Highland High School senior wrestler Trent Rakers (152 pounds) pinned all three of his opponents to win his third consecutive regional title at the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Class 2A Jerseyville Regional at Jerseyville High School.
Rakers kept his record on the season spotless at 28-0 while raising his school-record number of career wins to 142.
His first two matches did not make it past the first period. Rakers needed a scant 20 seconds to smother Mascoutah’s Julian Wellman in his first match before going on to stick Darius Frazier of Cahokia in 1:35 and reach the championship bout.
In the title match, Rakers scored a fall over Jerseyville’s Zeke Walts at the 3:01 mark match.
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Rakers will head to this Saturday’s Mascouah Sectional as a favorite to lay claim to his third straight sectional championship and punch his ticket to the following weekend’s IHSA Class 2A State Wrestling Tournament, held annually at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s State Farm Center.
“Trent was real dominant, and I am pleased with him and the way he wrestled, but it was really to be expected,” Highland coach Terry Ohren said. “He is a favorite to win the state title at 152 pounds.”
Sophomore Devin Wills will join Rakers at this weekend’s Mascoutah Sectional after finishing third at 145 pounds.
Wills (36-8) started off with a 15-0 technical fall over Quintin Dall of Jerseyville before being pinned by Waterloo’s Cody Cissell at the 4:56 mark.
But Wills rebounded to pull out a 6-5 decision over Reginald Lucas of East St. Louis to advance to the third-place final, where Wills pinned Jordan McKinney of Triad with five seconds remaining in the match.
“I was a little surprised Devin did not get second place and instead finished third,” Ohren said. “He said he knew was not wrestling right and that is good that he knows that. Now we just have to get him back right for this weekend. Devin still has a pretty good shot at making state this weekend.”
Coming up one spot short for sectional bids with fourth-place finishes at the regional for Highland were senior Jacob Mitchell (132 pounds), who was a state qualifier one year ago, sophomore Colton Brown (126) and senior Brett Brown (195).
“I would have liked to have five through to the sectional, but we only got two through, so we’ll just have to go from there and see if we can get both on through to state,” Ohren said.
Cahokia’s depth proved to be too much for Triad and Waterloo to handle Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Jerseyville Regional.
The Comanches won five individual titles as they finished with 183 points, 16 more than Triad (167). Waterloo was a distant third with 108 points.
Winning championships for Cahokia were Jacob Bullock (220 pounds), Arnold Edwards (182), Rozell Baker (160), Martell Boone (145) and Marquis Wilson (120). All will be top seeds at the Mascoutah Sectional, Feb. 11-12.
Triad received individual championships from Zeke Bright (113), Garrett Bakarich (126), Aric Crehan (170) and Christian North (285).