Area wrestlers place at state

Robert Blackford/Editor
Austin Skiles, left, and Zach Nelson eached placed at the IHSA state Wrestling Championship Feb. 18 and 19. Skiles placed third at state and Nelson placed second.

Mercer County wrestlers Zach Nelson (145) and Austin Skiles(130) placed second and third at the IHSA Class 1A state tournament held Feb. 18 and 19 in Champaign.

Seth Whan of Sherrard also placed second at state at 189 pounds.

"We did pretty well," said Mercer County wrestling coach Jeremy Finch. "Our goal was to get the medal stand and we did that."

Finch said. "The northwest part of the state close to Iowa is really tough. Our sectional is really a meat grinder. If we can get out of it we can do pretty well."

Finch added, "I think we had great focus all week. We did a real good job of focusing on our matches. There is a lot of pressure at state."

Finch added "Zach beat a kid in the semi finals he had lost two twice previously. We were hoping he would place in the top four and he reached the finals as a sophomore. That was great. Austin placed third. We hoped he would reach the finals. He lost to a kid he had beaten twice. It's hard to beat someone you have faced twice before. They know more about you. He won the final match of his career That was pretty big for him."

At 145 pounds Zach Nelson (43-4) won his first match of the day pinning Brock Gabel of Bishop McNamera 1:29. In the second round Nelson won a major decision over Drake Holland of Herrin, 11-2. In the semi finals Nelson won a 10-4 decision over Tad Hawley of Stillman Valley. Nelson lost the championship match to Billy Chancey of Braidwood, 5-0.

At 130 pounds Austin Skiles (40-5) won a major decision over Jake Hilliard of Peotone, 11-2. In the second round Skiles won a major decision over Ethan Pullum of Herrin, 12-2. Skiles was  pinned by Max Hubbard of Sterling Newman Catholic in the semi finals at 2:38.

Skiles pinned Tyler Woolridge of Leroy in overtime at 6:48 in the a wrestle back. Skiles beat Alex Jones of Shelbyville 4-3 to capture third place in the tournament.

Thorian Twyner of Orion won by major decision over Hubbard in the championship match, 9-1.

At 189 pounds Sherrard's Seth Whan (41-3) won his first round match by major decision, 11-0  over Ron Webb of Seneca. Whan beat Kevin Roper of Carlyle, 8-2 in the second round. Whan won his semi-final match over Dakota Patton of Bismarck, 3-2. Whan lost in the finals to Trey Griffin of Lena, 9-6.

At 135 pounds Rockridge's Kadmeil Smith (35-10) pinned Hadin Restivo of West Frankfort in 3:57 at his opening match. In the semi-finals Smith was pinned by Austin Miller of Macomb in 3:15. Smith was pinned by Zach Skoryi of Wilimnigton in 1:46 in the wrestle back.