PantherHawks win state title, setup for future success

STOCKTON, Ill. (WIFR) No one knew what kind of force was coming through Bloomington, not even the Lena-Winslow/Stockton wrestling co-op. But what everyone knew by the end of the night, the best wrestling team in class 1A is certainly the PantherHawks.

"I was not expecting us to beat Aurora Christian like that. So to come out and kind of put the whooping on them, it was a great feeling," said senior Ian Kuehl. "It was great to see our team wrestle well and everyone do well."

Number two Le-Win/Stockton beat number one Aurora Christian 44-20 in the state title dual. The PantherHawks won all three duals by at least 24 points en route to their second state championship in three years.

"I think it just goes to our hard work in the practice room it showed everybody that Le-Win/Stockton is no one to mess with," said senior Colin Dvorak.

"Once we got down to team state, I felt like we had a pretty good draw if we wrestled well," said head coach Kevin Milder. "I really was hoping we'd get to Aurora. I wanted to get a shot at them. When we got that chance our kids really stepped up and delivered."

However, like with any team after winning a championship, it's about staying on top. With the PantherHawks losing only two seniors the co-op is setup for another run next year. Kuehl said he's jealous he won't be part of this team anymore.

"I could definitely see future team state champions and individual state champions out of this team. It would not surprise me whatsoever."

Milder agreed with Kuehl's assessment of the group.

"We're going to have to work hard to get back to where we want to be," said Milder. "Losing Colin and Ian is a big blow. They're two great seniors. Great leadership, both very talented wrestlers. But we got a lot of talent there."