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Lyons' Jack Bates tries to break free from Hinsdale South's Justin Maslow during their 145lb match. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
As a freshman, Joshua King has made a bigger impact on the wrestling mat than the football field this year.
But there is little doubt that the future Hinsdale South star’s biggest impact will come on the gridiron someday. Some college football recruiting websites have already listed King among the Chicago area’s top prospects in the Class of 2016, although he didn’t get to play for the Hornets last season. King transferred from Proviso East late in the football season and IHSA regulations do not allow athletes to play for two different teams during the season.
In wrestling, the 6-foot-2 King qualified for his first Class 3A sectional by winning at 220 pounds in the Hinsdale Central Regional. Another promising football player, freshman Matt Allen of Central, and King were the only freshmen competing at 220 at the regional.
“It feels good,” King said. “When I started, I would never think that I would be able to make it [to the sectional].”
It’s hard to find many freshmen to wrestle at that weight. It’s even hard to find talented ones capable of wrestling that weight at the varsity level.
“It’s a great accomplishment, especially at that weight class,” said Hinsdale South coach Mike Mattozzi, who is retiring at the end of the season. “To have a freshman at 220 [is impressive]. To have a freshman at any level of the varsity, you’ve got to be really talented.”
King (29-5) and Justin Maslow at 145 were the only Hinsdale South wrestlers to win regional titles. Maslow will attempt to reach the Class 3A state meet for a second consecutive year. King’s task is much more difficult.
The Hornets have been assigned to the Shepard Sectional, which begins Friday. The sectional features four teams ranked in Season Pass’ Top Ten: No. 3 Sandburg, No. 4 Marmion, No. 5 Marist and No. 9 St. Rita.
Marmion freshman Lucas Warren is ranked No. 1 at 220, according to IllinoisMatmen.com. The next three wrestlers ranked in the top four at 220 will also be at the Shepard Sectional. Only the top three wrestlers in each weight class advance to state, which will be held Feb. 15-16 in Champaign.
King defeated Morton junior Kevion Anderson 3-2 to win the regional. Allen placed third to advance to the sectional.
Maslow, a junior, defeated Lyons’ Jack Bates 6-2 in his regional final. Maslow is ranked No. 9 in his weight class in Class 3A. The wrestlers ranked ahead of him at Shepard are No. 1 Bryce Brill of Mount Carmel and No. 7 Alante Walker of Sandburg.