‘We made history!’

The Spartan wrestling team ended its season placing second in the state finals as a team. There were ten state qualifiers, including senior Ben Henson, sophomore John Wood, senior Terrel Wilbourn, senior Justin Dickey, senior Andy King, senior Luke Knoche, senior Matt Green, senior Wyatt Miller, junior Cole Anderson and senior Brian Paur. Although not all of the ten placed, seven of the ten did.

Those seven were Wilbourn, who placed first in the 140-pound weight class; Henson, who placed second in the 119-pound weight class; Greene, who placed third in the 172-pound weight class; Wood, who placed fourth in the 135-pound weight class; King, who placed fourth in the 152-pound weight class; Knoche, who placed fourth in the 160-pound weight; and Miller, who placed fifth in the 189-pound weight class.

“We made history!” said Coach Steve Cross. “We placed second at state, and we have never done that well before.”

While the team’s finish may have been the best in school history, according to King, the team’s loss against St. Charles West was the lowest point for the Spartans.

“Our most difficult match was definitly the one against St. Charles West,” said King. “We had been undefeated for so long that it was a let down.”

According to Coach Cross, the team had been undefeated for the past six years.

“Some wrestlers weren’t coming to practices, and they lacked discipline,” said Coach Cross. “After that, they came together to finish strong.”

Practices are one of the most important aspects of wrestling, according to Coach Cross. With year-round training and little league programs to prepare the wrestlers, Coach Cross was optimistic about the season. Not only do the wrestlers have a past in wrestling, but some see a future in the sport as well. Both King and Wilbourn want to wrestle in the future.

“I am going to the Olympic training center and continuing my [career in] wrestling,” said Wilbourn.

Wilbourn was the only wrestler to place first at the state level in his individual weight class this year. This was his third state title, but this title had its physical struggles. Wilbourn has had a knee injury for the past year, and according to Coach Cross, he had to miss half of his matches and almost lost the state title because of it.

“At finals, it was one of the most painful experiences ever,” said Wilbourn. “All I had to do was look at the kid while I was hurt on the ground, something clicked. I really didn’t want him to win. I pushed myself to win.”

According to Coach Cross, this drive is what brought them to second place. This year, the team was mostly seniors and experienced wrestlers, but next year the scene will be a little different, he says.

“We will have to evaluate who is coming back and who will be new,” said Coach Cross. “It really depends on how much off-training we get done.”