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By ANDREW ROSTEN
BISMARCK – Chet McClure was a freshman the last time Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher qualified for a dual team sectional tournament.
In the 2009-10 season, GCMS/F made it all the way to the state tournament. In 2012-13, the Falcons are one meet away from a return trip after winning Saturday’s Bismarck Regional. They scored 186 points, beating out Prairie Central by 16 points.
“It felt very good,” GCMS head coach Josh Carter said. “I was really pleased with the way the guys competed today. They showed a lot of heart and determination. I was proud of them.”
The Falcons will compete in the Heyworth Dual Team Sectional a week after the individual state meet in Champaign, with one of GCMS/F’s opponents being defending state champion LeRoy.
“We’ll go out and wrestle like we’re capable of. I think if we do that, we’ll be in good shape, but it’s going to be tough,” Carter said. “LeRoy kind of had the upper hand on us last time (we faced that team), so we’ll have an opportunity to wrestle them again, so I’m looking forward to that.”
McClure said he also can’t wait to go back to dual team sectionals.
“It’ll be fun. It feels good to be able to go back,” McClure said. “It feels great. The team came in with the goal of doing it, and to be able to achieve your goal is awesome. Now we’ve just got to step forward and make new goals.”
Prior to the dual team sectional, 10 members of the GCMS/F wrestling squad will compete in the Stanford Olympia Individual Sectional next weekend.
Of the 10 top-three finishers on the Falcons’ team at the Bismarck Regional, six won championships in their respective weight classes.
“Honestly, I knew we had some opportunities to probably get four or five champions, and we knew it was going to be tough,” Carter said. “All those guys that we expected to win came through and did their job, and then we had some that came through that maybe we didn’t expect, and they rose to the occasion.”
Josh Wallick, the top-ranked 285-pound wrestler in Class 1A, faced No. 2-ranked Morgan Supergan of Bismarck-Henning in a much-anticipated championship matchup.
“That was the state championship right there,” Paxton-Buckley-Loda senior wrestler Jacob Meyer said after witnessing the duel.
Wallick showed why he has the No.1 ranking, defeating Supergan for the regional title by pinning him in 5:48. After both wrestlers were tied at 1-1 going into the third and final period, Wallick scored four points via two takedowns before pinning Supergan.
“It was insane. I was so ecstatic,” Wallick said. “When I lifted him up, I knew if I could get him right to his back, it’d be over. But there was an instant surprise when I had him on his back. I thought, ‘All right, I’m good. I’ve got him on his back.’ I had to squeeze as hard as I can. I knew time was going to be running out in less than 20 seconds or something. The adrenaline ran through my body as soon as he touched the mat. It was crazy.”
Prior to his matchup with Supergan, Wallick pinned PBL’s J.T. Grady in 20 seconds and Hoopeston Area’s Ethan Linder in 54 seconds.
“(Winning regionals) feels awesome,” Wallick said. “I won it last year, but now my sights are on sectionals, then state. You’ve always got to take it one step at a time, but I’m training harder than ever. I wrestled pretty well. My first two matches weren’t too hard, but my third one was definitely the most exciting one. Next week’s going to be even harder, and I know state will even be just a little bit harder. Next week is going to be terrible, though, because I’m going to be training harder than ever.
Usually, I get no sleep. I’ve had a fun day, and I hope for a better tomorrow.”
McClure broke a 2-2 tie in the third period of his 138-pound championship bout against Ben Traub of Prairie Central, claiming the victory via 4-3 decision. With the victory, he won his second consecutive regional title and third in four years.
“It feels good,” McClure said. “Last year and this year, I feel like I was able to get my mind right and come out and wrestle. I felt comfortable there because I knew that
I was going to win. You know it’s going to be a good fight anytime you go out on the mat, but whenever you have that confidence, you feel better about yourself and you end up wresting better.”
In the 106-pound division, junior Hunter Lowry pinned St. Thomas More’s Matt Cinnamon 1:29 into the championship round.
“It feels pretty good,” Lowry said. “(Winning) the team title is a good feeling, too. I went out there and wrestled like I can, and I feel like I did great. I felt good about (the championship match). It was a fast match.”
Unlike Wallick and McClure, Lowry is entering his first sectional.
“I’m nervous and excited,” Lowry said. “I know it’s going to be a lot tougher than the regional, but I know that if I wrestle like I can, I’ll be on the way to state next week. I’ve got some tough kids in my sectional, but if I wrestle well, then I shouldn’t have a problem.”