The News Tribune-area will have a pair of representatives at the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association’s Class 1A and Class 2A state finals after Saturday’s sectionals.
The Class 1A meet will begin at 9:30 a.m. and Class 2A at the same time on Friday at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield.
La Salle-Peru sophomore Connor Lorden punched his ticket to the IWCOA state finals with a runner-up finish at 195 pounds at the IWCOA Class 2A Geneseo Sectional. Lorden, after an opening-round bye, defeated Galesburg’s Nick Makwala via pinfall in 1:51 and topped Morris’ Drayden McKerrow, ranked No. 9 by the IWCOA, 6-5 in the semifinals. In the title bout against top-ranked Donnie Hidden of Washington, Lorden lost by pinfall in 3:15 to finish in second place.
Cavaliers’ senior Austin Christmann went 2-2 at 126 but didn’t advance, picking up wins over Hampshire’s Palmer Larson (pinfall in 1:19) and Limestone’s Chase Daugherty (technical fall, 16-0), while classmate Rylan Poole also recorded a victory.
L-P scored 28 1/2 points as a team to place 12 of the 22 teams. Geneseo (161 1/2) won the title ahead of Joliet Catholic Academy (152 1/2) and Rock Island (141).
Princeton junior Matthew Harris advanced to the state finals after finishing second place at 126 pounds at the IWCOA Class 1A Sandwich Sectional. The Tigers had 22 points as a team to place 19th of the 30 teams at the event. Lena-Winslow (150) took the title with Dakota (124) placing runner-up.
Harris, ranked No. 8 by IWCOA, received an opening-round bye before defeating Lena-Winslow’s Carson McPeek (technical fall, 15-0) and Seneca’s Owen Feiner (7-6) in the semifinals. In the title bout, Sandwich’s Evan Reilly picked up a pinfall win over Harris in 1:38.
St. Bede Academy’s James Sanchez (152) and Ethan Fleming (182) each won a match, while Putnam County-Hall’s Connor Brooker went 2-2 with wins over Erie’s Gunnar Wuebben (2-1) and Seneca’s Isaac Marques (pinfall in 3:58).