STERLING — Winning an IWCOA Fresh-Soph Sectional on Sunday meant RTHS sophomore Caleb Nadig needed to beat an opponent who won over him during the IHSA season.
After defeating Jerrill Hill from Rock Falls in his first 132-pound bout, Nadig advanced to face Sterling’s Drew Kested in the semifinal round. Kested and Nadig battled during Rochelle’s dual meet against Sterling earlier this year, with Kested edging Nadig 5-3 in overtime.
This time, Nadig was able to outlast Kested, winning 3-1 to reach the championship round, where he took down Stockton’s Griffin Luke 6-3 to finish the tournament 3-0 and win the sectional crown. Nadig will represent Rochelle in the IWCOA Fresh-Soph State Championships at the Bank of Springfield Center next Saturday and Sunday. He’ll seek to become Rochelle’s first fresh-soph state champion since Eddie Villalobos won a title in 2016.
“I didn’t feel good after losing the regional, and it felt good to get another chance to go out there and compete my hardest,” said Nadig, who took second at the IWCOA Fresh-Soph Regional in Rochelle. “I felt that when I wrestled [Kested] the last time, I let myself get tired mentally and I made simple mistakes. This time, I was attacking the whole match and I was going for more things. I wrestled him hard the entire time.”
Nadig was one of three RTHS wrestlers competing in Sunday’s sectional tournaments, which included a fresh-soph event and a girls event. Sophomore Ethan Tooley dropped a pair of tough matches in the 145-pound bracket, losing a 9-7 tiebreaker against Rock Island’s Doniere McNeal in the semifinals before conceding 4-2 decision to Oregon’s Gabe Eckerd.
Freshman Josey Weber was the lone RTHS wrestler participating in the girls sectional, going 1-2 over three matches. Weber opened the 113-pound bracket with a loss against Somonauk’s Shea Reisel, but bounced back with a pin over Batavia’s Maia DeGuzman in her first wrestleback. Weber’s tournament ended with a defeat against Schaumburg’s Chichi Mweetwa.