MATTOON — Just because Mattoon is playing host to a wrestling sectional for the first time does not mean it will have rookies running things.
Green Wave coach Brett Porter comes from Mahomet-Seymour where wrestling sectionals were common place.
Coming from Mahomet to help Athletic Director Dave Vieth manage this IHSA Class 2A sectional are Porter’s parents, Tom and Pat.
“My dad is a national wrestling Hall of Famer and my mom has run sectionals for 30 years,” Porter said. “When Dave approached me about having this, they were the first ones I called. Anytime you have one of these, you don’t want any glitches.”
In this meet that is to begin at 4;30 p.m. today and resume at 10 a.m. Saturday with finals set for 2 p.m., also trying to prevent glitches are Argenta’s Bob and Sharon Jones, whom Porter knows also to have wrestling meet management experience.
“And our Athletic Director Dave Vieth does a wonderful job,” Porter said. “He assured that my job was taking care of these kids but I’m going to be working to get it ready, too.”
While Mattoon is also to be the site for a girls’ basketball regional next week and a boys’ regional two weeks after that, this wrestling sectional is a bit of a different animal.
Instead of five schools being represented like in basketball, 35 are sending at least one sectional qualifier who placed first, second or third at the Carbondale, Mount Zion, Mahomet-Seymour or Springfield Lanphier regionals feeding into this meet.
The top three finishers in each weight class on Saturday advance to next week’s state meet set for Thursday through Saturday at the Assembly Hall in Champaign.
The number of schools and magnitude of the competition are likely to fill the MHS gym and parking lots around the school.
But the planning and organization is likely to benefit local restaurants and hotels.
Plus, it is a benefit to the seven Mattoon wrestlers who advanced from last week’s Mount Zion Regional.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Nick Polston,’ the Green Wave’s sectional qualifier at 170 pounds said. “Mattoon hasn’t had a sectional. It will be nice to have our fans come out and watch.”
Plus, the home team’s wrestlers are looking to take advantage of the home meet.
“It’s definitely going to be better than going anywhere else,” said Ryan Paige, who is competing in the 285-pound weight class. “Hopefully, after a semifinal match I can go home and rest a little bit. I’ve heard some kids at school say they’re going to come. Hopefully, we’ll have a good crowd.”
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