CHS’s Trey Pearcy qualified for a second straight state tourney. (photo/Scott Leeman)

Mattoon wrestling coach Brett Porter said his team’s performance on Saturday in the IHSA class 2A sectional was bittersweet.

No team qualified more wrestlers than Mattoon’s four: Kiefer Duncan (132), Brady Foster (106), Jeremiah Jones (138) and Ricky Wright (120).

In addition, Mattoon’s 10 pins Saturday were the third most among the 31 teams, behind only Bloomington (14) and Mahomet (12). Mattoon also had the most technical falls, where a wrestler goes ahead by 15, at three.

Had this match been scored like a track or swim meet, Mattoon would have run away with the sectional title. At 168 points, the closest team was 43 points away. Mahomet had 125 points, followed by Mascoutah at 117. That Mattoon qualified 11 wrestlers for sectionals is a reason the Green Wave will be competing in the state dual meet championship a week after the state individuals next weekend.

But that doesn’t take away the sadness – or sting, depending on your perspective – of watching several talented wrestlers fall short.

Five Mattoon wrestlers were only one win away from making it to state.

Coby Heaney, a regional champion at 106 pounds who entered the sectional tournament at 28-1, won his first match, but then lost 10-2 to the defending state champion, Bloomington’s Chad Bellis, and then lost in overtime, 10-8, in a judgement call that could have gone either way. But, Porter said, that’s the way the competition goes. “He gave everything he probably could give,” Porter said.

Hayden Stanley, whose season started late because of a broken hand, also fell one match short of reaching state – an overtime loss during wrestlebacks at 152 pounds. The senior, who entered the tournament at 13-4, is a three-time state qualifier and earned all-state honors last year by finishing sixth.

Gavin Jones, a senior who won regionals at 160, just missed out as well, as did Logan Blackburn (126) and Kyus Root (170).

“Two Green Wave seniors ended their season earlier than hoped, and for that we are heartbroken,” Porter said. “Gavin Jones was a team player and captain who gave everything he had this weekend.”

Duncan did not lose until his championship match unlike Foster, Wright and Jones, who had to fight through wrestlebacks. Duncan has now lost to Bethalto Civic Memorial’s Caleb Tyus (39-0) in three tournament championships this season.

Foster probably had the most impressive performance during the elimination rounds, winning four in a row after initially losing in the second round. The sophomore regional champ, who had entered sectionals at 27-1, pinned his first two opponents in 14 seconds and 1 minute, 40 seconds, respectively, then fought to win an overtime match over Bethalto Civic Memorial’s Ben Skaggs, 9-7, before dominating Normal West’s Matt Bicknell by a technical fall, 17-1, to take third place overall.

“By winning his second overtime match of the tournament to qualify, Foster showed grit and toughness,” Porter said.

Trey Pearcy, meanwhile, is the only Charleston wrestler to advance. After losing in the championship semifinals, the senior posted two decisive wins – 10-5 and 16-3 – to capture third place and return to state for a second year. Teammate Brayden Doyle, though, fell just short of earning his first trip to state.

The state tournament runs next Thursday through Saturday at Champaign’s State Farm Center. Here are some details.

MATTOON SECTIONAL RESULTS

(Includes weight class, grade, current overall record and sectional results)

WtNameYrRecordSectional
106Brady Foster1031-24-1
113Coby Haney1129-31-2
120Ricky Wright1120-93-1
126Logan Blackburn920-112-2
132Kiefer Duncan1021-52-1
138Jeremiah Jones1122-72-2
145Stewart Druin94-60-2
152Hayden Stanley1215-62-2
160Gavin Jones1221-81-2
170Kyus Root925-103-2
195Leo Meyer919-160-2

CHARLESTON SECTIONAL RESULTS

(Includes weight class, grade, current overall record and sectional results)

WtNameYrRecordSectional
126Trey Pearcy1238-44-1
152Tyler Thompson1128-160-2
195Brayden Doyle1236-51-2
220Wyatt Kennedy99-130-2