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By ANDREW ROSTEN
STANFORD — For four members of the GCMS/Fisher wrestling team, last weekend’s Stanford Olympia Sectional was déjà vu all over again.
Chet McClure, Josh Wallick, Cameron Schwing and Dylan Donner were the only GCMS/F state qualifiers last year. This year, the foursome will make a repeat appearance.
“Those guys knew what to expect coming into sectionals,” GCMS/Fisher head coach Josh Carter said. “That experience is going to help them at state, I think.”
The Falcons had 10 wrestlers going into sectionals.
Among the six that did not make it to state were Hunter Lowry of the 106-pound division and Tristan Smith, who each lost a wrestleback semifinal match.
“I feel very good about (four guys going to state),” Carter said. “I felt like they were going to have to wrestle well, and I felt like they did. I’m very happy for all those guys. All those guys wrestled well. Some just weren’t able to get over the hump for some reason. We had a couple of kids that were just one match away (from state qualification). Regardless, Hunter Lowry and Tristan Smith both had a good tournament.”
McClure – who became the first GCMS/F wrestler to qualify for state in all four years of his high school career – said he is happy to be joined by the threesome this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Assembly Hall in Champaign once again.
“It’s really great to be going down there with those four guys,” McClure said. “It feels good to be going with your friends.”
McClure won first place in the 138-pound division with three wins, one of which came via 9-1 major decision in the semifinals over Deer Creek-Mackinaw’s Skylar Schafer and he won a 7-0 decision over Quincy Notre Dame‘s Gage Stephens in the championship round.
His first match was a squeaker, as McClure beat Beardstown’s Martin Orduno via 9-6 decision.
“In my first match, I was a little flat,” McClure said. “But then I moved on to wrestle in the semifinals, which was a good match for me. (Stephens) is a tough kid and he put up a good match. If he is one of my competitors at the state meet, it will be a good match for me.”
McClure had a fifth-place finish at state last year. He said, however, that he will not worry about placing — opting instead to approach the state meet one match at a time.
“When I go to state, I’m going to just do the best I can,” McClure said. “Hopefully, it was all work out for the best.”
The 285-pound division provided to the spectators in Stanford a rematch of the Bismarck Regional’s battle between No. 1-ranked Josh Wallick and No. 2-ranked Morgan Supergan of Bismarck-Henning.
“It was a tough match,” Carter said. “Both guys wrestled very well. Josh was able to stay in the match and get in good positions and do the things he needed to do to do. I wouldn’t be surprised if they both meet again in the state championship. It’d be good for both of those guys and for wrestling in our area.”
“I think I did pretty well,” Wallick added. “Morgan seemed to be more ready for me than last time. The regional match was just for bragging rights. This time, it was to see who was the better wrestler. It was pretty good.”
After the match, Wallic said he received some congratulations from people representing random teams such as Farmington, St. Thomas More and St. Joseph-Ogden.
“Everyone was excited to see me wrestle again,” Wallick said.
Like last year, Wallick said he expects to meet up with Supergan yet again at the state meet. Should they meet again, he said to expect the matchup between him and Supergan at the state meet to be more of a battle.
“I think, based on last year’s experience, it’s going to be better match at state this year,” Wallick said. “It’s going to be an exciting point in the state meet when we face each other. I assume that we’ll face each other, and it’ll be quite a match to see at state.”
Wallick defeated Supergan via 4-1 decision in the wrestleback semifinals of last year’s state meet en route to finishing in third place. He said he expects to step up two spots in this year’s state meet.
“This year, the expectation is to go all the way and win it,” Wallick said. “I’m not going to diminish everybody else. If they’re at state, they have to be good wrestler.
Every match is going to be a challenge. I’m glad that we have more people going to state. It feels good to have some of your teammates going to state and supporting you. They want to see you succeed at state. Hope, all four of us can place. That would be great. I know we also have our team sectional coming up, but this state meet will be a great experience.”
Schwing took third place in the 113-pound division. He earned a trip to state with a pin in the wrestleback semifinals, taking down Clinton’s Mason Witzke in 1:38.
He won a 12-8 decision in the third-place match over Monmouth’s Justin Kinney.
“I’m pretty excited to have the same wrestlers returning to state,” Schwing said. “I’m really excited to go with that group again. I would have liked to have more of my teammates going to state, but I’m still pretty happy. After losing to (Beardstown’s Antonio) Quintana (in the semifinals), I knew had to win one match. I just had to focus. Luckily, I went out there and was able to pin him right away. I was really excited after that match. I knew I was going to state, so there was not much pressure (in the third-place match). I knew tough match, but I came out with the win because I was more relaxed against that kid.”
After losing in last year’s state meet wrestleback quarterfinals, Schwing said he expects to medal at state this time around.
“I’m definitely expecting to medal this year,” Schwing said. “Last year, I went into the mindset where I said, ‘If I beat this kid, I’ll be going up against this kid.’ This year,
I’m just going to take it one match at a time. I’m just going to focus on the one kid that I’ll be wrestling at the time. I’m really excited for state this year. I’m hoping for the best.”
Donner finished fourth in the 120-pound division after pinning Oakwood’s Ashton Haton in 4:49. He lost the third-place match, however, to Quincy Notre Dame’s Darren Stephens via 11-7 decision.
Like Schwing, Donner was eliminated from the state meet via wrestleback quarterfinals last year.
GCMS/Fisher will compete in the Heyworth Team Dual Sectional at 6 p.m. the Tuesday following this weekend’s individual state meet.
Carter said, however, that the focus this week is on the meet in Champaign, and that a good showing could hopefully give the team some momentum heading into the dual meet postseason.
“I think, right now, the expectation is for every one of them to prepare themselves to be ready to go on Thursday one match at a time,” Carter said. “We cannot look past anyone. Anybody is capable of pulling off upsets. If the guys stay focused, they’ll be fine. I think it’d give us a little momentum (if we had a good showing in Champaign. LeRoy had seven wrestlers qualify for state, so they’re going to have some momentum as well. Hopefully, our guys represent the program well. I’m not sure how it’s going to affect us come Tuesday. Those guys are right now focused on state, and the guys who didn’t qualify for state are focused on getting better and preparing for LeRoy.”
Quarterfinals – Jared Walty (Camp Point) dec. Hunter Lowry (GCMSF), 10-7.
First round wrestlebacks – Lowry maj. dec. Corbin Wolken (St. Joseph-Ogden), 14-4.
Quarterfinal wrestlebacks – Lowry dec. Tim White (Beardstown), 8-3.
Wrestleback semifinals – Josh Schaidle (Eureka) dec. Lowry, 10-6.
Quarterfinals -- Cameron Schwing (GCMSF) dec. Tanner Coleman (Peoria Heights), 7-4.
Semifinals – Antonio Quintana (Beardstown) pinned Schwing, 3:21.
Wrestleback semifinals – Schwing pinned Mason Witzke, 1:38.
Third-place match – Schwing dec. Justin Kinney (Monmouth), 12-8.
Quarterfinals – Dylan Donner (GCMSF) dec. John Donovan (Dee-Mack), 15-8.
Semifinals – Jordan Richardson (PORTA) pinned Donner, 1:15.
Wrestleback semifinals – Donner pinned Ashton Haton (Oakwood), 4:49.
Third-place match – Darren Stephens (Quincy Notre Dame), 11-7.
Quarterfinals – Chet McClure (GCMSF) dec. Martin Orduno (Beardstown), 9-6.
Semifinals – McClure maj. dec. Skylar Schafer (Dee-Mack), 9-1.
Championship – McClure dec. Gage Stephens (Quincy Notre Dame), 7-0.
First round -- Johnathan Reed (Knoxville) pinned Aaron Carter (GCMSF), 3:49.
First-round wrestlebacks – Carter dec. Clayton Thurman (Beardstown), 7-4.
Wrestleback quarterfinals – Les Trotter (Clinton) dec. Carter, 4-0.
First round – Christian Kolb (PORTA) maj. dec. Darren Eckerty (GCMSF), 14-4.
First-round wrestlebacks – Hunter Santamour (El Paso-Gridley) dec. Eckerty, 4-3.
Quarterfinals – Tristan Smith (GCMSF) dec. Wade Thiele (Pittsfield), 6-5.
Semifinals – Kye Reczek (Clinton) pinned Smith, 1:45.
Wrestleback semifinals – Caleb Wilson (LeRoy) maj. dec. Smith, 12-4.
First round – Jake Shubert (GCMSF) pinned Anthony Barnhill (Kewanee), 2:53.
Quarterfinals – Matt Supernant (Macomb) tech. fall Shubert, 19-2.
First-round wrestlebacks – Shubert dec. Lane Lindstrom (LeRoy), 10-9.
Wrestleback quarterfinals – Wesley Kibler (St. Joseph-Ogden) pinned Shubert, 4:35.
First round – Freddy Lopez (Warsaw) pinned Jacob Franklin (GCMSF), 1:40.
First-round wrestlebacks – Ryan Matchett (Normal U-High) dec. Franklin, 6-0.
Quarterfinals – Josh Wallick (GCMSF) pinned Wyatt Robinson (PORTA), :38.
Semifinals – Wallick pinned Logan Thiele, (Pittsfield), 2:19.
Championship – Wallick dec. Morgan Supergan (Bismarck-Henning), 4-1.