Althoff advanced all seven of its wrestlers into the quarterfinals of the state wrestling tournament Thursday thanks to senior Danny Braunagel's 100th consecutive match win.
Braunagel, whose last loss came in the 145-pound state championship two years ago, defeated Martin Martinez, of Phoenix Military Academy in Chicago, by technical fall in 2 minutes, 44 seconds in his first-round 160-pound match. Now 51-0 this season, Braunagel is the top seed in his weight class after winning the 152-pound state crown a year ago.
But Danny Braunagel was just part of the story for Althoff, which had all seven of its wrestlers move a quarterfinal win away from clinching state medals in the tournament at State Farm Center in Champaign.
Twin brother Zac Braunagel, the 170-pound champion a year ago, also won by technical fall in his 182-pound match Thursday. Junior Max Kristoff (138 pounds) and sophomores Matthew Minick (106) and Anthony Federico (132) won by decision, while sophomore Isaiah Bernal (113) and Chase Bittle (126) won by pin.
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The state record holder in career pins with 143, Bittle is attempting to become just the second wrestler from the metro-east to win three individual state championships. Kip Kristoff won titles in 1982, 1983 and 1985 for Bethalto High School (now Civic Memorial).
While Althoff, went a perfect 7 for 7 on Thursday, city rival Belleville West also had a perfect day as freshman Josh Koderhandt, older brother Justin Korderhandt and Garrett Bass all moved within quarterfinal match away from winning a medal. Josh Koderhandt improved to 40-7 in the 106-pound weight class with a pin in 3:10 of Jordan Lee, of Wheeling.
Justin Koderhandt won by decision in his 132-pound match to improve to 41-8 for the season, while Bass pinned Nicky Amaro, of Hoffman Estates Conant, in 5:16 of their 138-pound match. Bass is now 29-8 for the season.
In Class 3A, it was a good day for the Edwardsville Tigers as both Noah Surtin (113) and Luke Odom (126) both breezed into the quarterfinals. Surtin got a win by technical fall in 4:32 over Austin Nash, of Gurnee Warren. Odom, a sophomore, scored an 11-2 win over Matt Templeton, of Libertyville. Both Surtin and Odom will carry 47-1 records into the quarterfinals.
O'Fallon senior Jack Bond improved to 41-3 with a 21-9 win over Collin Rosenburg, of Wheaton North, in the 170-pound weight class.
In Class 2A, Cahokia senior Martell Boone pinned Mateo Fortillo, of Chicago De La Salle, in 5:12 of their 152-pound first-round match and is one of four Comanches who advanced into the quarterfinals in Class 2A.
Boone, who placed sixth in the 145-pound weight class a year ago, improved to 36-1 for the season. The Comanches captain entered the state finals seeded second in the 152-pound weight class.
Jacob Bullock (220) and Rozell Baker (170) also moved into quarterfinal round matches by pinning their opponents, while sophomore Rodney Evans advanced by decision in the 132-pound class. Two other Comanches wrestlers, Marquis Wilson (120) and Arnold Edwards (182), lost in the opening round but could still compete in the wrestlebacks depending on the outcome of quarterfinals Friday morning.
Top seeded in the 106-pound weight class, East St. Louis senior Anthony King breezed into the quarterfinals with an easy first-round victory, while Mascoutah freshman Kylan Montgomery also won his first-round match in the 113-pound class.
Wrestling resumes with Class 1A quarterfinals and wrestlebacks beginning at 8:30 a.m. Friday. Class 2A and Class 3A will follow. Semifinals in all three classes begin at 7 p.m.