Brady Foster, Korbin Bateman and Kiefer Duncan each captured IHSA sectional individual titles, and Mattoon sent six wrestlers to state overall Saturday at Mahomet-Seymour High School.
This is the highest number of state qualifiers in one season for the historically good Mattoon program.
“Just phenomenal,” Mattoon coach Brett Porter said. “You know how these guys come out and have goals set and accomplish that goal and not just, you know, one or two guys – but six guys all did what they’re supposed to do. You know it’s just a great day. Great weekend.”
Foster pinned two early-round opponents easily – in 1 minute, 2 seconds, and 1:10 – before dominating Normal West’s Matt Bicknell, 12-3, in the 113-pound championship match.
Bateman, a sophomore, opened with a 56-second pin over Riverton’s Ethan Fordham before knocking off Normal West’s Austin Johnston, 9-3, in the semifinals and beating Champaign’s Ronald Baker, 10-4, in the 126-pound final.
“Korbin put together a great tournament for his first high school sectional tournament,” Porter said. “He kept his composure.”
After outscoring a Civic Memorial opponent 16-0 in his opening match, Duncan scored early on a takedown and held on for a 3-2 decision in the semifinals and then posted a 3-0 victory over Glenwood’s Aden Byal in the 145-pound championship. This is the fourth straight year that Duncan is competing for a state championship. “It’s surreal,” the senior said.
Senior Aidan Spurgeon, sophomore Aidan Blackburn and junior Leo Meyer battled through consolation round matches to also advance to the state tournament, which is set for next week at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
“Brady and Spurgeon are like sharks out there,” Duncan said. “They just go right at it. They just go straight out there and do not posture around.”
After losing 3-0 to the 195-pound division runner-up in a quarterfinal match, Spurgeon pinned three straight opponents – in 23 seconds, 1:44 and :51 – before posting a 10-4 victory over Carbondale’s Aiden Taylor in the consolation final to earn third place overall.
Blackburn rallied after a loss in the quarterfinals at 152 pounds to also post three consecutive pins – in 1:44, 5:52 and 2:29 – and advance to the consolation finals. Even though he lost to East St. Louis’s Cody Powell a second time, Blackburn earned one of the four state berths awarded in each weight division. The sophomore’s four pins tied with Carbondale’s Taylor for the most by an individual wrestler in the sectional. Spurgeon was tied for second most with three.
Leo Meyer, another regional champ, threw up midway through his consolation semifinal, which would determine who would advanced to state. Ahead 7-2 over Glenwood’s Jaidyn Lee, Meyer fought through the physical challenges to win the match, 9-4. He forfeited the consolation final since he had already qualified.
“I think we would have been happy with how much he had already accomplished this season,” Porter said. “But for him to come in and to be able to qualify the state with the level of competition that was in this room in sectionals. You know, he just did a great job. He put together a couple of really good matches. He was fighting a chest cold. So for him to be able to do it was awesome. To see him holding on in the last match – you could see him battling through everything.”
In other local matches:
- Mattoon regional champ Mick Porter lost one match shy of advancing to state, 8-0, in the consolation semifinals at 138 pounds. Porter had pinned Normal West’s Cody Sears 1:42 into his quarterfinal match, but got bumped to the consolation round after losing his next match. “I thought he wrestled to the best of his ability” said Brett Porter. “That’s all you can ask that. For Mick to be able to make the sectionals and do well in sections is just huge.”
- Mattoon freshman Ben Capitosti won his opening-round match before losing his next two matches at 132 pounds.
- Charleston’s Josh Wiley lost both his matches at 170 pounds.
- Mattoon’s Isaiah Woolcot lost twice at 106 pounds.
Mattoon posted the fourth most pins (12).