LINCOLN — Two wrestlers from Mattoon, Hayden Stanley and Garrette Branson, and one from Charleston, Trey Pearcy, advanced to the Class 2A state wrestling tournament. Stanley and Branson both finished up as runners-up in their weight class, and Pearcy finished in fourth place.
At 126 pounds, Stanley defeated Olney's Reese Britton by a 5-4 decision to advance to the title match. Stanley lost by a 20-5 tech fall to Carbondale's Zach Williard. It's the second trip to the state tournament for Stanley, who is a sophomore. He qualified at 106 pounds last season.
"We talked about it before the season started, to go from 106 pounds as a freshman and qualify and then move up to 126 pounds, it's a whole new style. Took him some time, but he really made the adjustments," Mattoon coach Brett Porter said. "To make it to state as a sophomore and advance to state is quite an accomplishment."
At 220 pounds, Branson pinned Westville's Dawson Pruitt in 2:19 to advance to the title match. Defending state champion Luke Luffman, of Urbana, defeated Branson by a 5-2 decision in the championship match. It's the third trip to state for Branson.
"Obviously his goals are set a lot higher than that. There's some disappointment with not winning, but he was tentative in that match and has time to work on it," Porter said. "As important as that match was, it doesn't really matter in the state tournament because they are on opposite side of the bracket. He got into state by making it into state and he felt what Luffman is all about. I think he felt out things instead of wrestling to win and just have to focus on one match at a time at state and get in a position where we see him in the finals."
Pearcy started the day on the consolation side at 113 pounds and pinned Urbana's Arion Hart in 3:20. He then won by a 14-2 major decision over Sacred Heart-Griffin's Darion Miller. In the consolation semifinals, he won by an 8-4 decision over Marion's Gaige Owens. He lost to Civic Memorial's Caleb Tyus by an 11-3 major decision in the third-place match. It's the first trip to state for Pearcy, who is a sophomore.
"I think it's great. He's a young kid and he worked hard this year, and he keeps building on his skill sets and he has a bright future," Charleston coach John Hansen said. "He goes out there and wants it and it's showing. I am just excited to be part of the process. He does the hard work and I just push and motivate the kids."
It was even sweeter for Pearcy because he faced a wrestler who beat him the week before at regionals. Pearcy lost to Owens by a 9-8 decision in the 113-pound regional title match. In the consolation semifinals, the winner went on to state the loser went home. That's when Pearcy faced Owens, and this time Pearcy got an 8-4 decision to secure a spot at the state tournament.
"He had a really tough bracket. He wrestled a guy he lost to at regionals and sometimes that gets in your head, and he beat him and he is a very respected wrestler," Hansen said. "There were no pushovers there."
Also for Mattoon, Coby Haney lost to Springfield's Kaeden Kinison by an 8-0 major decision at 106 pounds on Saturday. Haney, a freshman, ended the season with a 20-10 record. At 113 pounds, freshman Rick Wright lost to Danville's Jairontae Crider by a 6-4 decision and ended the season with a 25-15 record. At 120 pounds, freshman Jeremiah Jones was pinned by Highland's Colton Brown in 3:12 and finished the season with a 23-14 record.
At 132 pounds, Mattoon's Nate Eldridge pinned East St. Louis' Lawrence Black in 3:06 before losing a 9-2 decision to Carbondale's Luke Daly in the consolation quarterfinals. Eldridge ends the season with a 16-11 record. At 138 pounds, junior Derek Owens lost in overtime in sudden victory, 4-2, to Mount Zion's Draven McDonald and ended the season with a 17-21 record.
At 170 pounds, senior Michael Brown went to overtime with Rochester's Mitchell Morris and won by sudden victory, 4-2. He lost a 7-0 decision to Triad's Aric Crehan in the consolation quarterfinals and ended the season with a 27-14 record.
At 182 pounds, senior Cayden Collings earned a 7-5 decision over Mount Olive's Justin Osmoe before being defeated by a 4-3 decision to Chatham-Glenwood's Colby Osborne in the consolation quarterfinals. Collings ended the season with a 27-14 record. Senior Gabe Bradbury was pinned in 1:00 by Mount Olive's John Aljets at 285 pounds and finished the season with a 15-15 record.
"To be able to host the regionals was big because they can wrestle in their own gym, and there's a comfortable feel to that. Those kids wrestled out of their minds at regionals and it caught up to them in sectionals, but they all came out and wrestled hard," Porter said. "Each and every one of them wrestled to the best of their ability, and I am proud of them."