GCMS/Fisher finishes third at Clinton Regional as six wrestlers qualify for sectionals

CLINTON — It was "a good day, overall," for the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher High School wrestling team at IHSA Class 1A Clinton Regional, said head coach Josh Carter.

Six Falcon wrestlers advanced to the sectional round via top-three finishes in their respective brackets. GCMS/Fisher also has three alternates via fourth-place finishes.

As a team, GCMS/Fisher placed third overall in the nine-team regional with a score of 133 while Clinton (191 1/2) and LeRoy/Tri-Valley (144) placed first and second, respectively.

"I figured we'd probably end up somewhere in that range," Carter said. "I knew Clinton was going to be very tough to beat. They've got a pretty solid lineup from top to bottom. I was pleased with our effort."

Freshman Cale Horsch won the championship in the 106-pound bracket. He won via a 2-0 decision over Ridgeview's Billy Tay in the title match.

"He wrestled a tough kid in the finals," Carter said. "I thought he stayed in good position and did a good job."

The two wrestlers met before earlier this season, with Horsch claiming victory via 6-2 decision in the Heart of Illinois Conference East Quad on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

"I felt like I should have beaten him by more today, but a win's a win, I guess," Horsch said.

Horsch reached the championship match by pinning Olympia's Jake Mitchell in a time of 1:12 in the semifinals.

"It feels good. I thought I could have wrestled better, but I got it done, so I feel good going into sectionals," Horsch said.

With three more years of eligibilty, Horsch said he hopes to continue his wrestling success beyond this year's postseason.

"I'm really excited for sectionals and stuff like that in coming years," Horsch said. "I'm excited. I'll see what I can do to get better in the offseason and stuff like that. I'm excited for future years."

Three Falcons left Saturday's regional meet with a second-place medal.

Jacob Horsch placed second in the 145-pound bracket after a loss via 3-2 decision in the championship match to Clinton's Christian Reynolds.

On Thursday, Jan. 11, Reynolds pinned Horsch in a time of 1:27 as the Maroons beat the Falcons 59-16 in a dual meet.

"He had a tough match there against (Christian Reynolds). He's just been a big rival for him, but I thought Jacob wrestled very well and stayed in good position and almost had a chance to win at the end, but he came up short," Carter said.

In the regional title match, Jacob Horsch and Reynolds were tied at 1-1 midway through the third and final period before Reynolds outscored Horsch 2-1 in the final minute.

"It was really close," Jacob Horsch said. "It came down to the end there. I felt pretty good about the whole thing the whole time. It was just one little thing, but it's alright. I'll bounce back."

The senior Jacob Horsch earned his fourth straight trip to sectionals by winning via a 7-1 decision in the semifinals over Olympia's Grant Kessinger. In the quarterfinals, Horsch pinned Normal University High School's Alex Woolford in a time of 1:05.

Jacob Horsch is looking to make his second consecutive trip to the 1A state meet after placing second at last year's sectionals.

"I'm excited to keep going and keep competing hard," Jacob Horsch said. "I hope to make it to state and to get on the podium."

Should a third match against Reynolds await for Jacob Horsch at next weekend's Stanford Olympia Sectional, he will not change his gameplan.

"(I'll have the) same mindset," Horsch said.

Unlike Jacob Horsch, fellow senior Owen Duke is going to sectionals for the first time since his eighth-grade year.

"It feels good," Duke said. "I'm hoping to make it to sectionals and go to state."

After receiving a bye through the quarterfinals of the 195-pound bracket, Duke pinned Hoopeston Area's Adam Colunga in a time of 4:27 in the semifinals. In the title match, LeRoy's Dylan Woolridge pinned Duke in a time of 3:04.

"I tried something new, but then I went back to my old habits, and right when I did that, he hit me with the underhook," Duke said. "That's what ended it."

Junior Garrett Wright finished second in the 220-pound match.

Wright pinned Paxton-Buckley-Loda's Christian Denam in a time of 1:56 in the quarterfinals and won via 2-1 decision over LeRoy's Darek Wiggins. In the title match, Clinton's Kyle Hammer pinned Wright in a time of 3:03.

"It feels good," Wright said. "I've put in the work this season, and it's finally paying off. I'll just try my best (at sectionals). Hopefully, I'll move on. I'll just go in there, work hard, work my stuff and try to move on."

Junior Lucas Chittick qualified for sectionals by pinning Eithan Campbell in a time of 1:19 in the third-place match of the 160-pound bracket.

"I had him on his back," Chittick said. "I was just happy about getting him on his back and wrestling that well."

Chittick pinned Campbell in a time of 1:38 in the quarterfinals before losing via 10-0 major decision to Clinton's Bryce Reeves and pinning Normal U-High's Brody Kline in a time of 1:09 in the wrestleback semifinals.

"I'm pretty happy about going to wrestle some more," Chittick said. "I'll just wrestle as well as I can and see how far I can go."

Payton Kean also earned a third-place medal en route to making his second straight trip to sectionals.

The sophomore pinned PBL's Hobert Skinner in a time of 2:34 in the quarterfinals of the 182-pound bracket.

After losing via 43-second pinfall in the semifinals to Hoopeston Area's Eliseo Zamora, Kean pinned Olympia's Alec Gaither in a time of 1:34 in the wrestleback semifinals before winning via 3-1 decision over LeRoy's Dayne Wiggins in the third-place match.

"It got me going pretty well," Kean said about the third-place match. "I was just trying to keep him off my legs and looking to score. i was looking to ride him out on top in the second period -- that helped a lot -- and then get out quick in the third period. Getting another takedown probably put me out on top. I was looking to seal the match."

Kean was eliminated from sectionals in the second round of wrestlebacks last year and hopes to improve his place this time around.

"I'm looking forward to (sectionals)," Kean said. "I'm hoping to improve myself. I hope to win a few matches at sectionals and prove myself to be a good wrestler as a sophomore. In the next two years, I'm looking to go to state, probably, and maybe get a place or two."

Jacob Horsch was the only Falcon wrestler to reach the state meet last year, and Carter and his GCMS/Fisher wrestling team hope to achieve more next weekend at the Olympia Sectional.

"We'll see where things end up next week," Carter said. "It's going to be a tough week next week for us. Our sectional is a grinder, and we've got to be ready to go."

Kaden Gream finished fourth in the 113-pound bracket.

Gream pinned Clinton's Caiden Turner in a time of 5:08 in the quarterfinals before LeRoy's Ethan Matlock won beat him via 8-0 major decision in the semifinals.

After pinning Hoopeston Area's Ethan Larkin in a time of 1:07 in the wrestleback semifinals, Gream lost via 15-1 major decision to Olympia's Austin Weaver.

Drew Purvis placed fourth in the 132-pound bracket.

Purvis pinned Olympia's Gage McLin in a time of 3:58 in the 132-pound bracket's quarterfinals before Heyworth's Andrew Sims beat him via 21-4 technical fall in a time of four minutes in the semifinals.

After winning via 18-9 major decision in the wrestleback semifinals over Ridgeview's Ethan Wissmiller, Purvis was pinned in 43 seconds by Clinton's Kaleb Johnson in the third-place match.

Calen Ragle finished fourth in the 138-pound bracket.

Ragle lost via 3:47 pinfall to Clinton's Jacob Vidmar in the quarterfinals before pinning PBL's Nick Reck in a time of 3:19 in the wrestleback quarterfinals. Ragle pinned Normal U-High's Nolan Dale in a time of 4:51 in the wrestleback semifinals before losing via 19-3 technical fall in a time of 4:51 to Vidmar in the third-place match.

Cole Maxey lost via 4-2 decision to Clinton's Nate Smith in the quarterfinals of the 120-pound bracket before losing via 4-0 decision to Olympia's Wesly Litwiller in wrestlebacks.

Caleb Liestman lost via 1:19 pinfall to Olympia's Landon Alcorn in the quarterfinals of the 170-pound bracket before losing via 48-second pinfall to Heyworth's Garrett Houston.

Logan Benningfield lost via 37-second pinfall to Ridgeview's Colton Tay in the quarterfinals of the 126-pound match before lsing via 19-second pinfall to LeRoy's Owen Gulley in the wrestleback semifinals.

arosten@news-gazette.com

Categories (3):Prep Sports, Wrestling, Sports

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