CHAMPAIGN – We're still a little more than seven hours away from the finals at the IHSA state wrestling tournament, which means there's plenty of time for a refresher on the three Chronicle-area athletes in title bouts.
Stay tuned to kcchronicle.com/preps for much more on Marmion's Johnny Jimenez and George Fisher and Dan Goress of Kaneland later tonight. Until then, here are a few tidbits from the press room at the University of Illinois' Assembly Hall:
Been here before: Marmion junior 120-pounder Johnny Jimenez will compete for his third state title in as many high school seasons later tonight.
"I'm really pumped. I'm excited to wrestle. I love state," Jimenez said. "It's a really awesome moment."
Jimenez (47-2) will face Sandburg's Sebastian Pique (15-2) for the 3A title in a quick return match. Jimenez downed Pique, 10-2, in a Shepard Sectional semifinal last week.
Jimenez, a St. Charles product like Fisher, won 2A titles at 103 in 2011 and 113 last winter. The Cadets jumped to 3A this season.
Goress keeps short memory: Dan Goress, a Kaneland senior 145-pounder who's 41-3 in 2A, has not wrestled his finals opponent before. Goress gets Michael Sepke of Montini (37-9).
However, avenging a loss from earlier this season helped Goress get into position to become the Knights' first state champ since 1993. He edged Kyle Fugiel of Crystal Lake Central, 4-3, in the quarterfinals after a triangular loss this winter.
"Going into the match, I blocked it out of my mind. I had a bad match. He shouldn't have won, and I went out there to beat him," Goress said. "Whether it was 2-1, whether it was 16-1, I was just going to beat him."
Get there Early: Fisher, 46-4 at 132, opposes unbeaten Oak Park-River Forest sophomore Larry Early III (45-0) in what should be among the night's showcase matches.
Last season's title bout loss still fuels Fisher, who was a state champion as a sophomore.
"After last year's performance, I wasn't satisfied with how I wrestled and how I felt and I told myself that it would never happen again," Fisher said. "All the work that I've done in the offseason and in this season, it's really shown that I don't get tired out there. I'm out there, I'm always pushing the pace. I'm doing what I want to do."
– Kevin Druley, firstname.lastname@example.org