CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — There is no stage in high school sports quite like the state wrestling tournament, especially for first time qualifiers.
“Man it’s big, there’s a lot of lights,” Danville freshman Damarion Moore said. “I went on the mat kinda nervous at first but going out there during warm-ups so that made it better.”
But the nerves fleeted for the Vikings’ freshman after winning a 2-1 decision in his opening match. Meanwhile fellow freshman, Shelbyville’s Calvin Miller, also won his first match at state in a 6-3 decision. Returning for a second-time to the tournament is Cale Horsch of Gibson City-Melvin/Fisher. The junior suffered a broken hand that ended his season last year, but bounced back this year, winning the first round 5-2.
“I had to work hard in the off season,” Horsch said. “So it just means a lot to be out here, and to be able to compete and wrestle.”
Across Class 1A, it was hard to find a bout without an athlete from Unity High School. Sectional title winners Tavius Hosley, Cade Scott and Pate Eastin all advance. As does Logan Wilson, a 3-time state qualifer, who dominated the first round pinning his opponent. He looks to bring home his first state title in the heavyweight class.
“I’ve been working ever since I was five years old just to win one,” Wilson said. “It would mean everything just to my friends and my family to win one.”
But even for those who have been here before, some have experienced a four year journey just to make it past the first round. That’s the case for Monticello senior Austin McConaha, who knocked off one of the top-seeded wrestlers in the 132-pound bracket.
“Just through the journey, it’s all part of God’s plan, so it just feels amazing to get this first round win,” McConaha said.
In Class 2A, Charleston wrestler Trey Pearcy also advances in a 10-2 win.
“I haven’t won a first round yet in the first three years I’ve been here, I just knew I had to put it all out there,” Pearcy said.
This is just the beginning of what will amount to almost 1,000 matches over the course of three days. The Class 1A and 2A quarterfinals are Thursday night, followed by the Class 3A quarterfinals on Friday morning. Wrestlebacks continue all day Friday, with the semifinal matches slated for 7 p.m. for all classes. The grand march begins Saturday night at 5:30 p.m. followed by the state final matches at 6 p.m.
To view all the results from the IHSA state wrestling tournament, click here: https://www.ihsa.org/Sports-Activities/Boys-Wrestling/State-Series-Information-Results