Wrestling: Plano’s historic run ends in state quarterfinals
By Paul Johnson For Sun-Times Media February 23, 2013 5:16PM
Plano's Killian Murphy battles Aledo Mercer County's Zach Nelson in a 152-pound match Saturday in Bloomington. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 25, 2013 6:58AM
Coming into the season, first-year coach Joe Kampf set the goals for Plano’s wrestling team high — higher than the Reapers had ever achieved.
Though the run came to an end Saturday with a 40-25 loss to Aledo Mercer County at the Class 1A team dual state tournament at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Kampf was happy to see those goals achieved.
The Reapers won their first regional title, and then proceeded to win their sectional match against Walther Lutheran. That led to their first trip to the team state meet.
“Making history one step at a time,” Kampf said. “It is a bummer to go home, but it’s phenomenal to make it here. I set our goal to win regionals. We’ve never done that before. And every person in that locker room wanted to get there and we did it. One step at a time.”
Plano (26-7) jumped out to an 11-4 lead early after a forfeit and a technical fall from Abel Gonzalez at 132 pounds. But Mercer County (23-3) won six of the next seven matches to open a 28-15 lead. But Plano had two of its best wrestlers due up next.
Junior Derrick Maisonet, the Class 1A state champion at 220 pounds at last week’s individual state meet in Champaign, held up his end of the bargain with a pin of Bobby Lincoln in 55 seconds. That set Maisonet’s season record at 50-1. Sophomore Junior Nunez followed with a major decision at 285 pounds, cutting the lead to 28-25.
“Honestly, I thought it would be a lot more difficult (to get the pin), but I just went out there and worked what I had to do and got the pin like coach asked,” Maisonet said. “I was hoping it would get us pumped up. It worked until we got to 106. But it’s a team effort; you can’t just blame one individual.”
Mercer County sealed the match at 106 with a pin followed by a forfeit to advance to the semifinals.
Plano had beaten Mercer County on Dec. 29, 34-28. But Mercer County has been to team state before, finishing third a year ago, giving the Golden Eagles an advantage this time around.
“It’s awesome just to make it down here for the first time in Plano history,” Maisonet said. “It’s upsetting that we ended on a bad note, but the fact that we made it down here is phenomenal in itself. It’s a great feat.”