Defending Class 2A 285-pound state champion Tanner Farmer of Highland rolled to an easy first-round win while highly-touted Jarrid Braunagel of Althoff and Nate Higgins of Belleville West also scored easy wins to lead the way for local wrestlers on Thursday at the state wrestling tournament in Champaign.
Ranked second in the state, Farmer improved to 33-0 with a 6-0 win over Jonathan Hewitt of LaSalle-Peru in his preliminary round bout at the State Farm Center.
A University of Nebraska football recruit, Farmer will be back in action this morning in the quarterfinals.
Semifinals in all three classes are set for Friday night, with the final rounds on Saturday.
Farmer was just one of several local Class 2A wrestlers to move on in the winners bracket.
Cahokia and East St. Louis advanced two wrestlers each.
Third in the 113-pound weight class a year ago, Cahokia senior Dameon Adams advanced while teammate Darrell Hinkle (160) also won.
East St. Louis senior SirRomeo Howard (145) and sophomore Chrishon Tucker (106) advanced for the Flyers. Triad sophomore Cole Witzig (160) also reached the quarterfinals.
In Class 3A, Higgins moved into the 152-pound quarterfinals for the second straight year. Teammate Nick Foster (145) also posted an easy first round win
Other Class 3A wrestlers who kept their dreams of a state title alive were Edwardsville's Cameron Thornberry (182) and Matt Kent (220).
Ranked second at 120, Althoff sophomore Jarrid Braunagel romped into the quarterfinals with a 13-2 win over Cameron Schwing of Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (Coop).
Now 37-0, Braunagel will take on Preston Adams of (Aledo) Mercer County with a probable match against highly-touted Printice Wallis of Dakota awaiting in the semifinals.
Braunagel placed third at 113 in 2013.
Althoff teammate Rodney Baker also earned a berth in the quarterfinals. Baker (28-10) romped past Nathan Getzelman of Byron 7-1 in his bout at 285.
Also advancing into the quarterfinals were Roxana's Jeremy O'Gara (113) and Dalton Brito (126) and Wood River's Zac Blasioli (160).
Sparta's Will Monroe (285) lost his opening bout and will wait to see if he will compete in the wrestlebacks.