As is always the case in Illinois, long after the roar has subsided for high school wrestlers, the baton gets passed to the grade school grapplers to get the attention. Whether it's in IESA, IKWF or Midget state, the cheers for the area youths have now come and gone and the results are in.
Fifteen area wrestlers in IESA and five in the IKWF made their marks at state events this winter, capped by a trio of state championships. The IESA state is held at Northern Illinois University, the IKWF at BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford and the Midget State is in downstate Danville.
For Coal City, Alex Friddle won the 70-pound weight class and Patrick Leaf the 275-pound class in the IESA and Morris' Nicholas Matthias was tops in the 70-pound bracket at the state midget tournament.
Friddle went 5-0, defeating Collin Davidson of Litchfield 5-1 for the title. One of those wins was over Cody Hoshell of Troy in the semifinals. Hoshell wound up fourth. Wrestlers from Shorewood Troy go to Minooka Community High School.
Also for Troy, Patrick Leaf won the 275-pound class after defeating Packard Otto of Normal Chiddix by fall in 1:52.
At 85 pounds, Ryan Wasielewski of Coal City was fifth after defeating Cam Wodochek of O'Fallon 4-2 in overtime, Jake Bugaski of Channahon was sixth in the 95-pound division, Isaiah Hill of Minooka was third at the 112-pound class, Troy's Robert Ford was sixth at 167 pounds and Jerad Price of Channahon was second in the 185-pound division after losing the title 4-2 in overtime.
Others from the area who were at the event but didn't place were Tony Menozi (90 pounds) and Andrew Smith (105 pounds) of Morris; Danny Norton (105pounds) and Bryan Stopka (126 pounds) of Coal City; Jake Ryan (85 pounds), Garritt Strunga (119 pounds), Julian Cady (145 pounds), Dakota Jerman (155 pounds) and Dan McMillin (185 pounds) from Channahon; Graham Ferguson (65 pounds), Nicholas Daniel (80 pounds) and Dakota Jerzyk (135 pounds) of Minooka and Jeremy Pullen (80 pounds), Austin Poch (85 pounds) and Robert Ford (167 pounds) of Troy.
At the IKWF State meet, Tommy Haase was sixth at the 74-pound class to top area performers in Rockford. Haase represented the Indians Elite team out of the Channahon/Minooka area, as did teammates Jordan Blattner (189 pounds) and Noah Boles (89 pounds).
At the State Midget Tournament in Danville, Matthias was first in the 70-pound bracket and was also named "Outstanding Wrestler" at the event. Also there from Morris was Kevin Countryman. He placed second in the 72-pound class. Matthias attends Saratoga School and Countryman White Oak.