Herald Staff Report
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — West Carroll senior Jacob Klein said just qualifying for the Class 1A state wrestling with teammate Zach Hartman made his trip to Champaign successful no matter the outcome.
Perhaps that attitude has been responsible for Klein's success. Klein defeated Garrett Kelson of Stanford Olympia on Friday to advance to the semifinals at 182 pounds. Reaching the semifinals guaranteed Klein would be place.
He lost 12-4 to top-ranked and undefeated Logan Staver in the semifinals, placing Klein in the semifinal wrestlebacks. Klein will face either Byron's Nick Elsbury or Riverdale's Terry White. White defeated Klein twice at the Oregon Sectional meet last week, but Klein said he would be ready if they met again.
Hartman lost his quarterfinal 11-5, but rebounded with a pin in 58 seconds in the consolation first round. Hartman faces Andy Abitua of Stillman Valley this morning with the winner getting a place on the podium and a top-six place. Hartman beat Abitua 11-7 last weekend at the Oregon Sectional.
Erie/Prophetstown senior Brandon McCullough had a day similar to Hartman's. He was pinned by top-ranked and undefeated Cody Minnick of Coal City, but bounced back to win his consolation first round match by major decision.
"He needs to try to keep in mind that he's one of the best kids down here," Panthers coach Tod McCullough said. "He lost to the No. 2 kid last week and now the No. 1 kid. He stayed focused and re-grouped."
McCullough meets Hunter Spengler of Sherrard with the winner getting on the medal stand. McCullough beat Spengler three out of the four times they've wrestled this year.
"His confidence level is way up there," coach McCullough said of Brandon, his son. "If he wrestles smart and is aggressive, he'll be fine."