Best finish for wrestlers since ’99

Bryan Veginski
Sparkling debut: In his first Mid-Illini Conference wrestling tournament Saturday, Morton freshman Jake Rudd, in black, won the championship in the 103-pound bracket. As a team, the Potter were third at Pekin’s Dawson Hawkins Gymnasium.

Although not quite what the Morton wrestling team desired, its third-place finish Saturday was notable.

The overall result for the 2009-10 Mid-Illini Conference season was the Potters’ best since its sixth championship 11 years ago.

Morton locked up third place with 125 points, good for third in the seven-team M-I tournament at Pekin’s Dawson Hawkins Gymnasium.

For the season, the boys totaled 11.5 points combining their 4-2 dual mark with the tournament outcome.

The Potters, who were fifth in the final rankings in ’08-09, were guided by three title-winning efforts.

Freshman Jake Rudd, junior Vince Hill and senior Brock Cody each earned first-team all-conference accolades after rising to the top.

Rudd secured a 15-4 major decision in the semifinals of 103 pounds against Travis Rice of Washington.

In the final bout, Rudd (21-3) pinned Tyler Vicary of Pekin in the second period.

Hill gave Morton championships in the two lightest weights with his showing in 112.

Hill (23-11) pinned Kyle Jepson of Limestone in just 52 seconds before a 14-2 major decision over Canton’s Bryce Vaughn.

Cody returned to the mats for the first time since December and opened with a pin at the 50-second mark against Pekin’s Austin Darm in the 189 bracket.

Another pin in the title match, this time in the third period, carried Cody (16-5) past Preston Butner of Metamora.

Morton senior Mitch Henson was second in 285 after splitting two matchups.

Jaren Glascock, a junior, was third in a loaded 125 division. Two wins on the day gave him 26 for the season.

Austin Walschaert, Zach Deaton, Brandon Stamm, Nick Gonzales and Dakota Klein all placed fourth for the Potters as the athletes accomplished their goal of having 10 placers.

Washington claimed the first conference wrestling title in school history. Defending champ Pekin was second.

The Panther and Dragons joined Ed Henderson-coached Morton with three individual crowns apiece.

Canton, Metamora, East Peoria and Limestone followed in fourth through seventh places, respectively.

Postseason: Morton participates Saturday in the nine-team Class 2A Washington Regional.

The field consists of the five M-I members in 2A, plus Peoria schools Notre Dame, Richwoods, Woodruff and Central.

Session I is set for 10 a.m. with Session II to follow at 2:30 p.m.

The top three individuals advance to the Feb. 12-13 Sterling Sectional.