Last season, Jonah Harkins was two wins away from earning a state qualifying spot. Now, Harkins has a second chance.
With 28 wins, the Hillsboro senior has six more victories than he did at this point last year, with the two most recent victories earning him a berth in next week’s sectional in Vandalia.
Harkins earned his spot with a second place finish at the East Alton-Wood River Regional, which was held on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 7-8. The Topper 160-pounder pinned Thomas Fleming of Althoff Catholic in his opening match, then took out Josh Franklin of East Alton-Wood River with another win by fall with 17 seconds left in the first period.
In the championship, Harkins faced Tiler Worker, who he defeated in last year’s regional, but had lost to twice this season. Harkins was ahead early in the match, but Worker battled back and scored a pin in the literal last second of the second period.
Harkins’ journey for a possible state spot starts on Friday, Feb. 14, at the Vandalia Sectional, where he will take on Bryce Lingle (26-17) of Anna-Jonesboro, who finished third at the Carterville Regional. The winner of that match moves on to face Pate Eastin (41-6) of Tolono Unity, the regional champion at Robinson.
While Harkins was the only Topper to finish in the top three at East Alton-Wood River, four other Hillsboro wrestlers will be alternates for the sectional after finishing fourth in their respective weight classes.
Tanner Clayton would go 2-2 on the day with pins over Julian Marshall of East Alton-Wood River and Ethan Williams of Carlyle at 132 pounds. Clayton would lose to Jakob Schroeder of Metro-East Lutheran in a back and forth third place match that resulted in Schroeder winning by fall at the 2:23 mark.
Carsen Maddaleno also had two wins at 195 pounds, pinning Tayson Gager of Roxana and Ryan Rieke of Red Bud. Maddaleno would face Gager again in the third place match, with the Shells 195-pounder earning the win by fall this time with 26 seconds left in the first period.
Magnus Wells would pin Nolan Mendonsa of Althoff Catholic and Chase Allen of Roxana to go 2-2 at 220 pounds, with a narrow 5-1 decision loss to Ethan Plunkett of Vandalia in the third place match ending his day. Jackson Hamby will join his three teammates as an alternate at 182 pounds, after finishing fourth with a loss to Joe Braunagel of Althoff Catholic and to Dylan Maxwell of Litchfield in the third place match.
While Keegan Murray and Matt Page weren’t able to make it to the final rounds, both won matches on the day. Murray pinned Blake Dickerson of Mt. Olive in 35 seconds at 106 pounds, while Page pinned Caiden Downs of Metro-East Lutheran at the 3:36 mark of his consolation match at 138 pounds. Ben Huber (113), KennyRay Moses (120), Curtis Segrest (126), Trey Snider (145), Cole Spensberger (152), Zinnen Kenney (170) and Zain Kenney (285) also wrestled for the Toppers, who would finish sixth overall with 65 points.
While the season is over for most of the Toppers, Coach Garrett Young continues to build up the Hillsboro wrestling program. With a number of young wrestlers set to come back next year with a year more experience under their belts, the future looks bright for the orange and black.
February 7-8 at Wood River
Class 1A EAWR Regional
Team Results: 1. Vandalia 286; 2. Roxana 125; 3. Althoff Catholic 122.5; 4. Litchfield 115; 5. East Alton-Wood River 106; 6. Hillsboro 65; 7. Mt. Olive 58; 8. Red Bud 49; 9. Carlyle 43; 10. Metro-East Lutheran 33.
106: Keegan Murray (23-16) - lost to Aaron Niemeyer (EAWR) by fall at 2:24; def. Blake Dickerson (Mt. Olive) by fall at :35; lost to Alex Powell (Litchfield) by maj. dec. 13-0
113: Ben Huber (14-20) - lost to Joe Bowers (Metro-East Lutheran) by fall at 1:56; lost to Ashtin Carver (Litchfield) by fall at 1:05
120: KennyRay Moses (4-7) - lost to Brady Davidson (Litchfield) by fall at 1:06; lost to Justis Theis (Roxana) by fall at :17
126: Curtis Segrest (18-23) - lost to Mathew Olbert (Roxana) by fall at 1:06; lost to Matthew Hobler (Vandalia) by fall at 2:42
132: Tanner Clayton (23-12) - def. Julian Marshall (EAWR) by dec. 12-10; lost to Eric McKinney (Vandalia) by fall at 1:37; def. Ethan Williams (Carlyle) by fall at 1:48; lost to Jakob Schroeder (Metro-East Lutheran) by fall at 2:23 to place 4th
138: Matt Page (6-32) - lost to Cody Cherry (Roxana) by fall at :36; def. Caiden Downs (Metro-East Lutheran) by fall at 3:36; lost to Tyler Jones (Mt. Olive) by fall at 1:11
145: Trey Snider (4-19) - lost to Logan Nance (Vandalia) by fall at 3:02; lost to Myles Bridges (Roxana) by fall at :52
152: Cole Spensberger (5-22) - lost to Gerrett Dickerson (Mt. Olive) by fall at 1:13; lost to Hunter Johnson (Red Bud) by fall at 1:39
160: Jonah Harkins (28-12) - def. Thomas Fleming (Althoff Catholic) by fall at :58; def. Josh Franklin (EAWR) by fall at 1:43; lost to Tiler Worker (Vandalia) by fall at 3:59 to place 2nd
170: Zinnen Kenney (18-20) - lost to Chad Gray (Metro-East Lutheran) by fall at 1:18; lost to Owen Birkner (Carlyle) by fall at 2:00
182: Jackson Hamby (3-8) - lost to Joe Braunagel (Althoff Catholic) by fall at :33; lost to Dylan Maxwell (Litchfield) by fall at 1:05 to place 4th
195: Carsen Maddaleno (19-10) - def. Tayson Gager (Roxana) by fall at 1:04; lost to Josh Restivo (EAWR) by fall at 1:21; def. Ryan Rieke (Red Bud) by fall at 1:43; lost to Tayson Gager (Roxana) by fall at 1:34 to place 4th
220: Magnus Wells (24-11) - def. Nolan Mendonsa (Althoff Catholic) by fall at 2:48; lost to Caleb Bass (Red Bud) by fall at 1:56; def. Chase Allen (Roxana) by fall at 5:03; lost to Ethan Plunkett (Vandalia) by dec. 5-1 to place 4th
285: Zain Kenney (8-18) - lost to Justin Laws (Roxana) by fall at 3:18; lost to Kael Souter (Mt. Olive) by fall at 1:23