When the seven wrestlers from Litchfield High School got off the bus at Sacred Heart-Griffin on Sunday, June 13, there was one goal. By 4 p.m., that goal had been accomplished.
All seven Litchfield wrestlers finished in the top six at the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association regional in Springfield on Sunday, meaning all seven will continue their season at the sectional level in Lawrenceville on June 19.
With the IHSA moving wrestling to the spring and cancelling the state tournament, the IWCOA put together an alternative postseason for the athletes and Litchfield made the most out of their chances.
Seniors Carter Powell (113) and Will Carlile (152) both won regional championships on Sunday, both going 2-0 to advance to the sectional. Powell experienced both sides of the spectrum in his two wins, pinning Cody Parnell of Rochester in 44 seconds and Aaron Niemeyer of East Alton-Wood River, with just 14 seconds left in the third period.
Carlile also had a slightly closer match in the championship after pinning Thomas Ghettings of Taylorville in 27 seconds in his first match. The defending 132-pound state champ beat Reed Davis of Illinois United (the Jacksonville Routt/School for the Visually Impaired/School for the Deaf co-op team) by major decision, 14-3.
While Carlile and Powell were the only two wrestling for first, Litchfield would go 6-1 in their final matches at SHG.
Both Alex Powell (106) and Brady Davidson (126) would finish third, with Powell pinning Logan Murray of Hillsboro in 27 seconds and Davidson winning by fall over Owen Miller at the 1:19 mark.
Aaron Roach (138) and Kaleb Crabtree (145) also won their final matches to capture fifth, with Roach pinning Quinten Chizmar of Auburn at the 1:28 mark and Crabtree doing the same to Donovan Scott 27 seconds into their match.
Wrestling in one of the largest brackets of the day, Ashtin Carver went 2-2 to finish fourth at 132 pounds, with both losses coming against Elijah Schlessinger of Metro-East Lutheran. His wins both came by fall as he pinned Julian Marshall of East Alton-Wood River in 34 seconds and Gage Rusher of Taylorville 24 seconds into the third period.
The Litchfield wrestlers now move on to the sectional on Saturday, June 19, where they will face competitors from the Sacred Heart-Griffin Regional and the Lawrenceville Regional, made up mostly from teams from southern Illinois. From there, the top four finishers will advance to the IWCOA Class 1A State Finals Tournament, which will be on Thursday, June 24, at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield.
June 13 at Springfield
IWCOA 1A Regional
106: Alex Powell (23-3), 3rd - lost to Anthony Ruzic (Auburn) by fall at 2:25; def. Zach Braun (Taylorville) by fall at 3:39; def. Logan Murray (Hillsboro) by fall at 0:27.
113: Carter Powell (24-1), 1st - def. Cody Parnell (Rochester) by fall at 0:44; def. Aaron Niemeyer (EAWR) by fall at 5:46.
126: Brady Davidson (19-6), 3rd - def. Aiden Seiler (Taylorville) by fall at 1:26; lost to Jason Shaw (EAWR) by fall at 1:04; def. Dominic Federico (Althoff) by dec. 9-6; def. Owen Miller (Vandalia) by fall at 1:19.
132: Ashtin Carver (11-9), 4th - lost to Elijah Schlessinger (MEL) by fall at 1:50; def. Julian Marshall (EAWR) by fall at 0:34; def. Gage Rusher (Taylorville) by fall at 4:24; lost to Elijah Schlessinger (MEL) by maj. dec. 11-2.
138: Aaron Roach (12-10), 5th - lost to Vincent Fiore (Warrensburg-Latham) by dec. 8-7; lost to Noah Mason (EAWR) by dec. 6-0; def. Quinten Chizmar (Auburn) by fall at 1:28.
145: Kaleb Crabtree (2-7), 5th - lost to Dominic Pecoraro (Auburn) by dec. 10-7; lost to Tyler Vollintine (Rochester) by fall at 4:36; def. Donovan Scott (SHG) by fall at 0:27.
152: Will Carlile (19-1), 1st - def. Thomas Ghettings (Taylorville) by fall at 0:27; def. Reed Davis (Illinois United) by maj. dec. 14-3.