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|IHSA wrestling sectional|
qualifies for state
finals at 182
VANDALIA - All six Lawrenceville High School wrestlers won at least one match in sectional competition over the weekend, but only one will be moving on to the Illinois High School Association Class A state finals in Champaign.
The Indians' Max Andersen, a junior at Red Hill High School, survived the competition to place third in the 182-pound bracket and earn a spot in the finals.
LHS seniors Zach Kocher (136), Thomas Grove (152), Gage McIntosh (160) and heavyweight Brandon Vessels, as well as RHHS junior 170-pounder Jacob Wirth all had their moments, but saw their seasons come to an end.
Andersen evened the score with his nemesis, Mount Carmel's Sam Wampler, with a pin in Saturday's third-place match. Fittingly, the match went to overtime before Andersen pinned the MCHS senior with a half-Nelson in 6:56.
Andersen (31-7) and Wampler have now split four matches this season. Andersen decisioned Wampler at the Lawrence County Tournament early in the season, before Wampler turned the tables to claim victory in a dual meet. Wampler also won in last week's regional championship match before Saturday's matchup went to Andersen.
Andersen got off to a good start on Friday, with a pin over Belleville Althoff's Bret Silvestri and a 7-0 Carterville's Phillip Frangello to reach the semifinals.
Cumberland's Colt Brummer slowed Andersen down with a 5-1 decision, on his way to the sectional championship. It was a reversal of the outcome from two weeks ago, when Andersen whipped Brummer, 14-4, in the finals of the Eastern Illinois Wrestling Classic.
Faced with elimination later Saturday, Andersen responded with a 9-2 decision of Tolono Unity's Colton Reed. The decision guaranteed Andersen a spot in the state finals and another rematch with Wampler.
"Max wrestled really well in his last two matches," said LHS coach Tom Tewell. "We feel good about his chances (at the state finals). All the kids are going to come in to practice this week and we'll kind of put him through the gauntlet to get him ready."
Kocher lost to Roxana's Tony Caldwell, 5-2, in his opening match at 132 pounds Friday evening, but fought back with a pair of wins in Saturday's wrestlebacks.
"That's what he's done all season," Tewell said. "He'll lose early, then come back and start pinning people."
Kocher, who finished 26-15, decisoned Sparta's Anthony Carter, 18-10, and Robinson's Andrew Gallagher - who won the regional championship last week - 14-6 in the wrestlebacks. That put him one match away from a spot in the finals, when West Frankfort's Bailey Menees ended Kocher's career with a pin in 3:54.
Grove, who finished 28-12, opened by pinning Auburn's Jesse Kesler in 4:43, then dropped a 15-4 decision to West Frankfort's Keegan Gardner in the quarter finals.
Grove bounced back Saturday to pin Sparta's Shaun Moore in 2:44, before being eliminated by Shelbyville's Lucas Duckett in a close match, 4-2.
"Thomas wrestled well all weekend," said Tewell. "The 152-pound bracket was loaded, one of the toughest brackets there was, and Thomas held his own."
At 160 McIntosh, who finished 29-9, saw his season come to an end with a knee injury in a match that he was winning. In consolation bracket action on Saturday, Hillsboro sophomore Gavin Twitty emerged with the win via injury default, ending McIntosh's career.
McIntosh wrestled twice Friday, scoring a 12-6 decision over Pinckneyville's Richard Jones before falling to Auburn's Brock Pickerl in the quarterfinals, 6-4.
Wirth was pinned by Hillsboro's Kurtis Owen in 5:49 Friday in the opening round on his way to finishing with a record of 21-18.
Wirth's shining moment came in Saturday morning's consolation bracket when he scored a 4-2 decision of Mount Carmel's Kane Garcia - the regional champion a week ago. In the consolation semifinals, Litchfield's Bryce Thornton put an end to Wirth's state finals hopes with a 7-3 decision.
Vessels, a state finalist a year ago, saw his shot at returning put to rest by an old rival, Carlyle's Dre Cannon. Wirth had defeated Cannon in sectional competition last season, but it was Cannon who emerged on Saturday with a 5-3 decision in the consolation semifinals. Cannon will take a 37-3 record to the state finals, while Vessels finished the season with a 17-7 mark.
Vessels registered pins of Carterville's Mike Dennison (1:39) and Mt. Olive's Chris Fyffe (1:26) on Friday to earn a semifinal berth.
Warrensburg-Latham's Michael Behrends sent Vessels into the consolation semifinals with a pin in 1:33 on Saturday morning. That set up the match with Cannon, who came from behind to pin the LHS senior in the closing seconds of last week's regional championship.
Andersen will compete in Thursday's opening round against the second-place finisher from a different sectional site. The official bracket will be released later this week. Competition will begin at 2:30 p,m. on six mats in Assembly Hall, on the University of Illinois campus.
Tony Caldwell, Roxana, p. Zach Kocher, Lawrenceville, 5:33; Kocher d. Anthony Carter, Sparta, 18-10; Kocher d. Andrew Gallagher, Robinson, 14-6; Bailey Menees, West Frankfort, p. Kocher, 3:54.
Thomas Grove, Lawrenceville, p. Jesse Kessler, Auburn, 4:43; Keegan Gardner, West Frankfort, d. Grove, 15-4; Grove p. Shaun Rogers, Sparta, 2:44; Lucas Duckett, Shelbyville, d. Grove, 4-2.
Gage McIntosh, Lawrenceville, d. Richard Jones, Pinckneyville, 12-6; Brock Pickerl, Auburn, d. McIntosh, 6-4; Gavin Twitty, Hillsboro, d. McIntosh by injury default.
Kurtis Owens, Hillsboro, p. Jacob Wirth, Lawrenceville, 5:40; Wirth d. Kane Garcia, Mt. Carmel, 4-2; Bryce Thornton, Litchfield, d. Wirth, 7-3.
Max Andersen, Lawrenceville, p. Bret Silvestri, Belleville Althoff, 3:43; Andersen d. Phillip Frangello, Carterville, 7-0; Colt Brummer, Cumberland, d. Andersen, 5-1; Andersen d. Colton Reed, Tolono Unity, 9-2; Andersen p. Sam Wampler, Mt. Carmel, 6:56.
Brandon Vessels, Lawrenceville, p. Mike Dennison, Carterville, 1:39; Vessels p. Chris Fyffe, Mt. Olive, 1:26; Michael Behrends, Warrensburg-Latham, p. Vessells, :33; Dre Cannon, Carlyle, d. Vessels, 5-3.