For probably as long as Althoff senior Michael Harris can remember, the sport of wrestling has been a big part of his life.
Introduced to the sport at the age of 4 by his dad, former Belleville West and University of Missouri wrestler Dave Harris, Michael Harris has learned the sport and developed his skills on the wrestling mats of the Belleville Little Devils Wrestling Club and many places in between while working out with older brother Ryne and assorted uncles and cousins along the way.
Now, with the knowledge that just two weeks remain in his wrestling career, Harris' final chapter is about to be written.
Ranked fifth in the Class 1A 132-pound class, Harris will continue his road to a possible state medal today when Althoff competes in the Class 1A Vandalia Sectional.
Competition gets under way at 4:30 p.m. at Vandalia High School.
Harris, who enters the tournament with a 28-2 record, will probably not wrestle in college, choosing instead to concentrate on academics according to his father and Althoff coach, Dave Harris.
"Michael's goal is to win a state title and I'm sure that's the goal of most of the wrestlers who will be competing today,'' Dave Harris said. "We feel if he wrestles like he can, that he's got a shot.
"He wants to major in chemical engineering in college and so he knows this is probably it as far as his wrestling goes. I'm sure he's a little sad about that, but he's looking at some great schools and he's got his priorities straight when it comes to his future.''
The future also is promising for Crusaders freshman Jarrid Braunagel, who enters the sectional with a 26-2 record and is ranked second at 113.
Braunagel is a former elementary school state champion.
"Jarrid is a tough kid who has come in, worked hard and done everything we've asked of him,'' Harris said. "One of his losses is against Dameon Adams of Cahokia, but he came back and beat him the next three times they've wrestled.''
Harris also thinks that Jevon Hey (106) and Cody Harris (126) could advance through the weekend.
The top four wrestlers in all 14 weight classes at sectionals around the state will advance to the IHSA state wrestling tournament, Feb. 14-16 at Assembly Hall in Champaign.
Other top local hopes today at Vandalia include Carlyle's Zach Zvonar (120), Kevin Roper (220) and Dre Cannon (285).
Class 3A Moline Sectional
Site and times: Moline High School, Friday, 4:30 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.
Next up: The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to the Class 3A state tournament, Feb. 14-16 at Assembly Hall in Champaign.
Top locals: Justin Nelson (113), Granite City; Jon Villagran (120), O'Fallon; Phyllip DeLoach (132), Alton; Demechico Spraggins (138), Belleville West; Sam Andresen (138), Edwardsville; Nate Higgins (152), Belleville West; Austin Metz (160), O'Fallon; Blake Blair (195), Edwardsville and Cole Whitford (285), Granite City.
Class 2A Mattoon Sectional
Site and times: Mattoon High School, Friday, 4:30 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.
Next up: The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to the Class 2A state tournament, Feb. 14-16 at Assembly Hall in Champaign.
Top locals: Antonio Moore, (106), East St. Louis; Dameon Adams (113), Cahokia; Leslie Williams (120), Cahokia; Cole Wysocki, (120), Triad; Cole Witzig, (145), Triad; David Frazier (160), Cahokia; Ben Throm (170), Triad; Pat Beiber (182), Waterloo; Shelton Pippin (220), Cahokia; Nick Czar (220), Highland and Tanner Farmer, (285), Highland.