CHAMPAIGN – On the state’s biggest stage, Lisle’s wrestling team was well represented.
Drew Sonnefeldt, Jeff Chan, Danny Grant, Ben Buchelt and Jared Arellano all wrestled for the Lions in the Class 1A state tournament, which was contested Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the State Farm Center at the University of Illinois.
Unfortunately for the Lisle quintet, no one made it to the medal stand as one of the top six wrestlers in the state.
“We were very pleased to have five guys at state,” Lisle head coach John Davis said. “I don’t know if we wrestled as well as we could have, but just for those guys to have the opportunity to be down there was outstanding.”
Buchelt was Lisle’s lone repeat state qualifier. After making it to state at 138 pounds last season, the senior headed to Champaign at 145 this year. He won his first state match with a pin at the 5:11 mark of his bout against Deer Creek-Mackinaw’s Taylor Thomas, but then suffered a narrow 4-2 overtime loss in the quarterfinals and went into the backdraw. He was bounced from the tourney in his first wrestleback match, but his season still was a success. At the end of the state tourney, he had a 35-5 record, won tournament titles at Polo, Lisle, the Interstate Eight Conference, regional and sectional, and surpassed 110 wins for his career.
“I feel bad for Ben,” Davis said. “I thought he had a chance to place, and it just didn’t happen. But he had a very outstanding high school career for us.”
Chan (113) and Grant (126) capped their careers by making their first state tournament appearances. Chan carried a 29-7 record out of the state meet, while Grant was 28-13 by the end of the state tourney.
Arellano was making his state debut at 285. He left state with a 26-9 record on the season.
Sonnefeldt was a regional champ and was second at the sectional as he stormed to the state tourney in his rookie season. He wrestled two matches at state and left Champaign with a 25-10 record.
The state tourney wasn’t the end of the road for any of Lisle’s wrestlers.
The Lions dominated and won the regional they hosted on Feb. 8 to advance to the team state series. Lisle wrestled Plano at the Class 1A Coal City sectional on Tuesday. With a state berth on the line, the Reapers once again defeated the Lions, winning 48-28 to earn a trip to the state finals.