Highland senior wrestler Trent Rakers made his return to the lineup at the halfway point of the season and he looked in mid-season form en route to going 6-0 and winning the 160-pound weight division Friday at the two-day 23-team Lincoln Wrestling Tournament.
Rakers went 42-2 and placed fourth in the state in Class 2A a year ago, but has missed the first half of this season recovering from a leg injury suffered during the football season.
In the championship match, Rakers (6-0) battled hard to prevail for a 9-6 decision and hand Danville senior Porfirio Perez (15-1) his first loss of the season.
Rakers opened on Thursday by dispatching of his three opponents in his pool. He first needed a scant 48 seconds to pin Limestone’s Jose Blanco-Nunez before going on to blank Canton’s Tristan Hammond 5-0, then finishing his pool by scoring a fall over Jerseyville’s Kyzick Bell at the 1:46 mark of the first period.
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Next in the quarterfinals, Rakers earned an 8-0 major decision over Harvey Thornton’s Isaac Watkins before taking down Pekin’s Ian Gibbs 8-2 in the semifinals to reach the title bout against Perez.
Also placing in the top eight spots in their respective weight class at the Lincoln tourney for the Bulldogs — who placed ninth as a team out of the 23 competing squads — were senior Jacob Mitchell, who placed second at 132 pounds; sophomore Colton Brown, who placed sixth at 126 pounds; sophomore Devin Wills, who placed sixth at 152 pounds; senior Brett Brown, who placed seventh at 195 pounds; and junior Christian Zuccarelli, who placed eighth at 170 pounds.
At 132 pounds, Mitchell (16-4), a state qualifier at 126 pounds a year ago, was 6-0 with four pins, one major decision and one minor decition heading into the championship match before suffering a technical-fall defeat to East St. Louis’ Tyler Dunn (18-1).
Wills (17-4) went 5-2 with three pins to earn sixth place at 152 pounds.
At 126 pounds, Colton Brown (12-7) got sixth place after going 4-3 with all four victories coming via pin.
And finally 195 pounds, Brett Brown (11-9) needed just 43 ticks of the clock to pin Stephon Mcclain of Springfield.