Highland junior Trent Rakers tore through the competition to lock up his fourth tournament title in as many outings when he nabbed the 160-pound championship at the Murdale Wrestling Tournament this past weekend at Carbondale High School.
Rakers pinned three of his opponents, including Robbie Hansen of Chatham Glendwood at the 4:58 mark of the title match, and scored a technical fall over the other en route to claiming the crown and retaining his undefeated record, which raised to 22-0.
Rakers also planted his opponents’ shoulders to the match in his first two matches. He needed only 45 seconds to score a fall over Mount Zion’s Nate Bowling. The Highland junior followed that up with another first-period pin after covering Effingham’s Brett Hodges in 1:31.
Finally in the semifinals, Rakers blanked Jon Williams of Marion 15-0 at the 3:22 mark to earn his berth in the championship match against Hansen.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
The four wins hiked Rakers’ career number to 92 victories, which is 42 behind two-time state champion Tanner Farmer school-record total. Rakers was ranked fifth in the state in his weight class as of Wednesday of last week.
Rakers’ performance also helped the Bulldogs finish in fourth place out of 23 competing teams.
The top six teams in the 23-team field finished as follows: Chatham Glenwood (231), Cahokia (207.5), Carbondale (193.5), Highland (144), Althoff (142.5) and Murphysboro (139).
Highland also had eight other wrestlers place in the tournament.
Also finishing among the top-nine grapplers in their respective weight class for the Bulldogs were: Colton Brown, third place at 120 pounds; Jacob Mitchell, fourth place at 126; Carsten Brauns, fourth place at 152; Brody Kirsch, fourth place at 170; Brett Brown, seventh place at 195; Austin Hickam, eighth place at 145; Joe Gallo, ninth place at 106; and Devin Wills, ninth place at 138.
Highland splits triangle match
Last Thursday night at HHS, the Bulldogs split a triangle match after tying the East St. Louis Flyers up in knots, 60-19, and being nipped by the Althoff Crusaders, 42-40.
The biggest highlight again was Rakers scoring first-period pins over both of his opponents at 160 pounds. Rakers first smothered Monte Russell of East St. Louis in 67 seconds before going on to pin Althoff’s Zach Guerrero even faster at the 53-second mark.
Also winning both of their matches for Highland were Mitchell (126), Caleb Machuca (113) and Brett Brown (195).
Mitchell pinned Althoff’s Max Kristoff in 1:14 and was given a forfeit against East St. Louis.
Machuca and Brown received forfeits in both of their matches.
Gaining one victory for the Bulldogs were Gallo (106), Colton Brown (120), Devin Wills (138), Hickam (145), Carsten Brauns (152), Kirsch (170), Christian Zuccarelli (189), Dylan Knebel (220) and Colten Knebel (285).