CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Rock Island senior Alex Andrews could not hide his disappointment.
The championship matches were a few hours from starting at the Illinois state wrestling tournament, but Andrews was already home in Rock Island.
Andrews lost in the consolation quarterfinals Saturday morning, 9-7 to Christian Nussbaum of Naperville Central, ending his first and only appearance at state.
“I am very disappointed,” Andrews said by phone. “I wanted to place. It was just that you work really hard for that time.”
Andrews, who was the only Quad-City wrestler to make it to state in Class 3A, said he found the whole experience nerve-wracking. A year ago, he fell one win short of qualifying for state.
Andrews (42-6) finished 2-2 under the bright lights of the State Farm Center, which can be intimidating, if not confusing, for a first-time visitor.
“There was a little iffy calls on the ref’s part and some bad timing on my part is what happened,” he said.
Andrews, who was also a stellar defensive lineman on Rock Island’s Class 6A quarterfinal football team, agreed he’s had a great senior year, but it was clear he wanted much more.
“My big thing is if I would have had one more year, I would have easily placed,” he said. “It was a new experience, a lot of nerves, a lot of mistakes because it was the first time going out there.”
Orion junior 145-pounder James Schnerre placed third in Class 1A with a 9-0 victory over freshman Daniel Jezik of Coal City, saluting the Orion fans after his triumph.
Still, Schnerre (44-6) also felt he could have fared better overall. He lost to Kewanee's Lewis Robinson 6-5 in the semifinals Friday night, a wrestler he had beaten twice before.
“Once I was wrestling in the place matches, I was able to be myself,” Schnerre said. “I did not quite wrestle my best against Robinson."
Orion coach Dan Diamond certainly thought he saw Schnerre’s best in the junior’s finale Saturday afternoon.
Having two wrestlers place in the top three at state was an excellent way to cap off quite a season for the Chargers. Logan Lee, just a sophomore, was set to wrestler for the 220-pound title later Saturday.
“I am very pleased,” Diamond said. “It’s good to see the kids get something for all the hard work.”
Erie-Prophetstown junior Garrett Passmore (38-6) finished in Class 1A with a pin at 1 minute, 33 seconds at 160 pounds.
Finishing fifth in Class 2A was Geneseo’s Sam Thomas at 285. It was the senior’s last match as he will play football only at Indiana State next year.
“It felt pretty nice,” said Thomas, who won with a first-period pin, giving him a 38-6 record. “I was here last year. I was really comfortable, and I think that’s what helped.
“It’s awesome to end my career with a victory at the State Farm Center.”
Finishing fourth in Class 1A at 126 was Mercer County junior Stone Engle (42-4).
The area’s other Class A fifth-place finisher was Sherrard senior Tyler Rolling (45-7) at 170.
Finishing sixth was Rockridge freshman Dallas Krueger (35-12) at 113 and Morrison senior Dylan Keller (38-7) at 160.