DeKALB — Mahomet-Seymour Junior High wrestling had a big-time performance on a huge stage last weekend at Northern Illinois University.
Peyton Cox pinned each and every opponent on his way to winning the IESA Class AA state championship at 95 pounds. Five Bulldogs placed at state and seven scored points, as M-S finished sixth as a team out of 78 schools.
"I was very impressed and proud of how they wrestled," M-S coach James Heinold said. "We made a great run to try and place in the top four to get a team trophy; we just fell short."
Cox's performance was one for the record books. Winning state as a sixth-grader is a tremendous feat.
"I can't remember a performance as dominating as his was," Heinold said. "Ninety five pounds is a tough weight class for a sixth-grader. He handled it very well. One of the best sixth-graders that I have ever coached."
But Cox wasn't the only Bulldog who had a great day. Brennan Houser, at 135 pounds, was the state runner-up and lost a heartbreaker in double-overtime. Colten Crowley was third in the 167-pound weight class with a tight loss to the eventual state champion.
Camden Heinold was fifth at 70 pounds, and Caden Hatton placed sixth at 75 pounds. Ryan Yancy and Brad Schoonover were close to placing as well.
"This was our best outing at state in 10 years," Heinold said.
"We wrestled hard and never gave up. The five eighth-graders (Hatton, Schoonover, Houser, Yancy and Crowley) are going to do great things in high school and will be a tremendous help as they mature and grow as wrestlers."
James Heinold admitted it was slightly nerve-wracking to watch his son, Camden, compete. But the sixth-grader wrestled valiantly and will team up with Cox as the team leaders next season.
"I know it can be tough having your dad as the coach," Heinold said. "He handled it as well as anyone I have seen. It was fun to be in his corner. I have coached all my kids in one sport or another. This is the first opportunity I have had to coach him. He does a good job listening to all his coaches and that helps."
The future is bright for Bulldogs' wrestling. The five eighth-graders will add even more talent to Rob Ledin's high school squad, and Camden Heinold and Cox will return for another run at an IESA state championship.
"Camden and Peyton will be great leaders in the junior high room over the next two years as they are only sixth-graders," Heinold said. "I can't wait to see what they do next year."