Matt Kerr takes regional crown

Six Monticello High School wrestlers advanced to the IHSA sectional round of action after finishing in the top three at the Robinson regional over the weekend.

Action included a standout performance by Matt Kerr (41-3), who defeated Unity’s defending state champion Micah Downs by a slim 3-2 decision to take the 182 lb. title.

Also advancing to sectional due to their regional performances were Caleb O’Linc (3rd at 113 lbs.), Jacob Trent (2nd at 126 lbs.), Austin McConaha (2nd, 132 lbs.), Ethan O’Linc (3rd, 138 lbs.), and Kaleb Reid (3rd, 152 lbs.)

All six compete this weekend in the Vandalia sectional with a chance to advance to the IHSA Individual State Finals Feb. 20-22 at the State Farm Center in Champaign.

Sectionals will bring an entirely new level of competition. We are narrowing down the competition to get the best to state. All matches will be challenging and nerves will play a role in the outcomes. I feel as if we have an opportunity to get a few state qualifiers,” said MHS coach Andy Moore.

I feel pretty good about the regional performance,” he added. “ Individual performances have a bittersweet feeling to them as some wrestlers will end their seasons, others will end their careers, and others may find unexpected success. We had a couple pleasant surprises as well as a couple heartbreaking endings. As a team we could see the writing on the wall for the team race so we focused on trying to extend individuals season.”

Unity dominated the team score with 253 points and will advance to the team sectional. Finishing second was Mt. Carmel with 182.5 points, with the Sages totaling 147 points, good enough for third place. Rounding out the scoring were Toledo Cumberland, 134.5; Robinson, 130, Richland County, 107.5; Lawrenceville, 80; Fairfield, 68; Shelbyville, 67.5; Effingham, 47; and Carmi-White County, 31.

Moore said his team has been getting ready for this point all season, and will continue preparing this week for the remainder of the post-season.

We will continue to work on conditioning and fine tuning some techniques this week. We will also spend some time reviewing matches that could be repeats from regionals,” he said.

Other Sage notes from regional action:

Caleb O’Linc (14-7 on the year) lost his quarterfinal match to Unity’s Tavius Hosley, but responded with three straight pins to take third place and advance out of regional.

Austin McConaha (37-10) won two matches by fall (pin) before losing a close 4-2 decision to Dayton Hall of Mt. Carmel in the championship.

Ethan O’Linc (32-9) also wrestled back after losing a 10-9 decision in the semi’s, winning two matches by fall to capture third place.

Kaleb Reid (20-18) did the same, taking a loss in the semifinals before registering back-to-back pins and finishing third.

Matt Kerr cruised to the finals with a pair of pins before his upset victory over Downs in the finals.