ALTON – Four wrestlers will be representing the area at this weekend's IHSA Class 3A individual state wrestling tournament at State Farm Center in Champaign-Urbana.
Noah Surtin (112), Luke Odom (126) and Josh Anderson (220) of Edwardsville and Courteney Wilson (152) of Alton all qualified for the state tournament, which gets under way Thursday morning, at the IHSA Class 3A Alton individual Sectional tournament; both Surtin and Odom won the championships in their classes, while Anderson took second in his class and Wilson finished fourth in his class. The top four in each class advanced to the state tournament.
“We're really proud of the guys,” said Edwardsville coach Eric Pretto. “The name of the game going into the season getting better, and each one of these guys got better, but not just them; the other 11 guys who competed through regionals and sectionals – Josh Anderson came up big today. He's kind of the best-kept secret in the 220-pound weight class.
“I told him before he was kind of the darkhorse; in his weight class, he had one- through five-ranked guys and a couple of honorable mentions; he was willing to go out and grind six minutes at a time and it paid off for him.”
This will be Surtin and Odom's second trip to the state tournament; Pretto believes the duo know what will be coming next weekend. “This is their second time there; they know what to expect,” Pretto said. “It's no secret that Noah Surtin and Luke Odom are chasing state titles – that's one of their goals; they always set their goals high.
“Noah's just a product of chasing perfection – the way he practices, the way he prepares physically and mentally, it shows. Luke Odom – you can't say enough about him; he's a gamer. Wrestling up (in weight class) all season to get the better matches, he never shied away from elite guys; that was one of the most dominating 5-0 matches I've ever seen (in his title bout against Carlos Champagne of Chicago Heights Marian Catholic) and it paid off.”
Wilson came out in his wrestleback semifinal against Logan Johnson of Belleville West knowing it was a win-or-go-home bout; the loser would be eliminated while the winner went into the third-place bout knowing he would be heading to state. “He had a good start to the match,” Redbird coach Eric Roberson said. “That was key for him to compete in that match; I feel he had to have a great start and set the tone and try to get a takedown early.”
Wilson won the bout on an injury default at the end of the first period; Johnson suffered a leg injury during the period and tried to continue, but the default was called at the end of the first period. “He was in control of the match,” Roberson said. “We were controlling the match; it was an unfortunate thing that he got injured – that's just wrestling. We've been on the other end of those situations.
“I'm happy for Courteney; he deserves it. He's earned a lot of the things he's been able to accomplish and we'll see how it goes this weekend.”
For the Redbirds, Gus Kodros opened the day with a 5-2 loss to Pekin's Drake Hawkins at 120, eliminating him from the tournament; at 126, Garrett Sims was eliminated by a 5-3 loss to New Lenox Providence's Alonso Serrano; Pierre Evans got to the wrestleback semifinals before being eliminated, starting the day with a 5:49 pin of Naperville Neuqua Valley's Jake Mohler and then surviving a 7-3 overtime decision over Plainfield East's D'Anthony Hawkins before being defeated by New Lenox Providence's Josh Ramos 7-5.
Wilson opened his day with a 10-4 win over Minooka's Jake Ryan before defeating Granite City's Jared Skaggs 9-5 to get to his bout against Johnson, reaching the third-place bout with the win, where he fell to Providence's Kevin Countryman in a 3:26 fall. At 182, Nolan Woszczynski started with a 36-second fall over Joliet Central's Ke'andre Wiley before being eliminated by a 2:26 pin by Collinsville's Russell March; Kyle Hughes at 220 began the day with a 33-second pin of O'Fallon's Mason Baker, but lost to Yorkville's Keenan Ness in a 5:11 fall.
For the Tigers, Surtin began the day at 113 with a 3-2 double-overtime win over Lockport Township's Matt Ramos before taking the championship with a 3-0 win over Plainfield South's Enzo Silva; Odom got started with a 13-0 decision over Neuqua Valley's Denis Murphy before his 5-0 win over Champagne at 126; at 132, Dylan Wright was eliminated on a forfeit to New Lenox Lincoln-Way East's Nate Dluzak while at 138, Will Zupanci was eliminated on a 2:43 fall to Plainfield Central's Jake Bogdan and at 195, Sam Martin was pinned in 54 seconds by New Lenox Lincoln-Way West's Jordan Telez to eliminate him from the competition.
At 220, Anderson opened the day with 4:11 pin of Plainfield Central's Tom Gustafson before dropping the title bout to Plainfield North's Matthew Hennessey in a 15-7 decision; at 285, Lloyd Hopkins was eliminated by Yorkville's Keenan Ness in a 4:32 fall.
For Granite City on the day, the Warriors did not send anyone to the state tournament. Nathan Nelson was eliminated at 113 in a 1:13 pin by Marian Catholic's Kendall Norfleet to open the day, while Skaggs pinned Romeoville's Ethan Spaniak in 3:52 before his loss to Wilson ousted him at 152; at 182, Reide Wilson opened with an 8-2 decision over Moline's Tavian Jones and moved on with a 14-7 win over Homewood-Flossmoor's Tommy Dantzler before he was eliminated by Lockport's Yousil Saiah with a 7-1 decision. Chase Nelson, at 195, was ousted with a 4:39 pin by Pekin's Tyler Siddles.
Feeney, 56, is a native of Granite City and graduated from Granite City South in 1978. He was a part-time writer for the old Granite City Journal from 1979-84 before attending Eastern Illinois University in Charleston,
from which he earned his BA in journalism in 1988. He has worked for newspapers in Sikeston, Mo., Rocky Mount, N.C., Seneca, S.C. and in Charleston-Mattoon. He also worked for the old St. Clair County Suburban