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            Prairie Central escape artist Logan Deacetis named Pantagraph Wrestler of the Year
            PANTAGRAPH WRESTLER OF THE YEAR

            Prairie Central escape artist Logan Deacetis named Pantagraph Wrestler of the Year

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            Prairie Central High School's Logan Deacetis claims victory over Dakota's Andrew Wenzel in the Class 1A 170-pound state final match Feb. 22 at State Farm Center in Champaign.

            FAIRBURY — Logan Deacetis plans to study biochemistry in college so it's unlikely he'll become an entertainer.

            However, if the two-time state wrestling champion did enter showbiz, he'd make a great escape artist.

            The Prairie Central High School junior's ability to scramble out of predicaments on a wrestling mat is a major reason he won a state-record 59 bouts with nary a loss en route to the Class 1A state title at 170 pounds last month and why he is The Pantagraph Wrestler of the Year.

            "I don't get too uncomfortable in a lot of situations that he's in because of his scrambling," said Hawk coach Tyler Webster. "He's usually able to find a way out of stuff."

            Deacetis, who helped the No. 7-state ranked Hawks (35-5) reach the Class 1A dual team state quarterfinals, says his knack for getting away is no accident.

            "I'm just so used to scrambling in practice," he says. "I can use my length to fight off takedowns."

            Getting out of pickles was never more important than during Deacetis' closest match of the season, a 3-2 state final win over No. 1-ranked Andrew Wenzel of Dakota.

            "I know how to scramble in those positions so you can't finish anything," said Deacetis, whose 113-match winning streak is the sixth longest in state history and well within reach of the state record of 134 set by Dakota's Josh Alber in 2013.

            The previous state record for wins in a season of 58 was shared by Lombard Montini's Xavier Montalvo, who was 58-5 in 2012-13, and Belleville Althoff's Danny Braunagel, who was 58-0 in 2017-18.   

            Deacetis says the length of his winning streak snuck up on him while he maintained a one-at-a-time focus. 

            "I ended up winning them all," he said. "Now I've got a winning streak. It's something I ignore."

            Webster doesn't see a need for Deacetis to go out of his way to break the state record of 134.

            "I think you just kind of let it come," Webster says. "Logan has never shied away from competition. He just wants to continue to get better and continue to grow. When you focus on those things, generally the other stuff takes care of itself."

            Deacetis takes care of most foes at 170 with a body that's longer, leaner and quicker than theirs.

            "He's stronger than what he looks," Webster says. "He relies a lot on his quickness and technique. He still wrestles like a smaller guy even though he's become a bigger guy."

            As far as Deacetis is concerned, speed is crucial. 

            "Most of them are strong and try to over-muscle you," he says. "I'm quick and I can get to their legs and get to my shots before then can even react."

            As a sophomore last season, Deacetis went 53-0 to win the 160-pound state title. As a freshman, he was a state qualifier at 132, going 35-9.

            030120-blm-spt-5wrestling

            Prairie Central High School's Logan Deacetis won a state record 59 matches before his season culminated with a Class 1A state title at 170 pounds in February.

            Deacetis' 147-9 career record is within reach of the state record for career victories of 201 shared by Lombard Montini's Garrett Goebel (2004-08) and Montini's Stephen Robertson (2008-11), who spent part of his career at Niles West.

            Deacetis' 59 wins this season included 36 pins and 115 takedowns. His hand strength often prevented opponents from escaping.

            "That is where looks are deceiving," Webster says. "His grip strength is one of the best I've ever been around. If he gets a hold of you, he doesn't generally let go."

            Webster gives Deacetis high marks for self motivation. Deacetis says that comes from two things: he was born that way and he trusts his training, which gives him confidence. Nerves almost never phase him.

            "He's very laid back," Webster says. "He doesn't really let stuff get to him. He does a good job of staying focused on what he needs to do rather than anything else.

            "He's just a heck of a kid, really. He works hard. The kid really deserves everything he got."

            Deacetis got good genes from his parents, Robert and Julie. Robert grew up playing hockey and was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens. Dad didn't think his boy would win the state final.

            "He always gets real nervous at these big matches," said Deacetis, whose late grandfather, Jon Norskog, came within one victory of qualifying for the Olympics as a wrestler. 

            Several colleges have offered scholarships, but Deacetis prefers not to disclose which ones.

            "I've got some visits this summer," he said. "I don't want to say anything until I know where I'm going."

            The most competition Deacetis faced for wrestler of the year honors came from junior teammate Brandon Hoselton (58-1), a two-time state champion who lost a one-point decision in the 195-pound state final.

            "I think they definitely feed off each other," Webster says. "They are both competitive guys so they continue to try to one up each other. It definitely doesn't hurt."

            Deacetis agrees.

            "I think it's a friendly competition between us," he said.

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            The hand strength of Prairie Central High School's Logan Deacetis frequently prevents foes from escaping.

            Deacetis says he and Hoselton rarely borrow moves from each other.

            "We have pretty different styles," Deacetis says. "Most of our moves don't work in what (the other) runs."

            Both love to wrestle.

            "I don't have to rely on anyone but myself," Deacetis says. "Competing is probably the most fun part."

            Last off-season, Deacetis, who won a freestyle state championship in 2014, focused on training and only competed once.

            "I was trying to work on my technique that summer," he said. "I'm going to wrestle quite a bit more this year."

            When it comes to choosing his next goals, Deacetis keeps it simple.

            "A third state title," he said. "Go to college and get a good degree and win a couple titles when I'm in college, too."

            After college lies a career in biochemistry. Heaven forbid that doesn't pan out, he can always resume his career as an escape artist.

            Contact Randy Sharer at (309) 820-3405. Follow him on Twitter: @Pg_sharer

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