2018 and 2019.

In boys' wrestling

M-S, Unity lose. A trio of area programs competed on Friday night during the IHSA dual team state tournament at Grossinger Motors Arena in downtown Bloomington.

But all three teams couldn't secure wins in their respective state quarterfinal matches, ending their season in the process.

Mahomet-Seymour saw its season close with a 36-27 loss to Brother Rice in a Class 2A state quarterfinal match.

The Bulldogs led 27-24 after AJ Demos secured a 4-3 decision against Colin Goggin at 165 pounds, but Brother Rice secured the win by getting two pins at 175 and 190 in the final two matches.

Besides Demos, five other Bulldogs recorded wins. Colton McClure at 120 had a pin in 3:54, Gage Decker at 157 produced a pin in 3:18 and Noah Daniels delivered a pin in 1:16 at 285.

Lukas Altstetter at 113 via a 6-1 decision and Phil Daniels at 215 by way of a 9-5 decision also earned wins for M-S.

Roxana defeated Unity 48-30 in a 1A state quarterfinal match, with the Rockets only winning two of the 10 contested matches. Taylor Finley picked up a pin in 3:22 at 138 for Unity, while current 190-pound 1A state champion Hunter Eastin came through with a pin in 3:13 at 215. But the Shells picked up victories in the other matches.

LeRoy/Tri-Valley had a difficult time with Marian Central as the Panthers lost 54-11 in a 1A state quarterfinal match.

EJ Chaon at 120 had a 5-3 win for LeRoy/Tri-Valley and Jacob Bischoff secured a pin in 37 seconds at 215, but those were the only two nights on the night by the Panthers.

In boys' swimming

Season ends at state. No area boys' swimmer advanced through Friday's prelims during the first day of the IHSA state finals at FMC Natatorium in Westmont, with Saturday's events determining state champions.

The Mahomet-Seymour 200-yard freestyle relay team of Emmett Kearns, Aron Varga, Matthew Kirby and Owen Kearns had the best finish of an area competitor, with the Bulldogs' quartet tying for 30th in a time of 1 minute, 30.22 seconds. The top eight teams on Friday advanced to Saturday's finals.

Varga also competed in the 200 individual medley, finishing 34th in 1:57.32, and Owen Kearns was 33rd in the 500 freestyle in 4:47.24.

Champaign Central had six athletes at the state meet, with the Maroons' 400 freestyle relay of Trevor Plattner, Jonathan Smith, Josh Lee and Garren Barker placing 33rd in 3:20.37.

The Maroons also finished 35th in the 200 medley relay in 1:40.06, with Barker, Jackson Dillow, Lee and Jonathan Freeburg swimming that arce. Barker was 45th in the 50 freestyle (22.47) and 43rd in the 100 butterfly (52.18).

Danville's Alexander Faulkner also competed on Friday at state, finishing 45th in the 100 freestyle (48.20).