Althoff senior Chase Bittle will wrestle for a state championship for the fourth straight year and brothers Zac Braunagel and Danny Braunagel will attempt to win consecutive state championships as the Crusaders advanced three athletes into the finals Friday at the IHSA State Wrestling Tournament at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
Bittle, a two-time state champion, advanced with a 4-2 win over Ezra Elliott, of Hoopston, in the 126-pound semifinal and is one of seven area wrestlers who earned the right to advance into their weight class finals Saturday.
Danny Braunagel, who won the 152-pound state championship a year ago, won his 160-pound semifinal by technical fall and will take a record of 53-0 into the final. Danny Braunagel has now won 102 straight matches. Twin brother Zac Braunagel also advanced with a win by technical fall and will wrestle for the 182-pound state crown.
Zac Braunagel won the 170-pound state championship.
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In Class 2A, Cahokia, led by senior Martell Boone, matched Althoff and will have three wrestlers in the finals.
Boone, who was sixth in the 145-pound class a year ago, advanced to the state championship match with a win in the 152-pound semifinals. Teammates Rozell Baker (170) and Jacob Bullock (220) will also wrestle in state championship bouts.
Edwardsville junior Noah Surtin will attempt to become the first state champion from Edwardsville High School after winning his Class 3A 113-pound semifinal Friday.
Luke Odom, of Edwardsville, lost his 126-pound semifinal while Jack Bond, of O'Fallon, lost in the Class 3A 170-pound semifinal. Both Bond and Odom, as well as several other wrestlers from the metro-east, will compete in wrestlebacks Saturday morning and could place as high as third in respective weight classes
While nine local wrestlers wrapped up medals by reaching the semifinals in their respective weight classes, quarterfinal round losers and those who won preliminary round wrestlebacks early Friday could still finish as high as third should they advance into the place matches Saturday afternoon at the State Farm Center.
Wrestlebacks will continue Saturday. Third and fifth place matches begin at 1 p.m., with the Grand March of finalists set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Championship matches in all three classes begin at 6 p.m.