Six members of the Litchfield High School wrestling team were in Princeton on Jan. 10-11, for one of the toughest Class 1A tournaments in the state.
The Panthers would compete against wrestlers from 34 other teams in the Princeton Invitational, an event that tests the best of the best each season before the stretch run to regionals.
Half of the group would make it to the quarterfinals at Princeton, with freshman Alex Powell earning a spot on the medal podium with an eighth place finish. Powell would defeat Kaleb LaFine of Clifton Central by fall 55 seconds into the first period, but fell to Collin Altensey of Riverdale in the quarters. Powell then beat Isaiah Reynolds in a 2-0 decision to guarantee a spot on the podium, before losing to Julian Decker of Wilmington (by 5-0 decision) and Dalton Nimrick of Alleman (by fall at 3:55) to place eighth.
Carter Powell and Jefferson Thomas also made it to the quarterfinals at Princeton at 126 and 220 pounds respectively. Carter Powell defeated Eli Hinde of Riverdale by fall at the 3:53 mark, before losing to Colton Linke of Morrison by major decision 16-5 and Hakeem Banks of Dixon in a 9-3 decision. Thomas would also win his first match by fall, pinning Cole Klauzer of PORTA at the 2:41 mark, but lost to Peyton Lind of Byron by fall at 3:42 and to Brandon O’Brien (Ottawa) by fall at 1:31.
Ashtin Carver would go 1-2 at 113 pounds, beating Mataeo Blessing of Coal City by fall in 40 seconds in his first wrestleback match. Aaron Roach (132) and Dylan Maxwell (182) also competed for the Panthers and went 0-2.
The Panthers will be on their home mats for the first time since Dec. 7, on Tuesday, Jan. 14, when they take on Taylorville and Decatur MacArthur at Simmons Gym. Litchfield will also travel to Highland this Thursday, Jan. 16, to face the Bulldogs and Vandalia.
January 10-11 at Princeton
Team Results: 1. Dakota 212; 2. Vandalia 195; 3. Auburn 188; 4. Riverdale 153; 5. Coal City 152; 6. Alleman 124; 7. Orion 119; 8. Tremont 105; 9. Leroy 93; 10. Dixon 90; 11. Ottawa 87; 11. Reed Custer 87; 13. Byron 85; 13. Rockridge 85; 15. PORTA 84; 16. Gibson City 79; 17. Morrison 78.5; 18. Rock Falls 78; 19. Mercer County 77; 20. Heyworth 75.5; 21. Princeton 68.5; 22. Monticello 68; 23. Illini Bluffs 62; 23. Warrensburg-Latham 62; 25. IVC 54; 26. Sterling Newman 49; 27. Litchfield 32; 28. Clinton 31.5; 29. Wilmington 28; 30. Roxana 27; 31. Clifton Central 25; 32. Olympia 17.5; 33. Manteno 17; 34. Pittsfield 15.
106: Alex Powell - def. Kaleb LaFine (Clifton Central) by fall at :55; lost to Collin Altensey (Riverdale) by fall at 1:55; def. Isaiah Reynolds (Clinton) by dec. 2-0; lost to Julian Decker (Wilmington) by dec. 5-0; lost to Dalton Nimrick (Alleman) by fall at 3:55 to place 8th
113: Ashtin Carver - lost to Dalton King (Auburn) by fall at 2:57; def. Mataeo Blessing (Coal City) by fall at :40; lost to Owen Miller (Vandalia) by fall at 4:09
126: Carter Powell - def. Eli Hinde (Riverdale) by fall at 3:53; lost to Colton Linke (Morrison) by maj. dec. 16-5; lost to Hakeem Banks (Dixon) by dec. 9-3
132: Aaron Roach - lost to Deegan Eveland (Clinton) by tech fall 15-0; lost to Tyler Simmer (Dakota) by fall at 3:55
182: Dylan Maxwell - lost to Matt Kerr (Monticello) by fall at 3:30; lost to Brenden Steams (Morrison) by fall at 1:36
220: Jefferson Thomas - def. Cole Klauzer (PORTA) by fall at 2:41; lost to Peyton Lind (Byron) by fall at 3:42; lost to Brandon O’Brien (Ottawa) by fall at 1:31