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Defending state champ LeRoy heads up PIT field

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 2:30 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 2:35 p.m. CST

Keeping up with the tradition of the Princeton Invitational wrestling tournament, this year’s PIT field will be as strong as ever. In the mix on the Prouty Gym mats will be 80 IHSA state qualifiers, 39 state medalists, 17 state finalist and 10 state champions.

Defending state champion LeRoy, ranked sixth in Class A, returns along with state qualifying teams from Monticello (ninth in 1A), Vandalia and Wilmington (third in 1A), the defending PIT champion.

Aledo Mercer County, which placed third at state in 1A in 2012 and is ranked No. 2 in Class A this year, joins the field along with Plano, who is receiving state honorable mention.

The field also includes No. 7 Litchfield, No. 8 Byron, No. 10 Gibson City Melvin-Sibley, No. 11 Harvard and honorable mention Rock Falls.

“As far as this weekend goes, year in and year out the PIT is tougher than the state tournament, and this year will be no different,” PHS coach Steve Amy said. “There are multiple state champs and place winners in the tournament this year, so it will be another great weekend. We have added Mercer County who took third in the state as a team last year, as well as Plano who have a couple of state medalists returning.”

As for the home team, the young Princeton squad has just two wrestlers — sophomores Tim Hillard (126, 7-8) and Starr Mecum (138, 2-8) — who have PIT experience. Thus, Amy said this weekend will be a great learning experience for the Tigers.

“These guys have really been working hard getting themselves ready for the second half of the season. This weekend should provide us with a good indicator of what we need to improve on before the state series begins,” Amy said.

The Tiger coach said the rest of the PHS lineup will look something like this: freshmen Luke Marselle (106, 7-7), Tyler Webster (113, 2-2), Luke Hoffman (160, 0-3), sophomores Drew Pranka (152, 10-3), Skyler Spencer (170, 1-6), Nathan Brisbin (182, 2-5) and Kyle Odell (220, 1-5) and juniors Caleb Dickens (145, 7-5) and Dylan Williams (195, 0-0).

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