Brock Wood didn’t know whether he’d ever get his shot again.
The Richmond-Burton wrestler and football player broke his left thumb at the end of the Rockets’ football season in November and wondered if he would get a chance to wrestle ever again, let alone try to defend his state title.
Wood battled through the most adversity he’s faced in a long time, winning individual regional and sectional titles, giving himself a chance to defend his state title.
“I knew that I was going to work really hard for it, so as much as doubt was in my mind, there was also that thought in my mind that I’m going to work extremely hard for this. I want this second state title,” Wood said.
The senior won the 220-pound Class 1A title at the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association’s State Tournament last season, which served as a high school state tournament because the IHSA did not hold one because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In all, 39 McHenry-county area wrestlers will compete at the state tournament set to start Thursday at State Farm Center in Champaign and last until Saturday. Richmond-Burton’s young stars Emmett Nelson and Clay Madula will join Brock at the tournament.
The inaugural girls wrestling state finals will take place the following weekend, Feb. 25 and 26, at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington.
In Wood’s title-repeat quest, the senior isn’t treating anything different.
Wood is going to take in his last week of wrestling and everything that comes along with competing at the state tournament in Champaign, but he won’t change what has worked for him in the past as he tries to end his career on top.
“I’m not going into it with a different mindset,” Wood said. “If you’re not ready to wrestle, there’s a good chance you’re going to get beat. So my mindset is to wrestle like everyone is going to beat me.”
McHenry’s Chris Moore will try to win another state title after winning the IHSA Class 2A title at 113 pounds his freshman season and finishing second at 138 in Class 2A at last season’s IWCOA meet. Moore is 46-0 this season and owns the career takedown record – all in one season – and is tied for the school wins record with Phil Match from 1989.
Warriors senior Brody Hallin will have one last chance to win a state title of his own. Hallin was a state qualifier his freshman and sophomore season at 138 and 152, respectively, while finishing fourth at IWCOA at 152.
Marian Central’s Charlie Fitzgerald, Jacobs’ Dominic Ducato and James Wright and Harvard’s Nathan Rosas will join Hallin in his quest of another top-ranked local wrestler vying for a state title.
Third-ranked ranked Fitzgerald (120) finished fifth last season at 113, while Ducato, ranked No. 4 at 106, finished fourth at last season’s IWCOA tournament. No. 5-ranked Wright at 126 has been a state qualifier the past two seasons and Rosas, ranked fourth, finished fifth at state the past two years.
Crystal Lake South’s Josh Glover has been waiting for this moment since he finished as the state runner-up at 106 during his freshman season. Now a senior, Glover is ready to come back to the state tournament and win a championship.
The Gator missed his chance at a state title during his sophomore season because of injury and finished third at 106 at IWCOA.
“I’d like to redeem myself,” Glover said. “I missed my sophomore year coming off being a state-runner up, so I just want to redeem myself, show everybody how good I am.”
Fellow Gator Shane Moran will try for his first championship. The No. 2-ranked wrestler at 182 in Class 2A has worked for this moment his entire wrestling career, and now the senior is ready to see all of his hard work pay off.
“I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” Moran said. “I’ve been working my butt off for pretty much ever since I started wrestling. I’ve always wanted a state title and I’ve been working hard these last four years.”
Local IHSA state qualifiers
Harvard: Brian Hernandez (106), Bailey Livdahl (160), Ivan Rosas (145), Nathan Rosas (195)
Johnsburg: Logan Kirk (152)
Marian Central: Kaden Harman (113), Charlie Fitzgerald (120), Vance Williams (132)
Richmond-Burton: Clay Madula (106), Emmett Nelson (113), Brock Wood (220)
Burlington Central: Nathan Kim (170)
Cary-Grove: Rannin Gruen (126), Wade Abrams (195)
Crystal Lake Central: Payton Ramsey (106), Connor Lezama (152), Dillon Carlson (160), Ben Butler (170), Jon Barrick (195)
Crystal Lake South: Josh Glover (113), Shane Moran (182), Andy Burburija (285)
Prairie Ridge: Tyler Evans (120), Mikey Meade (126), Eddie Ferree (160)
Woodstock: Caleb Sciame (120), Sean Ryan (195), Gavin Loiselle (220)
Hampshire: Dimitri Skoulikaris (170)
Huntley: Sam Henkle (132), Ryder Hunkins (182), Markos Miholopoulos (285)
Jacobs: Dominic Ducato (106 pounds), James Wright (126), Joey Scrivani (170)
McHenry: Ruben Melgarejo (152), Chris Moore (160), Brody Hallin (170), Pedro Jimenez (126)
Source: The Daily Chronicle