April 24, 2024
Illinois High School Sports

Boys wrestling: Streator’s Nicholas Pollett wins school’s first state medal in 66 years

Princeton’s Christiansen places third, while Seneca’s Peura, Sandwich’s Corder and Tigers’ Odell all finish fourth

Streator’s Nicolas Pollett works over St. Patrick’s Daniel Goodwin in the 106-pound Class 2A state 5th place match earlier this year in Champaign.

CHAMPAIGN – It had been quite a while since a Streator wrestler won a state medal.

In fact, before Saturday, the one and only Bulldog to win a state medal was Tom Wonders in 1958.

Streator senior Nicholas Pollett ended that drought Saturday at the IHSA State Finals, taking sixth place at 106 pounds after losing to Chicago St. Patrick’s Dan Goodwin 5-4 in the Class 2A fifth-place match. Prior to that, Pollett went 3-1 on Friday, scoring a pin in the blood round to guarantee his medal. He extended his school records to 43 wins and 29 pins this season.

“I knew it had been a long time since someone from our school won a medal,” Pollett said. “It feels good to do it. Hopefully, this will help get the program going a little bit.”

Pollett wasn’t the only wrestler to join an elite club in his school’s history. Seneca senior Chris Peura finished fourth in Class 1A at 215, becoming just the fourth Fighting Irish wrestler to win two state medals. The others were Arthur Bradford, Alex Valentine and Sage Friese.

Chris Peura

Peura – who finished sixth at 195 at last season – was pinned by Johnston City’s Jude Beers in the third-place match, and despite being upset with the result of his last match, he was more than happy with his career.

“I just got caught on a move I don’t normally get caught in,” Peura said, ending his final prep season 47-6. “But it feels good to end my career with another medal.

“Even though it sucks the way it ended, when I started my freshman year there is no way I could picture myself where I am now.”

Seneca coach Todd Yegge also praised Peura’s career and what he has meant to the program.

“Chris has been a great representative of our program,” Yegge said. “He has given heart, desire and blood to this program, and he has won over 150 matches in his career. He had some ups and downs, but the other kids look up to him.”

Seneca senior Asher Hamby fell one win short of a medal after a 5-2 loss to De La Salle’s Josue Hernandez in the blood round to finish his season 50-8.

Princeton’s Ace Christiansen (right) and Sandwich’s Cooper Corder face off in the 138 pound 1A third place match Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 at the IHSA state wrestling finals at the State Farm Center in Champaign.

Princeton junior Cade Odell (32-4) finished fourth at 285 in Class 1A, while classmate Ace Christiansen (39-7) took third at 138, winning a 5-4 ultimate tiebreaker over Sandwich’s Cooper Corder. Sophomore Augustus Swanson (35-3) took fifth at 106 by beating Coal City’s Owen Peterson 6-4. Sophomore Casey Etheridge fell via pinfall to Rockridge’s Ryan Lower in the blood round to finish 32-11.

“It feels great,” said Christiansen, who had lost to Corder in close title matches at the regional and sectional. “I didn’t even make it out of the sectional last year and got third place this year. As a team, we had four guys qualify and three of them won medals. There are some teams that 10-11 guys that qualified that don’t have three winning medals, so we did really well.

“Our coaches just push us to do our best, and that kind of pushing helped in my match when it went into extra overtime periods.”

Sandwich freshman Cooper Corder, a two-time middle school state champion, is armed with motivation for next season after placing fourth in Class 1A at 138 pounds.

His older brother, senior Miles Corder, was one match away from a state place at 144 pounds.

Miles Corder (40-11) went 2-2 on the weekend.

“At the start of the season, I knew I was going to be one of the top guys,” Cooper Corder said. “I felt like I was overlooked throughout the year. We had a tournament at Barrington at the start of the season, and I did very well there. That showed me what I was capable of doing [something special].”

• Shaw Media reporters Bobby Narang and Brian Hoxsey contributed to this report.

Princeton’s Cade Odell gets behind Roxana’s James Herring in the 285 pound 1A third place match Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 at the IHSA state wrestling finals at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
Rob Oesterle

Rob Oesterle

Rob has been a sports writer for the Morris Herald-News and Joliet Herald-News for more than 20 years.