SPRINGFIELD — Alex Harvey began thinking about the end of his high school wrestling career when Rochelle battled at the IHSA State Dual Championships this past month.
Lacing up the same wrestling shoes once worn by his father, Hubs head coach Rich Harvey, Alex and his Rochelle teammates worked their way to fourth place in this year’s state dual championships. But the story wasn’t over for Harvey (47-2 at 195 pounds), and the senior standout had one more opportunity to write the final chapter of his high school career at the 25th Annual IWCOA Illinois vs. Indiana Classic Duals this past weekend.
Harvey was one of two wrestlers to represent Illinois at 195 pounds, joining Downers Grove South’s Sergio Villalobos. Harvey suited up for Team Reagan and faced Sam Hansen, who took second place at 195 pounds in Indiana. But Harvey was simply too much for the Indiana wrestler, and the Hub grappler won by 8-2 decision.
“That win was really exciting and I was glad I could pull through,” Harvey said. “Everybody was so tough there and that kid was really solid… Being part of the team and helping the team win was really cool because a lot of us have been around each other for quite a while so we know each other well. Winning over another state was a really cool experience.”
Illinois outscored Indiana 68-59 over two duals this past weekend, which served as the 25th installment of the IWCOA Classic Duals competition. Many standouts from Class 2A fought alongside Harvey with Team Reagan including Ottawa’s Ethan Harsted, Cahokia’s Rozell Baker and Morris’ Cody Baldridge. Team Reagan outscored Indiana’s Team Red 34-30, and Team Lincoln outscored Indiana’s Team Blue 34-29.
“It was an experience unlike any other,” Harvey said. “Being around so many other successful kids and being recognized as one of the top athletes in Illinois was a really cool experience. Getting to wrestle kids from another state who also did really well is a really cool thing.”
The All-Star event polishes off Harvey’s highly accomplished high school wrestling career at Rochelle, where the senior scored well over 100 individual victories as well as two state finals appearances and a runner-up finish this season. Harvey won both regional and sectional titles this winter, and he tied teammate Eddie Villalobos for the most wins in a season by any Hub wrestler ever.
“I was reflecting on my high school career during my last match at dual state,” Harvey said. “I was with a lot of my teammates for four years and that was a great experience to end my high school career on. The All-Star duals were really the icing on the cake.”
Harvey will be studying biomedical engineering and playing football at Washington University in St. Louis after graduating Rochelle Township High School this spring. An Academic All-State honoree this school year, Harvey said he’s ready to close the book on high school wrestling and start writing his next chapter at college.
“I don’t really think about the wins or the successes, but more about the people who I shared that with,” Harvey said. “I think about all of the wrestlers in the mat room this year all the way back to the seniors when I was a freshman. The relationships we formed brought us closer together.”