Highland senior wrestler Trent Rakers tore through his second straight tournament field, going 5-0 and winning the 160-pound weight class at the 56th Annual Murdale Wrestling Tournament, held Friday and Saturday in Carbondale.
Rakers, who finished fourth in the state in Class 2A last year at 160 pounds, pinned four opponents and scored a technical fall in the other to run his spotless record to 13-0.
He was so dominant that even his opponent in the championship bout, Olney-Richland County’s Hunter Schmitt, did not make it out of the first period before Rakers smothered him at the 1:14 mark.
Rakers opened the tourney by pinning both of his foes in pool competition. First, he scored a fall over Anna-Jonesboro’s Nick Sanders in 1:18 and then stuck Mt. Zion’s Jacob May in 1:35.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Then in the quarterfinals, Rakers won on a technical fall over Austin Carey of Althoff to advance to the semifinals, where he pinned Civic Memorial’s Brandon Copeland.
Highland senior Jacob Mitchell (20-5) went 4-1 and finished second at 132 pounds.
Mitchell also pinned both of his combatants in pool competition, smothering CM’s Zach Wells in 2:58 and Carterville’s even quicker at 58 seconds.
Mitchell then went on to stick Carbondale’s Cole Nelsen at the 1:13 mark before edging Harrisburg’s Kody Cavender 9-8 to advance to the title bout.
In the final, Mitchell faced off against his nemesis in Tyler Dunn of East St. Louis (23-1), who scored a 17-6 major decision over Mitchell.
Also placing for the Bulldogs were sophomore Colton Brown, second place at 126 pounds; sophomore Devin Wills, second place at 152 pounds; and senior Brett Brown, seventh place at 195 pounds.
At 126 pounds, Colton Brown pinned Marion’s DJ Waddy at the 3:50 mark in the fifth-place match.
In the fifth-place final at 15 2 pounds, Wills needed just 43 seconds to plant the shoulders of Colby Osborne of Chatham Glenwood to the mat.
And at 195 pounds, Brett Brown pinned Fairfield Community’s Dylan Heifner just past the halfway point of the match.
As a team, Highland placed 10th out of 23 competing teams.