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.
For more high school news and rankings from RISE and Dave Krider's Primetime Performer of the Week, go to SI.com/highschool.
CHRIS FOX/THE LOMBARDIAN (BENEFIEL)
TAYLOR JONES (ARNOLD)