Craig wins state title, 3 others finish in top 3

Darren Kinnard

SPRINGFIELD — Benton’s Gabe Craig put quite an exclamation point on his unbeaten senior season, capturing the 1A heavyweight championship at the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association State Championships being held in Springfield.

With the IHSA not holding a postseason due to the pandemic, many of the state’s top wrestlers, including 17 from the area, competed at the IWCOA State meet at the Bank of Springfield Center. Thursday in the 1A meet, Craig defeated Isaiah Gonzalez from Elmhurst Immaculate Conception 8-2 to finish 30-0 for the season.

Earlier in the day, Murphysboro junior Arojae Hart lost a heartbreaker to Ethen Doty from West Carroll in the 132 championship match. Doty won the match 7-6.

Craig’s Benton teammate, freshman Mason Tieffel, finished third in the 120 pound weight class.

Friday, in the 2A championships, Carbondale’s Luke Daly made it to the championship match, but fell 1-0 to top-seeded Caden Ernd from Crystal Lake Central.