MASCOUTAH — Marion's Michael Cantrell is going back to the IHSA's state wrestling finals.
After qualifying for the Class 2A state tournament in the 152-pound bracket as a sophomore, Cantrell placed fourth in the 195-pound bracket at the Mascoutah Sectional over the weekend to earn a chance to compete again in Champaign at his new junior weight.
Cantrell (31-10) pinned Rochester's Nicholas Capriotti in the quarterfinals Friday in just 1:37, but then lost a major decision (8-0) to Bethalto Civic Memorial's Brandon Carpenter in Saturday's semifinals. Cantrell became Marion's lone survivor of the six sectional qualifiers to make the finals when he beat Olney's Kyle Beasley, 7-2, in the consolation semifinals.
In the third-place match, Cantrell lost 4-2 to Chatham Glenwood's Hunter Crumly. Under the old IHSA rules, Cantrell's season would be over, but now the top four from sectionals advance to state.
The season did end for Marion's five other regional advancers. It ended soonest for D.J. Waddy, who had a medical issue and could not participate.
Gaige Owens, a 106-pound freshman, won his way into the quarfinals but lost there, then won a consolation bracket match but lost in the next round. Rohan Cook, a junior at 152, also won his first bout but lost in the quarterfinals, then was pinned in the third period of his first consolation match.
Those two will likely be back next season but seniors Adolph Paulson and Jon Williams unfortunately had their high school careers end Saturday.
Paulson, who bumped up to 160 for regionals and won a first-round bye, lost in the quarterfinals Friday to Troy Triad's Mark Tucker, 12-2. Then in his first consolation match Saturday, Paulson lost to Carbondale's Ryder Hales, 2-1.
Williams, who also bumped up to 170 and placed second at regionals, won a 1-0 decision to get into the quarfinals and then edged Triad's Aric Crehan, 2-1, but was pinned in the semifinals by Champaign Centennial's Jeremiah Risinger.
The first consolation round brought a rematch of the regional final against Carbondale's Jamonte Rush and Rush again won, this time by a 10-0 major decision.
Cantrell's journey at the 2A state finals begins Thursday with preliminaries in Champaign.