Two long winning streaks—and a state title—were on the line when Mike Benefiel (right) of Montini Catholic (Lombard, Ill.) met Jordan Blanton of Richmond-Burton (Richmond, Ill.) in the 171-pound class state wrestling championships on Feb. 17. Blanton, a junior, had never lost in 111 high school matches, but the senior Benefiel, who had won 117 straight matches, outpointed him handily 8--2. Benefiel, headed for Northwestern, holds the state record for career wins, with 200.
EIGHT WAS ENOUGH
Talk about long days. The Aurora and Solon hockey teams played to a national-record eight overtimes in an Ohio district tournament game on Feb. 18. Solon had tied the game 1--1 with 2:14 left in regulation; Aurora finally ended it on forward Robert Walker's unassisted goal. The game, with three 15-minute periods and extra sessions of eight minutes each, took 4 1/2 hours to play.
Highland Park (Dallas) won its seventh consecutive girls' swimming state 4A championship, and the promise is there for continued success: Freshman Allison Arnold (left) won the 200 and 500 freestyles and also came from behind in the anchor position to win the 400 relay.
Some sad news: Amin Denny, a popular football coach who had turned around the program at inner-city Castlemont (Oakland) and was profiled recently in SI (Hard Knock Winner, Nov. 13), died on Feb. 18 of colon cancer at age 40. Denny, a Castlemont graduate, led the school to an 8--3 record in 2006 and its first postseason appearance in more than a decade. He is survived by his wife, Myiesha, and four daughters.
March 5, 2007
For more high school news and rankings from RISE and Dave Krider's Primetime Performer of the Week, go to SI.com/highschool.