SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County wrestling team had six wrestlers compete in the state tournament in Macon this past weekend.
Hunter Holton (48-11), Connor Nevin (34-28), Corbitt Parrish (41-13), Bryce Vanderhoek (34-14), Tyler Kesler (46-16) and Josh Kleckauskas (11-25) represented the Rebels.
“It was a tough weekend for us,” Effingham County head coach Nico Guggino said. “All but one went 1-2. We did not wrestle as well as I hoped but we did compete and got after it.
“Our guys realize what needs to be done to get on the podium next year and are ready to work toward it. I am always proud of these young men and feel privileged to be able to work with them.
“After talking to the guys on the bus, we are all excited about next year and ready to put the work in.”
Holton fought his way through an injury, putting the senior in an uncomfortable state throughout the tourney. Guggino said a medal can never replace the toughness and grit Holton displayed throughout the tournament.
“I am especially proud of our senior Hunter Holton,” Guggino said. “He sprained his ankle really bad last week at sectionals. He was in a boot the entire week before the state tournament.
“Even though his foot was black, blue and swollen, Hunter still tried to wrestle. Hunter went 1-2 with two close losses. Because Hunter was one of the top wrestlers in the state and worked extremely hard to get here, not being able to compete at a high level because of an injury is frustrating.
“Hunter is as tough as they come. He wrestled in obvious pain but never made excuses. Men like Hunter don’t come around very often and it was our privilege to coach him. Hunter left a legacy behind that is more powerful than any medal could compare to.”