CHAMPAIGN -- Three wrestlers from Cumberland, in Michael Carpenter, Rayce Zike and Iysten Syfert along with Shelbyville's Luke Brown are to compete in the Illinois High School Association Class 1A state wrestling meet starting Thursday at the State Farm Center in Champaign at noon with the preliminaries.
The quarterfinals are to be at 6:45 p.m. Thursday and the first round of wrestelbacks are to be at 11 a.m Friday with the second round at 1:30 p.m. and the semifinals at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday the quarterfinal wrestlebacks are set to start at 9 a.m. with the semifinal wrestlebacks at 11 a.m and the third through sixth place matches at 1 p.m. The championship matches in the 14 weight classes are to start at 6 p.m.
Zike and Carpenter are making their second appearance at state. Zike is a sophomore and is in the 126 pound weight class, while Carpenter is a junior and in the 160 pound weight class. Making his first appearance is Syffert, a freshman.
"The two that have been there will be more valuable in showing Syfert around," said Cumberland coach Ash Edmonds. "I can't fit that many people in our practice room and create that environment (state meet) for him. However, he is not the kind of kid that worries about that. I can just put them in situations and cover as many little things that will help them be successful. I anticipate them all having success,. They all just have to take it a second at a time and point by point and match by match. They just have to be relaxed and stay in good positions and wrestle well. I anticipate they could all surprise people."
Zike, an honorable mention wrestler in the state, is to face Orion's Ethan Meisenburg, who is 26-10.
"Rayce's strength is that he does have some tournaments in the off-season," said Edmonds. "That helps a lot with learning how to end up in the right positions. I believe it always helps when you have been to state or done anything more than once. Then you have understood it and seen it and learned from the situation."
Syfert is 26-12 and is to face the No. 4 wrestler in the state in Deer Creek-Mackinaw's Wes Girardi, who is 31-5.
"His strength is that he is very coachable and is still leaning high school wrestling so is more apt to listen," said Edmonds., Cumberland grad and former wrestler "He is a hard worker and does not tire, which helps him in later matches."
Carpenter, a junior, is 25-8 and is face honorable mention wrestler (according to illinoismatmen.com) Josh Fair of Orion, who is 30-8.
"Carpenter's strength is that he is a good mat wrestler and is normally never out of a match," said Edmonds. "He has worked hard this week and is excited to be back at state and have success."
Brown is making his first trip to state and is in the 126 pound weight class. He is to wrestle Sterling Newman's Will Rude, who is 44-6 and is an honorable mention wrestler in the state.
"Luke is very technical wrestler," said Shelbyville coach Greg Harkins. "He has listened so well and is very coachable. If we see something that needs fixed or tweaked all we have to do is show him once what needs done and its fixed."
Brown is a senior.
"From a technical standpoint we always thought Luke could be a state qualifier," said Harkins. "The thing that held Luke back from that was physical strength. Luke would have many matches his freshman and sophomore years where he would come off the mat frustrated because he was the better technical wrestler but got outmuscled. We sat down with him after his sophomore season and told him if he wants to flip those matches he needs to live in the weight room in the offseason and that is what he did and then some."
As for Harkins goals for Brown, he said, "We have had many discussions about him not being satisfied with just being there and not letting the lights get to you for your first trip there, said Harkins. "We spend the season moving Luke all over the lineup to get him tougher matches against better wrestlers. If we didn't do that Luke's record would be more like 35-6 instead of 30-11. However, our philosophy from day one is to get those tough matches who cares about records and we only care about what you do in the post-season. Luke bought into that and we hope that has him ready for the weekend."