Fresh off a thrilling first round win in a battle of two of the nation’s top 152-pound wrestlers, there was no letdown for Belleville West senior Nick Foster on Friday at the IHSA State Wrestling Championships.
The top-ranked Class 3A 152-pound wrestler in the state, Foster defeated Tuiga Zouboyghan of Rolling Meadows 5-1 in the quarterfinals as he clinched his third straight medal winning performance at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
Foster, who earned medals in the 145-pound division the past two years, was one of nine metro east wrestlers winning quarterfinal round matches and thus earning state medals during the first session of action at the ‘16 state finals.
The semifinals are scheduled for later on Friday with the finals set to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday at the State Farm Center.
While Foster was the lone Class 3A area wrestler to advance, eight others — four in both Class 1A and 2A — advanced into Friday night’s semifinals.
In Class 1A quarterfinals
Freeburg senior Cooper Secker clinched the first state wrestling medal in school history by winning his quarterfinal match at 126 pounds.
Althoff’s Chase Bittle moved closer to a second straight walk in the Grand March by scoring an easy 120-pound quarterfinal win. Bittle was second in the 113 pound class a year ago.
Also for Althoff, the dream of all three Braunagel brothers into the finals ended when Zach Braunagel dropped a 170-pound match, but twin brother Danny Braunagel (145) and older brother Jarrid Braunagel (!38) clinched medals.
For Jarrid Braunagel the quarterfinal win clinches a fourth straight state wrestling tournament medal.
Rakers clinches fourth straight medal for Highland
Highland junior Trent Rakers remained undefeated in the Class 2A 160-pound bracket as he moved a semifinal win away from a berth in the state title match. The win also means that a Highland wrestler has earned a medal in the last four state tournaments.
Nick Czar was second in the 285-pound class a year ago after Tanner Farmer won back to-back 285-pound titles the previous two years.
Perennial Class 2A state power Triad advanced Cole Witzig (170), John McKinney (195) and Merik Fulton (132) all advanced.
Down but not out
Zach Braunagel of Althoff was among several local wrestlers losing quarterfinal matches. Quarterfinal losers need to win two wrestleback matches to earn state medals.
In addition to Zach Braunagel falling, the other Class 1A athlete dropping a a match was Will Monroe of Sparta. (285).
Chris Prosser of Edwardsville lost at Class 3A 170-pound quarterfinal, while in Class 2A, Austin Stewart of Waterloo (152), Chris Tucker (113) and Tyler Dunn (126) of East St. Louis (126) and Martell Boone (145) and Antione Johnson (120) of Cahokia also fell.