Kiefer Duncan pulled off two last-minute maneuvers in his final two matches Saturday to capture the consolation championship and finish third in the IHSA State Wrestling Tournament held at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
The senior was among three Mattoon wrestlers who earned medalist honors, the most in any single season for the program. (see chart below)
Teammates Korbin Bateman and Leo Meyer also earned state medals after finishing among the top six in their respective weight classes while Brady Foster and Aidan Spurgeon fell just one match shy.
“I’m proud,” Mattoon coach Brett Porter said. “The kids wrestled great. Obviously, this was a super tough tournament. I think every single one of them (his wrestlers) can walk out with their head high.”
Duncan (43-3) escaped an opponent’s grasp from the neutral position in the final period twice Saturday. The senior did so to upend both Deerfield senior Lucio Morgan, 1-0, in the semifinal and repeated the move to edge Rochelle senior Caleb Nadig, 1-0, in the consolation final for a second victory in this tournament over the state’s No. 3-ranked wrestler.
“It’s all about mindset,” Duncan said. “It’s difficult to beat the third-ranked wrestler twice. I just had to be focused.”
This is the best tourney finish for Duncan, who has been a state qualifier all four years. “It’s phenomenal,” he said. “My feelings are unreal.”
Duncan battled back after a tough loss Friday night just one match from the 145-pound state championship. “Just to be able to come back from a loss and pull out really close matches at the end was fantastic,” Porter said.
Bateman (36-6) also had to find a way to navigate both his feelings and the consolation field after losing in a semifinal Friday night. The sophomore edged Galesburg’s Rocky Almendarez, 7-6, in the consolation final before losing 6-2 to Caden Muselman in the 126-pound final.
“Going into it (the final match), there was not a lot of pressure,” Bateman said. “I was right where I wanted to be: state-placer. So I was just going out there to have fun and do my best. But he’s a lot taller than most kids I’ve wrestled – probably one of the tallest kids I’ve wrestled – so it was quite a bit different.”
Leo Meyer (35-11) lost two matches by decision Saturday to finish sixth overall at 220 pounds. Nine of the junior’s losses this season have been to wrestlers ranked Nos. 1-3. “When you get to this level, everybody’s tough,” Porter said.
Meyer, who beat a sectional winner in his first match Thursday, said he exceeded his expectations this season. “I feel like I accomplished something out there,” Meyer said. “I felt really proud of myself for making it to state, first of all, and then showing what I could do and placing.”
This is the third time over the past four seasons that multiple Mattoon wrestlers have medaled at state.
“This was a good building block for our program,” Porter said.
MATTOON ALL-TIME STATE MEDALISTS
** – denotes finish in the IWCOA state tournament in 2021 after the IHSA canceled the state wrestling event.
FINAL MATTOON TOURNAMENT RESULTS
(THURSDAY THROUGH SATURDAY)
2A 113: Brady Foster (36-3) placed 8th
- Champ. Round 1 – Brady Foster (Mattoon) 36-3 won by fall over Tyler Weidman (Grayslake (Central)) 35-17 (Fall 3:31)
- Quarterfinal – Xavier Villalobos (Rochelle) 45-5 won in tie breaker – 1 over Brady Foster (Mattoon) 36-3 (TB-1 4-2)
- Cons. Round 2 – Brady Foster (Mattoon) 36-3 won by fall over Cordaro Sims (Urbana) 26-6 (Fall 5:13)
- Cons. Round 3 – Zachary Montez (Geneseo) 40-6 won by decision over Brady Foster (Mattoon) 36-3 (Dec 6-3)
2A 126: Korbin Bateman (36-6) placed 4th
- Champ. Round 1 – Korbin Bateman (Mattoon) 36-6 won by decision over Rocky Almendarez (Galesburg) 37-9 (Dec 6-3)
- Quarterfinal – Korbin Bateman (Mattoon) 36-6 won by fall over Joey Baranski (Chicago Heights (Marian)) 24-10 (Fall 0:32)
- Semifinal – Markel Baker (Freeport) 26-0 won by fall over Korbin Bateman (Mattoon) 36-6 (Fall 5:50)
- Cons. Semi – Korbin Bateman (Mattoon) 36-6 won by decision over Rocky Almendarez (Galesburg) 37-9 (Dec 7-6)
- 3rd Place Match – Oak Forest’s Caden Muselman 33-4 won by decision over Korbin Bateman (Mattoon) 36-6 (Dec 6-2)
2A 145: Kiefer Duncan (43-3) placed 3rd
- Champ. Round 1 – Kiefer Duncan (Mattoon) 43-3 won by major decision over Connor Kozanecki (Grayslake (North)) 33-12 (MD 13-1)
- Quarterfinal – Kiefer Duncan (Mattoon) 43-3 won by decision over Caleb Nadig (Rochelle) 36-6 (Dec 5-2)
- Semifinal – Jayden Colon (Lombard (Montini)) 24-4 won by fall over Kiefer Duncan (Mattoon) 43-3 (Fall 1:52)
- Cons. Semi – Kiefer Duncan (Mattoon) 43-3 won by decision over Lucio Morgan (Deerfield (H.S.)) 41-6 (Dec 1-0)
- 3rd Place Match – Kiefer Duncan (Mattoon) 43-3 won by decision over Caleb Nadig (Rochelle) 36-6 (Dec 1-0)
2A 152: Aidan Blackburn (33-13)
- Champ. Round 1 – Ivan Corral (Oak Forest) 28-8 won by decision over Aidan Blackburn (Mattoon) 33-13 (Dec 7-0)
- Cons. Round 1 – Connor Lezama (Crystal Lake (Central)) 35-15 won by fall over Aidan Blackburn (Mattoon) 33-13 (Fall 2:42)
2A 195: Aidan Spurgeon (27-5) placed 8th
- Champ. Round 1 – Aidan Spurgeon (Mattoon) 27-5 won by decision over Jon Barrick (Crystal Lake (Central)) 23-15 (Dec 9-3)
- Quarterfinal – Nate Wemstrom (Aurora (Christian)) 36-5 won by decision over Aidan Spurgeon (Mattoon) 27-5 (Dec 9-3)
- Cons. Round 2 – Aidan Spurgeon (Mattoon) 27-5 won by fall over Gabino Perez (Chicago (Brother Rice)) 23-9 (Fall 2:28)
- Cons. Round 3 – Anthony Curry (Bloomington) 34-10 won by decision over Aidan Spurgeon (Mattoon) 27-5 (Dec 3-2)
2A 220: Leo Meyer (35-11) placed 6th
- Champ. Round 1 – Leo Meyer (Mattoon) 35-11 won by fall over Griffin Carr (Darien (Hinsdale South)) 22-14 (Fall 3:29)
- Quarterfinal – Leo Meyer (Mattoon) 35-11 won by decision over Jeremiah Morris (Galesburg) 39-6 (Dec 9-7)
- Semifinal – Jordan Sommers (Waterloo) 43-0 won by tech fall over Leo Meyer (Mattoon) 35-11 (TF-1.5 5:16 (16-1))
- Cons. Semi – Jack Barnhart (Champaign (Centennial)) 40-4 won by decision over Leo Meyer (Mattoon) 35-11 (Dec 6-4)