The Murphysboro Red Devils qualified two wrestlers while Carterville, Anna-Jonesboro, Pinckneyville, West Frankfort and Sparta qualified one each at the Vandalia Class 1A sectional Saturday.

Murphysboro senior Sam Dietz (27-6) qualified for state for the third straight year after finishing second in the 132-weight class. Following a bye in the first round, Dietz pinned Zeth Stallings (33-11) from Lawrence with 13 seconds left in the second period. In the semifinals, Dietz beat Ren Dazey (40-3) from Oakwood by a 5-1 decision.

In the finals, Dietz lost to Anthony Frederico (37-6) from Belleville Althoff by a 5-3 decision.

“Sam had a very good semifinal win over the fourth ranked kid in his weight class and then in the finals he came up short,” said Murphysboro coach Shea Baker. “The final was a close match and after he took the lead with a minute left Sam was in on a couple shots but was unable to finish. He wrestled really well.”

Qualifying for Murphysboro for the second time is Ryan Chambers (29-4) in the 145-weight class. The senior started with a bye and advanced with a 9-2 decision over Tyler Thiessen (32-16) from Litchfield in the quarterfinals and an 8-4 decision over Michael Carpenter (30-11) from Cumberland in the semifinals.

Chambers lost to Alex Maguire (35-8) from Roxana in the finals by a 9-2 decision.

“Ryan got headlocked in the first period and we were losing 5-0 right out of the gate and he was unable to climb back,” Baker said.

Anna-Jonesboro senior Arieh Hart (36-2) won his first sectional title in the 152-weight class after winning his fourth regional title last week and advance to the state tournament for the second straight year.

“I had never won a sectional title in my career, even in middle school, so that was the goal,” Hart said. “I just stayed focused and now two down and one to go.”

Hart opened with a bye and beat Joe Braunagel (32-15) from Belleville Althoff by an 18-10 major decision. He made quick work of Jack Spence (26-19) from Monticello in the semifinals with a pin in 44 seconds and kept his dominating performance going by beating J.D. Sexton (37-8) from St. Thomas More by a 13-3 major decision.

“I just went out there and dominated, taking it one period at a time,” Hart said.

Pinckneyville senior Jeremy Opp (38-2) punched his ticket to state for the first time by winning the 195-weight class with a 3-2 decision over Nathan Husmann (27-6) of Carlyle.

“Jeremy got second at regionals and snuck into first place at sectionals,” said Pinckneyville coach Garrett Huggins. “He’s made a lot of good goals at the first of the season and he’s catching every one of them.

Opp opened with an 8-6 decision over Roxana’s Blake Harkey (20-21) in the first round and followed with a pin at 3:32 of Cade Scott (32-14) of Unity and a 4-3 decision over Dalton Farrar (34-7) of Mt. Carmel in the semifinals.

West Frankfort sophomore Connor Eaton (37-5) won his first sectional title in the 170-weight class by a 12-4 major decision over Ryan Johnson (35-7) of Mt. Carmel to advance to the state finals for the second year.

“He’s had a wonderful year and is peaking at the right time,” said West Frankfort coach Rick Arrington. “He’s a gamer I like to say because he always shows up.”

After a bye Eaton swept through the quarterfinals with a 7-1 decision over Coltin Scott (20-15) of Cumberland and by a pin at 1:08 over Blake Uehling (37-9) of Litchfield.

“Nobody scored a point on him all day,” Arrington said. “Every point scored on him was from him letting the guy back up. He controlled every match and was never in any danger. In the semifinals he had a beautiful lat drop, which is a move we’ve worked on, but hadn’t seen him use in a match until today.”

Sparta senior Clayton Sheldon (38-3) advanced to state for the third year in a row with a second place finish in the 220-weight class. After a bye Sheldon pinned Clayton Stock (19-10) of Waltham at 3:15 and followed with a 5-3 decision over Logan Wilson (18-3) of Unity in the semifinals. Cody Miller (45-1) of Bismarck-Henning beat him in the finals by a 4-1 decision.

“Miller was the runner-up at state last year and Clayton has now seen how he wrestles and we’re hoping we’ll have a rematch for the state championship next week,” said Sparta coach Rob Kirk. “This is his third year at state. His sophomore year the butterflies got to him and last year he got his first win at state, so we’re getting him ready to hopefully make the finals.”

Carterville senior Lucas Sarver (25-3) advanced to state for the first time with a second place finish in the 285-weight class losing the championship match to Anthony Enlow (39-4) from Vandalia by a pin at 2:23.

“I went into the sectional expecting the unexpected, so as to be ready for anything they could do to me,” Sarver said. “When I started beating wrestlers that were supposed to beat me I began to realize that this was going to be my year. Physically I’m where I need to be at this time of year.”

After a bye, Sarver won a 3-1 decision over Nolan Tewell (39-7) from Lawrenceville and advanced to the finals after a 5-3 decision in double overtime over Benton Freeseman (33-14) from Monticello.


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