PEORIA — Annawan’s Owen Landwehr, a senior from Mineral, was the second leading vote-getter on the Associated Press’ Class 1A All-State team, which was announced Thursday afternoon.
Teammate Ben Buresh received all-state honorable mention.
The DePue trio of seniors Eddie Moreno, Manny Winfert and Rahim Strong all received All-State Honorable Mention honors in 1A, while BV’s Kale Barnett received honorable mention recognition in 2A.
Other area notables recognized in 1A were Newman’s Devon House, who was named to the First Team with the third most votes, Newark’s Dylan Patrick on the Second Team, and Wethersfield’s Jacob Schwerbrock, who received honorable mention.
Dual experience: Annawan coach Alex Coppejans has had a view at state like few others get to have. He was a member of Annawan’s only other team to make the state tournament, playing on the Braves 2009 team, which placed fourth in 1A.
Brad Bickett had the same experience playing for Ohio’s state runner-up team in 1986 and coaching Bureau Valley’s three teams from 2000-02.
“It will be fantastic for me being able to return,” Coppejans said Wednesday. “I remember just about every moment of those experiences. It was pretty special being able to share with my teammates. It was first time Annawan had ever been down to state in any sport.”
As a coach, he hoped to take care of some unfinished business left behind as a player.
“Our goal is to win a state championship. It’s important for our guys to know that,” he said.
• Playing in Peoria: Newman, a member of the Three Rivers Conference, and Annawan, which hails from the Lincoln Trail Conference, are located just 38 miles apart, but have not played this season prior to Friday’s state clash.
They took different routes to Peoria.
Annawan stayed close to home going to the Galva Regional, then off to the Ottawa Marquette Sectional, played at Marseilles, before going south to the Normal Super-Sectional.
Newman stayed to the north, going to the Polo Regional, the Lanark Sectional and then to the DeKalb Super-Sectional.
Coppejans has much respect for Newman counterpart Ray Sharp, both of whom coach with the Sauk Valley Magic AAU program based out of Sterling.
“He’s a tremendous mentor. I envy the way he’s able to get the best out of his players,” Coppejans said.
It’s magic: Annawan’s Landwehr played on the Sauk Valley Magic 17 team whose roster was made up of players having or making deep postseason runs. Included in the bunch are Ty Waller from 2A finalist Winnebago, Andrew Petros from sectional finalist Bureau Valley, and Sean Gingrich, Micah Kendrick and Aidan Shore from 3A sectional finalist Sterling.
Man of many talents: Coppejans shared to statewide media how Buresh displayed his talents in the recent AHS school musical.
“He was an ‘80s rock star kind of guy, a wild dude. He’s a multitalented guy, I’ve got to say,” Coppejans said.