SYCAMORE — One match separated Rochelle 132-pounder Grant Thompson from earning his first-ever sectional berth during the IHSA 2A Sycamore Individual Regional on Saturday.
After falling in the semifinals, Thompson won his way into the third-place bout with a pin against Burlington Central’s Sayf Afeef. The junior squared off against Boylan Catholic’s Adam Monteleone for a spot in the sectional championships next weekend, and a 0-0 tie quickly disappeared as Thompson threw Monteleone down for a 51-second pin. Thompson (22-18) will be one of six Hubs going to the IHSA 2A Individual Sectional at Rochelle Township High School.
“It feels great since I wasn’t able to compete in the regional last season because of my concussion,” Thompson said. “I came into today’s meet thinking I was going to make it. After my loss, I knew that I would be done if I lost again, so I couldn’t let that happen. It’s another chance for me to make the state meet, and I’m hoping that I can make it.”
Thompson and sophomore Ethan Tooley (22-18) will both be representing the Hubs next weekend as first-time sectional qualifiers. Tooley took second place in the 145-pound bracket, earning a first-round bye before dominating Burlington Central’s Nathan Kim with an 11-0 major. Tooley was one of three Rochelle wrestlers to finish second in the regional tournament, joining 138-pounder Keegan Davis-Carter (28-9) and 182-pounder Ben Harvey (36-3).
“It feels really good, especially because I dropped out last season due to my weight,” Tooley said. “I was focused and ready to wrestle. I had faced that kid before, and I was able to finish him off. I’m really excited this season, and I’m hoping there’s a possibility for me to go to state.”
Sophomore Caleb Nadig (31-6) swept the 126-pound bracket to claim Rochelle’s only regional title on Saturday. Nadig polished off both Aurora Christian’s Adan Rocha and Sycamore’s Nicholas Lockhart with first-period pins to win the championship. Two Hubs placed third in the regional tournament including Thompson and 195-pounder Gavin Ansteth (24-10), who clinched his sectional spot with a pin in his conference rematch with Sycamore’s Jackson Funderburg.
Rochelle took third place out of eight teams with 129 points on Saturday. Three Hubs finished fourth including 170-pounder Bryan Garza (27-14), 152-pounder Zeke Horn (23-20) and 285-pounder Zack Capes (19-18). Senior Diego Escobar (10-9) earned one win in the 160-pound bracket, scoring two points for the Hubs.