Three East Peoria wrestlers will appear in the premier Illinois High School Association tournament.
Senior Lucas Joseph and juniors Casey McWhirter and Drew Foster all will compete this week in the Class 2A state final in Champaign.
Joseph, the 2012 runner-up, will make his third state trip, while McWhirter and Foster compete for the first time.
Joseph (37-0) still is the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the Feb. 6 Illinois Matmen 2A individual rankings in 220 pounds.
He added to his list of ’12-13 titles with an 11-4 Rochelle Sectional championship win over No. 10 Cyrano Rayfield of Ottawa.
He also pinned Glen Ellyn Glenbard South’s Zak Georgitis at the 2:39 mark and posted a 20-4 technical fall in the semifinals against Streator’s ninth-ranked Isaias Macias.
Joseph, who is 81-1 over the last two seasons, opens up against Dan DeSimone (24-8) of LaGrange Park Nazareth Academy.
He will attempt to become the fourth East Peoria wrestler to earn two state medals.
Tenth-rated McWhirter (25-6) was third in the sectional in the 126 class.
McWhirter improved his state position with a 9-6 victory in his final bout of the day over LaSalle-Peru’s No. 6-ranked grappler, Jacob Wever.
The Raider faces Illinois Matmen’s No. 1-ranked Cameron Kennedy (40-1) of Richmond-Burton in the preliminaries.
A 4-0 decision over Illinois Valley Central’s Riley Beard, who was listed No. 5, sealed McWhirter’s state bid.
Foster (32-6) doubled up Glenbard South’s Steve Straka to reach the third-place contest in 152.
He also outlasted Joey Medina of Geneseo, 14-10, in the quarterfinals as part of a fourth-place finish.
Foster meets No. 11 Jon Evetts (35-5) of Marion in his first state match.
Also at Rochelle, freshman Phoenix Stuart (106) and sophomore Jacob Lovell (170) both went 2-2.
Kade McDonald, a senior, won one match for East Peoria in the 195 division.
Zach Hogan, Austin Harper, and Tony Hall also took part in the sectional after each was among the top three at the Feb. 2 Morton Regional.
State: Classes 1A, 2A and 3A begin competition Thursday at the Assembly Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois.
The 2A preliminaries are scheduled to begin at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Session 2 (quarterfinals) starts at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
The semifinals are set for 7 p.m. Friday in Session 3.
The start of the grand march, followed by the championship matches, occurs at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Session 5.