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Schilson to State

February 19, 2010
Warsaw High School

Schilson to wrestle at state tournament

By Brad Cameron/Gate City Sports Editor
Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:24 PM CST WARSAW, Ill. -- Tyler Schilson has taken the West Hancock wrestling program to new heights in a short period of time.

Schilson, a junior at Hamilton High School, already has his name in the Illinois High School Record Book for technical falls in a season (seventh last season) and career (second with 50). Friday, he becomes the first West Hancock wrestler to compete in the state tournament.

The Class 1A State Tournament is Friday and Saturday at the Assembly Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign. Schilson is one of 12 wrestlers competing for the title at 112 pounds.

"It's just exciting," Schilson said. "I know the spotlight is going to be on me, but it's going to be a lot of fun."

Schilson, 27-3 and ranked eighth in 1A by Illinois Matmen, faces Jonathan Eichelberger of Braidwood-Reed Custer. Eichelberger is 32-8 and ranked fifth.

"I've had a pretty good year," Schilson said. "My record is at 90 percent, which is pretty good. It's better than last year, so I've improved. That's what I wanted to do."

Schilson is the first wrestler from Hamilton to qualify for state in wrestling since West Hancock Head Coach Chad Gilpin accomplished the feat in 1987.

"It's a big milestone. I think it's great," Gilpin said. "At least we're producing quality kids who can get to the final 12 at the state tournament. That is the basic goal for any high school wrestler, and he is the first to do it for a new program."

The West Hancock wrestling program has been in existence for three years, and Schilson has been the top Titan wrestler from the start.

He was 25-8 and was the runner-up at the Petersburg PORTA Regional at 103 pounds as a freshman. As a sophomore, Schilson moved up to 112 pounds and won West Hancock's first regional championship. He finished the season with a 29-7 record.

Twenty of Schilson's 29 wins last year were by technical fall, with is tied for seventh best in a season in the IHSA's history. He moved into second all-time on the career list when he recorded his 50th technical fall in the semifinals of the Camp Point Central Regional on Feb. 6. The career record is 59 set by Jeff Mirabella of Elgin from 1987 to 1990.

The one thing that had eluded Schilson was a top three finish at the sectional meet to qualify for state. Schilson came close last year when he finished fourth at the Stanford Olympia Sectional.

"I really thought he should have qualified last year," Gilpin said. "He was really capable of it. He just didn't have a good enough match in the third-place match when he needed it."

That changed Saturday, although the sectional at Clinton did not start the way Schilson would have liked.

Schilson received a first round bye for winning a regional title. In the quarterfinals on Friday, he faced Nathan Santhanam of Champaign St. Thomas More. Santhanam, a junior, scored a decision over Schilson in the sectional last year and went on to finish fourth in the state in the weight class, but he was forced to wrestle in the preliminaries after finishing second at the LeRoy Regional the week before.

"It was a fluke because the kid lost at regionals despite getting fourth at state last year," Gilpin said. "That is a tough way to open up with your first match. That is how it goes sometimes. There were three good wrestlers in that weight class, so two of them were going to be on the same side. It just worked out that Tyler and he were on the same side."

In a hard-fought match, Santhanam scored a 6-4 decision.

"He finished unlike me," Schilson said. "When I got to a leg, I didn't score. I lost my head after he got a three-point lead."

With Schilson's hopes for a sectional title gone, he had to focus on finishing third. To do so, Schilson had to win three consecutive matches on Saturday.

"I just took things one match at time," Schilson said. "Instead of thinking I had to make it to third, I had to think about beating this kid and then beating the kid after. I couldn't look ahead."

Despite the opening loss, Gilpin felt good about Schilson's chances.

"He didn't seem particularly rattled," Gilpin said. "He was ready to bounce back. He knew he could get third. I knew he would get third unless something went wrong. He wasn't hard to motivate."

Schilson started by pinning Canton's Bryce Vaughn in 3:31. He followed with a 7-0 decision over Beardstown's Antonio Quintana, who he defeated in the championship match at the Camp Point Central Regional.

Standing in Schilson's way for a trip to state was Max Cali-Boyd of Eureka. Cali-Boyd put a scare into Schilson in the opening minute with a five-point move, but Schilson scored the final 13 points to win by a major decision.

"The third-place match was a little scary since he got thrown on his back in the first several seconds and spent the first minute were he was nearly pinned," Gilpin said. "That was the kid's best move. Everybody knew it was coming. It was no surprise, but he still got him on it. Those were the only points he ended up scoring, but that is scary because a thing like that can end your season. The rest of the match I wasn't worried about."

Schilson joined Santhanam and Devin Bulington of LeRoy as the state qualifiers from the sectional at 112 pounds.

"I thought I wrestled better the second day," Schilson said. "I had to come back and fight my way for third. I was down five in my last match, which made it a little more difficult, but I just climbed over whatever they threw at me."

The winner of Friday's match between Schilson and Eichelberger will face Rock Island Alleman's Christopher Carton in the quarterfinal. Carton is 37-0 and ranked No. 1 in the weight class.

"It's another level of difficulty. Everybody he sees will be as good as those three best guys in that bracket," Gilpin said. "I think anybody is capable of beating anybody in that bracket.

"He's got to wrestle hard in the first match. He can't make a lot of mistakes or get thrown to his back this time. That may be fatal at this level. You have to wrestle hard. You can't hold back. You can't worry about mistakes. You have to wrestle like every match at this point because it might be."

Schilson said he would like to place high at the tournament. Gilpin says he is capable of doing just that.

"The top four medal. I think he is capable of medaling," Gilpin said. "It comes down to who has a good day now. Those guys are all pretty even when you get there."

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