CHAMPAIGN -- For the first time in a month, the Mercer County wrestling team suffered a loss.|
Then the Golden Eagles went to work on starting another winning streak.
A 34-28 loss to Plano in the Champaign St. Thomas More New Year's Challenge semifinals at Huff Hall on Saturday afternoon ended the Golden Eagles' 13-dual winning streak. However, Mercer County ended the day with a 50-24 win over Shelbyville to take third in the 32-team tournament.
"For us, our goals are still intact," Mercer County coach Jeremy Finch said. "Just because we lost a dual doesn't mean those things go out the window."
Mercer County (17-2), ranked second in the Illinois Best Weekly Class 1A poll, entered the tournament with a goal of winning the title. A shoulder injury to Preston Adams on Friday forced the Golden Eagles to adjust their lineup, a situation that cost them a shot at their goal.
Plano earned six points because Mercer County forfeited at 120 pounds. Those six points decided the outcome.
Another factor was the Golden Eagles' inability to secure key bonus points. Three major decisions took away six points Finch thought the team could get.
"You have to give Plano credit," Finch said. "They wrestled smart."
The Reapers won the dual by getting a fall in the dual's final bout.
Mercer County started the day with wins over Chillicothe IVC (57-15) and Stanford Olympia (52-19). Ashton Klingaman (113/120 pounds), Tristen Finch (138), Zach Nelson (152) and Matt Weeks (170) each had four wins for the Golden Eagles.
"That tells you a lot about our team," Finch said. "We leave a weight open and are beating teams."
Monmouth-Roseville split two duals, beating Vandalia (42-38) before falling to Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley-Fisher (56-21). Rockridge lost to Oregon (51-28), and GCMSF handed Morrison a 57-18 loss.
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