Blue, Dyer advance to IHSA 1A Sectionals @ Carterville
AUBRUN — William Blue sprawls onto his Vandal opponent. He would snag the win and a trip to the 2023 IHSA Sectionals for the third time in his career.
Breeze-Courier Sports Editor
AUBURN — Four Taylorville high school students competed at the 2023 Auburn Regionals for Wrestling on Saturday, Feb. 4. The feeling of success and heartbreak were spread throughout
MOLINA (182 LBS)
Landen Molina played the roll of tone setter for Taylorville at the Auburn Regionals. He was the program’s first match of the morning and dove head first into the storm.
The senior didn’t have an easy route through the Auburn Regionals as he faced off against Litchfield’s Seth Kenter. He dropped the first round match by pinfall which meant he would have to win out to place third and continue his wrestling career.
With his season on the line Molina took it right to Sacred Heart Griffin junior Ethan Hagle. Landen still had plenty of fire left in him for the second round match which he won by pinning his SHG opponent in the first period.
For his third match of the day Molina wrestled Vandalia sophomore Kaden Tidwell. Though was up in points through the first round his opponent took the victory by pin in the second round effectively ending his season.
“He just got caught in a bad spot” said Coach Smothers after the loss. “He still has a chance to wrestle at the next level. It goes beyond sports. He’s committed himself to this program. It’s a tough sports and it’s upsetting to see his career end like that but sometimes that’s just the way it goes. Thirty win wrestler. State qualifier. Unfortunately this ones going to sting.”
Molina finishes the 2022-’23 season with 36 total wins.
HAMELL (138 LBS)
After a first round bye Taylorville freshman Josef Hamell wrestled Litchfield’s Hunter Law. The match wained heavily one-sided with 4 nearfalls being awarded throughout the match. At three points a piece Law took command and ended the match with 16 points total and took the win.
“He’s a freshman so were here for experience but we still feel good about the other three. Hopefully we can get all three and advance him.” Head Wrestling Coach Jake Smothers comments after the tough loss.
He would not be able to pull off the wins but gained high valued post-season experience. He finishes the 2022-’23 season with 14 wins.
DYER (132 LBS)
Ethan Dyer has had his sights set on this since the season began way back in November. The sophomore was victorious in his first match against Auburn’s own Jayden Brown. The home field advantage didn’t phase Dyer even a little bit as he racked up 12 points and punched his ticket to Sectionals.
“He was able to get a good seed, had a tough match but was able to pull it out. He’s in the finals and is a Sectional qualifier as a sophomore which is huge.” Smothers praises. “He had a tough year last year and for him to come back, show up everyday, got his grades right, never missed a practice all year. The kid works his ass off and I am elated. His whole family is here to watch him. Things coming full circle for Ethan and I could not be more happy.”
Dyer would fall in his next match giving him a second place finish but that doesn’t away from his huge achievement.
BLUE (195 LBS)
Taylorville senior William Blue used strength, technique and raw power to out class his Vandalia opponent Wyatt Dothager in the first round.
“He wasn’t very strong so I knew I could kinda toss him around.” Blue said with confidence. “But he was really scrambly which I didn’t expect.”
Coach Smothers weighs in on Blues first match.
“Blue just stayed solid. He never lets the moment get to him. Just wrestled really smart. He’s a hard guy to keep down… if you can get him down.”
One wrestler who was able to get the THS senior down was Cory West from Sacred Heart Griffin. West and Blue went head to head for first place in the 195 weight class. William Blue finished second place on Saturday and will advance to Sectionals for the third consecutive year.
This years IHSA 1A Sectional will be held in Carterville on Friday, Feb 10 and Saturday, Feb 11. William Blue and Ethan Dyer will represent the Purple and Gold and look to make their way to the State tournament.
AUBURN — THS senior Landon Molina wrestling in what would be his final match of High School career. Molina finishes out his senior year with 36 wins.
Lucas Domonousky / Breeze-Courier Photo