MAHOMET — Peter McCusker and Nolan Roseman will be two of many searching for gold at State Farm Center.
And, while they have not made history yet, on Saturday they have put themselves into position to make history. Rantoul Eagle wrestling history that is. In a number of ways.
McCusker, wrestling at 145 pounds, finished second in the Illinois High School Association Class 2A Sectional, losing a two point battle, 5-3, to Danville’s Anthony Turner. The pair also met for the Urbana Class 2A Regional title with Turner winning the regional title as well.
Turner, who was bleeding during the match, had to have an injury time out, a couple of times.
"It was disruptive, but you have to be ready for anything," said McCusker, a senior looking for his second consecutive medal in the weight class. "It was a tight match and it was a state-level match. I can win these type of matches, I just have to be prepared and do my utmost from start to finish."
To earn the right to wrestle Turner for sectional gold, the two-sport Rantoul athlete, pinned his previous three opponents. In the semifinal, McCusker downed Triad’s Garrett Bakarich (3:54). Derek Owens of Mattoon fell to McCusker in the quarterfinal at the 3:29 mark, while Jacksonville’s Austin Murphy lost in the opening round. McCusker pinned Murphy in 2:56. All three of McCusker’s opponents previous to Turner, had at least 20 victories this year, while two of them had more than 25 each.
"I hope to wrestle Anthony again," said McCusker, who is now 41-5. "The matches keep getting closer and closer. I feel like it is just a matter of time until it goes my way."
Roseman (41-3) took third at the sectional, defeating Olney East Richland’s Ean Pottorff in his final match of the day, beating him 5-2.
"Each and every time I go out there, I want to keep fighting until that final buzzer sounds," said Roseman. "At state, I am there for the same reason that everyone is there: to win a state championship. I am going to do the best I can each and every time."
The senior earned a bye in the first round, but then won the next match, beating Jacksonville’s Tyger Vaniter by technical fall at the 4:47 mark. At the time the match was called, Roseman was leading 17-1.
After a loss to Carbondale’s Aron Taylor, by a 9-6 score, Roseman wrestled in the consolation semifinal, beating Rochester product Justin Owens quickly, topping him at the 33 second mark by pinfall to set up the third place match with Pottorff.
"I did not think it would be over that quickly, because Justin is a very good wrestler," said Roseman. "But, I was pretty fired up from the previous loss and that helped me end it fast. There was so much on the line, so I went out there and wrestled hard."
Rashon Allen, Rantoul’s 132 pound wrestler, and Keddrick Terhune, Rantoul’s 138 pound grappler, also competed in the sectional.
Allen posted a record of 2-2, beating Cahokia’s Ja’Ry Cobb by major decision. In addition to his 10-2 victory over Cobb, he also defeated Lanphier’s Austin Payton by pinfall at the 5:40 mark. His two losses were Marion's Nate Dampier, by pinfall at the 1:19 mark, and Triad's Tanner Durrell by pinfall at 5:10. Allen finished 23-15.
Terhune earned a victory with a bye, but lost to Rochester’s Mason Ross in the opening round by pinfall at 2:11. He was eliminated by Cahokia’s Mahlik Ball, who won a 6-1 decision over Terhune. The freshman finished the 2018-19 season with a 23-17 mark.
"Rashon and Keddrick have worked hard all season and had a great opportunity to work with some quality, state-level practice partners in Nolan and Peter," said Mark McCusker, Rantoul’s head coach. "The freshmen were a great asset to our team and they have a bright future ahead of them. What they did as freshmen was pretty amazing and will certainly prepare them as they progress in their wrestling careers."