MAHOMET — Ben Harvey’s spectacular sophomore wrestling season continued at Mahomet-Seymour’s Marty Williams Invitational on Monday, when the Hub standout won all five of his matches, four of them by fall, to claim his first-ever tournament title in the 182-pound weight division.
“It was an awesome experience,” Harvey said. “It was my first varsity tournament win in my high school career and I’m very glad that I had the chance to see some good competition. My big thing was just wrestling my match.”
Harvey (34-1 and No. 4 in Class 2A by the IWCOA) scored a team-high 46 points for the Hubs, who placed 12th out of 22 teams at the event. The sophomore cruised through the opening rounds, winning by fall against Metamora’s Brendan Patterson in 1:21 and LaSalle-Peru’s Nick Krolak in 26 seconds.
Harvey remained solid against tougher opponents during the later rounds of wrestling, winning by fall over Normal West’s Jacob Fuss in 2:46 and Naperville Central’s Cameron Palmer in 3:19 to secure his place in the 182-pound division finals. Harvey faced Riverton’s Grant Ripperda (No. 8 in Class 2A) for the title, going ahead 2-1 after the first period before earning two takedowns and two escapes over the final two periods to win by 8-1 decision.
“I wrestled how I knew I could, and I put myself in positions to excel in throughout the tournament,” Harvey said.
With one dual match against Princeton and two guaranteed tournaments (Northern Illinois Big 12 Championships and the IHSA Rochelle Regional) on the horizon, Harvey has several opportunities to add more wins to his resume. The sophomore hasn’t lost since facing Freeport’s Major Dedmond at the Rockford East Giardini Invitational on Dec. 1.
“Everything the team and I have done up to this point is to prepare for the state series stretch,” Harvey said. “I think it’s really time to turn it up and start focusing on improving our stamina and perfecting the small things.”
Junior Keegan Davis-Carter took fourth place at 132 pounds in the Marty Williams Invitational. Davis-Carter won over Danville’s Tyreese Smith by 13-6 decision before losing by fall against Lincoln’s Austin O’Donoghue. Davis-Carter rebounded with a 9-4 decision over Metamora’s Logan Fitz before falling by 4-0 decision to Mattoon’s Jeremiah Jones in the third-place bout.
Junior Gavin Ansteth also finished fourth, wrestling at 195 pounds. Ansteth pinned Decatur Eisenhower’s Austin Tull and Champaign Centennial’s Lance Russell before losing by fall to Byron’s Colton Ingram. Ansteth won by injury default over Lincoln’s Alex Bogdanic before dropping a close match to Richland County’s Kyle Dowty by 9-7 decision.
Senior Eddie Villalobos placed fifth at 138 pounds, picking up a 12-7 decision over Mahomet-Seymour’s Chance Decker before losing by fall to Naperville Central’s Kyle Guttosch and dropping a match by 5-2 decision against Heyworth’s Andrew Sims. Villalobos won by fall over Normal West’s Dustin Miller for fifth place.
Junior Bryan Garza also took fifth place, grappling at 170 pounds. Garza earned a 1-0 decision over Judah Christian’s Grant Albaugh before falling by 13-1 major decision against Champaign Centennial’s Dontaice Roberson. Garza lost by fall to Mahomet-Seymour’s Wyatt Heimann before pinning Riverton’s Ian Hofferkamp for fifth place.
Junior Zeke Horn took 10th place at 160 pounds, winning by 9-5 decision against Mahomet-Seymour’s Tyler Kittivanichkulkrai and picking up an injury forfeit over Mattoon’s Gavin Jones. Junior Zack Capes finished 11th at 285 pounds, defeating Judah Christian’s Michael Jancola by fall and earning an injury default over Heyworth’s Joe Lauterburg.
Senior Pedro Lopez placed 12th at 220 pounds, earning one pin against Carbondale’s Jackson Grant. Senior Jake Fore took 12th place at 152 pounds, with Noah Messer finishing 15th and sophomore Ivan Pineda (106) and freshman Osiris Lenker (145) taking 16th. Sophomore Grant Thompson placed 17th at 126 pounds.