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Breeze-Courier Sports Writer
VANDALIA — THS Junior, William Blue, stalks his Greenup Pirate prey. Unfourtunatley he lost the match due to pinfall late in the third round.
Lucas Domonousky Breeze-Courier Photo
VANDALIA — The first day of the IHSA Wrestling Sectionals were held in Vandalia on Friday Night. Two of Taylorville’s own earned their spot in the Tournament. Gage Rusher and William Blue both wrestled just one Quarterfinals match which will tell them where, when and just who they will face off against elimination tomorrow. Both results were decided by pin fall though not the same end result.
First to face off against his Sectional foe was Gage Rusher. Rusher was locked in from the time he stepped foot in the Vandalia Community High School. Hood up, pacing around and preparing for his name to be called. When it was time he joined the his coaches. Rusher silently studied everything from the matt, scoreboards and his next opponent. Preparing for war. He shook hands with his Roxana opponent of the 138 lbs weight class and away they went
By the end of the first period Rusher was up 5-0 sitting very comfortable with his opposition looking visibly shaken. He went on to get pin early on in the second round.
“Going into Sectionals and picking up that first win is so important.” Rusher states “It sets you up so much to get to those placement matches to get you to State.”
Rusher, who previously thought this match would punch his ticket to win number 100, found out immediately that this was officially win number 99. You could hear the slight disappointment in his voice but this was not long lived. Realization of the importance positivity plays and will play for the position this young man is in.
“He is now one away.” Head Coach Jake Smothers added “Getting to that Semi-Final was the first battle but we’re here to win the war.”
Rusher will face off against Murphysboro’s Arojae Hart for his next match. Hart has a record of 56-4 on the season and is a top three ranked wrestler in Illinois.
Next was Junior William Blue. He was ready to fight just as was his teammate before him.
Blue started the first two round strong and fairly even with his counterpart. The 195 lbs weight class match was stretched to the third round. By that point, however, the fatigue started to set in and mistakes ensued. Blue was defeated late by pin.
“He was bigger and more technical than me.” admitted Blue. “It was going good in the first period but i just wasn’t physically ready.”
This is just his third year on the THS wrestling team and his extent of playing the sport and both Coaches, Smothers and Emery, realize this fact.
“Blue is a guy that won’t let (a loss) get in his head much.” said Head Coach Jake Smothers. Tomorrow we just have to come back swinging. Three wins and we’re in.”
“At Sectionals and at State, you have to be solid all the way through fundamentals.” Assistant Coach Jeff Emery added a few words. “He is still, essentially, a two and a half year wrestler. He is still getting better.”
The loss sets Blue up to wrestle the Warrensburg 195 weight class. No information has been provided on this individual.
*Random Match Alert*
After a first round bye Lawrenceville Cardinal Dylan Aten faced off against his Goreville opponent. He went on to take the match by pinfall and is moving on to the 113 lbs Quarter-final.