STERLING — After losing his first match in the IWCOA Fresh-Soph Sectional on Sunday, Rochelle sophomore Ethan Albers needed three straight victories to clinch his spot in the state championships this coming weekend.
That’s exactly what the 182-pounder did.
Albers cruised through his first two consolation matches, winning by fall over DeKalb’s Preston Lewis in 35 seconds before pinning Kaneland’s Riley Orsch to reach the semifinals. Needing one more win to advance to the state championships, Albers defeated Rock Island’s David Marcelano by 10-6 decision to qualify for the third-place bout.
“I was really happy because it’s my first time ever going to state,” Albers said. “I kept my confidence after that tough first loss, and I think that’s what helped me get back to the consolation finals and earn a spot at the state championships. I’ve definitely improved my neutral game, and my coaches are helping me perfect my stuff as well.”
Albers fell against Rock Island’s Savage Waters in the consolation finals to finish fourth in his bracket at the sectional championships. The sophomore will represent Rochelle in the 23rd Annual IWCOA Fresh-Soph State Championships, which begin on Saturday, March 9 at the Back of Springfield Center.
Albers was one of two Hubs wrestling at the sectional tournament, competing alongside sophomore teammate Grant Thompson who went 0-2 over two bouts at 126 pounds.
“I’m going to have fun and I’m trying to place,” Albers said. “If I work hard and get some more cardio work in before the state championships, I think I’ll be able to do well and hopefully place there.”