HINSDALE – The Allen family reunion will take place in Champaign.
Brothers and Hinsdale Central wrestlers Brian Allen (senior) and Matt Allen (sophomore) won sectional titles on Saturday to earn spots at the state tournament, which started Thursday and continues through Saturday.
Older brother Jack Allen, a state champion at 285 pounds in 2011, will be on hand at the State Farm Center in Champaign as Brian looks to defend his 285-pound state title and Matt (220 pounds) eyes his first state championship.
“Jack’s going to be down there, which makes me pretty happy,” said Matt Allen, who is making his state debut.
Brian Allen has the chance to grab family bragging rights at the state tourney. Win a title and he will become the first two-time state champ among his siblings. If he medals, he will become the first four-time medal winner among his brothers, but he refuses to look that far down the line.
“You win state titles by taking things one match at a time, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” he said.
Brian Allen was a perfect 49-0 last season. He heads to state this season with a 42-1 mark. His loss to Lincoln-Way East’s Nicky Allegretti just might make him better at state.
“At the beginning of the season, I was wrestling not to lose, I wasn’t necessarily going out there trying to prove myself,” he said. “But that one loss definitely got me going a little bit more and just keeps me focused. So that’s been in the back of my mind since Jan. 7 or 8 or whenever that match was.”
Matt Allen has apparently learned some lessons from his older brothers in terms of what it takes to be successful at state.
“They tell me just to focus on wrestling, and focus on taking it one match at a time,” he said.
Matt Allen clinched his spot at state with a 6-3 semifinal win, then improved his state seeding with a 5-1 victory in the 220 finals.
Brian Allen won via first-period pin and major decision before defeating a familiar opponent, Downers Grove South’s Mike Hobbs, 7-3 in the 285 title match.
Juwan Edmond captured the 145 title by pinning Sandburg’s John Pellegrino at the 4:33 mark of their match. A runner-up at 138 last year, Edmond is eyeing the title in a loaded 145 field.
Matt Price (113) and James Manikas (132) also competed at the sectional but did not earn state berths.