High School Sports

Cahokia’s Bullock, five others earn title shots at IHSA State Wrestling Tournament

Here’s who is going to the state wrestling tournament

A look at Southern Illinois high school wrestlers with hopes at an IHSA State Championship.
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A look at Southern Illinois high school wrestlers with hopes at an IHSA State Championship.

Cahokia High School senior Jacob Bullock will get his second chance on Saturday at State Farm Center in Champaign.

Edged out a year ago, Bullock moved into the Class 2A 220-pound final for a second time Friday and was one of six metro east wrestlers who advanced into state championship matches with semifinal round wins.

After winning his first two matches by pin and techincal fall, Bullock barely broke a sweat as he pinned Josua Ferro of Burlington in 1 minute, 26 seconds as he raised his record to 33-0. Bullock will take on Apollo Gothard (44-2) of Lemont in the 220 pound final on Saturday night.

Joining Bullock in title matches will be Class 3A wrestlers Josh Koderhandt of Belleville West (113 pounds) and Noah Surtin (120) of Edwardsville and in Class 1A Anthony Federico (132) and Max Kristoff (145), both of Althoff and Alex MaGuire (152) of Roxana.

Wrestlebacks and third-through-sixth place matches will be held early Saturday at State Farm Center with the Grand March and championship bouts set for 6 p.m.

Seeded second in his weight class, Koderhandt improved to 44-2 for the season with a 6-2 win over Michael Leveille of Chicago Marist. He will look to become the Maroons’ fifth state champion and first since DeMechico Spraggins won the 138-pound crown in 2013 when he takes on Colton Drousias of Chicago Mount Carmel in the final.

Surtin (50-1), who became the Tigers’ first state champion a year ago when he won the 113-pound crown, now has a chance to become a two-time champion. The top-seed Surtin dominated in his 11-1 win over Dekalb freshman Danny Curran. He will take on Matt Ramos (33-4) of Lockport in the final.

Althoff has two finalists in Federico and Kristoff. Ranked in the top three in the 132-pound weight class for much of the season, but overlooked as a possible contender when the pre-tournament predictions were made earlier this week, Federico moved into the championship match with a thrilling 3-2 win over Dallas Krueger of Rockbridge. Now 47-3, Federico will take on highly touted and top-ranked Noah Villarreal (42-4) of Aurora Christian in his final.

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February 14, 2019 - Champaign, IL - Belleville West’s Josh Koderhandt wrestles Harlem’s Jevin Doke during their preliminary match at the Illinois High School Association opening day of state wrestling. (Photo: PhotoNews/Chris Johns) Chris Johns Chris Johns

Kristoff, the son of the only three time IHSA state champion in metro-east history, Kip Kristoff and grandson of former Olympian and Southern Illinois University coaching legend Larry Kristoff, continued to roll at the ‘19 state finals. Not pushed in his first two matches, Kristoff defeated Oliver Willis of Chicago Hope 10-5 in the 145-pound semifinal. Seeded second, Kristoff (45-4) will take on top-seed Nolan Throne (39-1) of Rockbridge in the final.

Roxana senior Alex Maguire defeated Wes Girardi of Deemack High School 8-6 and will take on top-seed Brody Ivy of Sterling Newman in the Class 1A 152-pound final.

While six metro east wrestlers advanced to championship matches on Friday, a few fell short of having the opportunity to compete on the final night of the year. Semifinal losers are assured of winning medals and could finish as high as third with two wrestleback wins.

Among the hard-luck losers was Althoff junior Matthew Minick, who dropped a 1-0 decision to top seed to Joel Mylin of Aurora Christian in a Class 1A 103-pound match. Teammate Joey Braunagel was pinned by Andrew Wenzel of Dakota in 1:34 of their 170-pound match.

Also in Class 2A, Civic Memorial sophomore Caleb Tyus dropped a 9-7 decision to Anthony Schickel of Oak Forest in a 120-pound match while younger brother, Caine Tyus, was soundly defeated by top-seed Dean Hamiti of Joliet Catholic in the 126 pound semifinals.

Jersey Community’s Zeke Waltz lost a tough 4-2 decision to undefeated and top-seed Leo Mushinsky of Peoria Notre Dame in a 152-pound match, while Mascoutah junior Caleb Grau lost to undefeated Alex Kramer of Grayslake 12-3 in his 170-pound semifinal.

Top-seed Jace Punke of Washington defeated Arnold Edwards of Cahokia 10-3 in a Class 2A 195 pound semifinal.

Dean Criddle has worked at the Belleville News-Democrat for 32 years as a sports writer. Dean graduated from SIUE with a double major in journalism and English, is married and lives in Belleville.