VANDALIA, Ill. — Mt. Carmel finished fourth as a team Saturday at the IHSA Class 1A regional wrestling meet, and advanced five matmen into this weekend’s sectional meet.
The Aces claimed three individual champions: Aaron Wood (106 pounds), Cody Wall (182) and Andrew Wise (220 pounds).
Beau Taylor qualified for the sectional with his second-place finish at 152 pounds and Brandon Stringfellow advanced at 145 pounds with a third-place finish.
Luke Wolfe missed qualifying, losing in the third-place match at 120 pounds.
“I was extremely proud with how our team wrestled,” said Cheesman of his Aces team which improved dramatically as the season progressed, evidenced by eight wins in their final nine dual matches to finish 11-7 after a 3-6 start.
The host Vandals won the team championship with 257.5 points. They will move on to the team sectional competition.
Olney finished second with 137.5 points, followed by Lawrenceville (125.5), Mt. Carmel (118) and Fairfield (79.5).
Robinson finished sixth, just one-half point behind Fairfield. Carmi, Carlyle and Breese Mater Dei rounded out the order.
Wood, a freshman, improved to 32-6 on the season with a pin of Vandalia’s Trevor Phillips in 2 minutes, 42 seconds in the final.
“It was kind of unexpected,” said Cheesman of Wood’s win, despite his No. 1 seed. “A lot of people thought the Vandalia kid would win it.”
Wood “definitely sent a message” to the rest of the state with the win, according to Cheesman.
Wall (35-3) won his title at 182 “by wrestling smart” in a 3-2 win over Nic Betty of Robinson, Cheesman said.
Wise, last year an alternate at the state meet, won the regional title with a win over Zach Shoulders of Lawrenceville.
“He gave up a takedown then got fired up and stuck the kid,” said Cheesman.
Taylor faced Taylor Dagen of Vandalia in the most anticipated championship of the day at 152 pounds. Both entered with state rankings and the match dragged into overtime before Dagen prevailed, 4-2.
“Beau led for about two-thirds of the match,” said Cheesman of Taylor’s surprise takedown for an early 2-0 lead.
Sectional competition opens Friday night with preliminary rounds before wrapping up Saturday. The top four finishers in each weight class will advance to the state meet at Assembly Hall in Champaign.