Illinois state wrestling: VanKampen gets dream matchup in semifinals

Jon Gremmels/Clinton HeraldMorrison's Dylan Keller (rear) controls Jacob Conaty of LeRoy during the quarterfinals at 160 pounds Friday morning.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Andrew VanKampen is having the time of his life at the Illinois Class 1A Wrestling Championships.

Tonight, he faces a friend and rival in the Class 1A semifinals at 120 pounds.

VanKampen, a senior from West Carroll, pinned Oliver Willis of Chicago Hope Academy in the quarterfinals Friday morning at State Farm Center. It set up a semifinal matchup with Fulton junior Tyler Fleetwood.

"It's just so much fun out here; I never imagined," VanKampen, a first-time state qualifier said. "It's amazing. I went out there. I wanted to do my work, and I got it done.

"I wanted to come here and leave with a state medal, and that's what I'm doing. It's what I've worked for all year, and I made it."

VanKampen was in charge from the start, scoring a takedown, a two-point near fall and a three-point near fall in the first period. He then stuck Willis with 5 seconds left in the second period.

Fleetwood, last year's state champion at 106, moved into the semifinal with a 15-0 technical fall against Luis Dieguez of Walther Christian. Now, he'll get VanKampen, whom he beat 4-0 at the sectional tournament last Saturday.

"I'm going to have to work on my defense," VanKarmpen said. "As long as my offense is good ... . He's a good wrestler. I've wrestled him a lot and am good friends with him. It will be a fun match. I'm excited for it."

Tyler Fleetwood's twin brother, Taylor, also made it to the semifinals. He beat Anthony Enlow of Vandalia 8-2 in the quarterfinals at 285. A takedown and near fall staked him to a 5-0 lead in the first period.

"It feels good, but it could feel better," Fleetwood said. "I want to do better than I did last year when I placed fourth. I really want to get in the finals and experience what it's like in the finals."

Also advancing to the semifinals were Morrison's Joe Eads (138 pounds) and Dylan Keller (160). Eads turned in a solid effort with a 6-3 win against TJ Jezik of Coal City. Keller beat LeRoy's Jacob Conaty 5-1.