High School Sports

A year after a bitter disappointment, Cahokia’s Jacob Bullock wins a state title

2019 State Wrestling - Medium

A look back at the IHSA State Wrestling Meet and the Southern Illinois athletes who competed
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A look back at the IHSA State Wrestling Meet and the Southern Illinois athletes who competed

In 33 matches heading into the Class 2A 220-pound state final on Saturday, Cahokia Comanches senior Jacob Bullock had not lost one match or been taken down a single time.

Those records are still safe, which means he’s finally earned that elusive state title.

Looking to put the painful memory of a loss in the 220-pound final behind, Bullock made a second period escape stand up as he defeated Apollo Gothard of Lemont 1-0 in the title match at State Farm Arena.

A sophomore, Gothard controlled the pace of the match, keeping it close and hoping that Bullock would make a mistake. It never happened.

“I’ve wrestled guys like him before. It was a good game plan and it certainly didn’t surprise me,’’ Bullock said. “But after what happened last year, I was determined to win the state championship this season.

“What does it mean to me? I’ve worked four years for this moment, this night. It means the world.’’

While Bullock came out on top, two local Class 3A wrestlers fell short of a state championship.

Belleville West sophomore Josh Koderhandt, looking to become the Maroons first state champion since 2013, fell to Colton Drousias of Chicago Mount Carmel 8-4 in the Class 3A 113-pound final, while Edwardsville senior Noah Surtin lost in the 120-pound final.

Surtin, a University of Missouri recruit who won the Class 3A 113-pound title a year ago, dropped an 8-4 decision to Matt Ramos of Lockport.

Koderhandt, who fell just short of earning a medal a year ago, jumped out to a 2-0 lead and trailed only 3-2 before Drousias put the Maroons standout on his back for a 3-point near fall late in the second period.

“We knew he (Drousias) was good with his legs and we didn’t want to get locked up,’’ Maroons coach Joe Rujawitz said. “But I’m so proud of what Josh accomplished this year and this weekend. He had a great tournament and season.’’

Belleville West’s Josh Koderhandt wrestles Mt. Carmel’s Colton Drousias during their 113-pound championship match at the Illinois High School Association Individual Wrestling State Finals. (Photo: PhotoNews/Chris Johns) Chris Johns PhotoNews

Surtin, who edged Ramos 11-10 in the final of the Joliet Central Sectional, a week ago, couldn’t repeat the performance as he fell short in the battle of elite wrestlers.

But there is no doubt that Surtin’s impact in Edwardsville wrestling won’t ever be forgotten. Ranked first in the 120-pound class all year, Surtin ends his season a 50-2 record.

Several other metro east area Class 2A and Class 3A wrestlers also left State Farm Arena with a medal.

Edwardsville heavyweight Lloyd Reynolds was the third Class 3A placewinner, finishing sixth in the 285-pound weight class.

Other wrestlers nabbing medals in Class 2A included Chase Hall of Triad who was fifth in the 106 pound class and teammate Garrett Bakarich who was fifth at 145. Mascoutah also had a pair of medal winners, Kylan Montgomery who was fouth at 126 and Caleb Grau who placed fifth in the 170 pound class

Civic Memorial’s brothers duo of Caleb Tyus (3rd at 120) and Caine Tyus (sixth at 126), while Zeke Waltz of Jersey Community was fifth in the 152 pound weight class.

Cahokia’s Arnold Edwards placed third in the 195 pound class.

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.