CHAMPAIGN — Few teammates get to finish careers like Sandburg’s Colin Holler and Ricky Robertson. The senior duo capped undefeated seasons Saturday at Assembly Hall as Class 3A state champions.
A tough conference, a loaded sectional and a brutal national schedule all were reasons they weren’t supposed to remain unbeaten, but the pair defied the odds. Holler took gold at 170, marking his first state title and fourth state medal.
“Nothing else was acceptable, not a second,” Holler said. “Making the Grand March was awesome, something that I could never describe, an amazing feeling. Wrestling with who I have in practice truly made me undefeated.”
Robertson, a state finalist last season, topped Plainfield Central’s undefeated Jordan Ellingwood 2-1 in sudden death overtime at 195 pounds. It was arguably the most anticipated match of the state series featuring two physically imposing athletes.
“You definitely want to get that title, especially after Collin gets it,” Robertson said. “We’ve got that little friendly rivalry going in the practice room.
“It’s awesome,” Robertson added. “You’re all smiles from here on out.”
Sandburg’s C.J. Brucki added to the championship count, using a non-stop motor to claim the 160-pound title.
“Coming into the tournament, I knew I had to wrestle my best,” Bruck said. “I didn’t start wrestling until my freshman year. I owe it to all my coaches.”
Lincoln-Way East’s Kyle Langenderfer, an Illinois recruit, capped his second consecutive state title by winning the belt at 152 pounds. Langenderfer topped Glenbard North’s Brian Murphy 6-5 in one of the tournament’s most exciting matches.
“You want to enter into the discussion of all-time greats,” Langenderfer said. “Not putting myself with them, but I was inspired to be like them. I had my ups and downs, but I really can’t argue with being a two-time state champion and four-time state-placer.”
Marist’s Tom Howell, one of six placers for the Redhawks, captured the 220-pound title.
Donnie Bell, just the second Homewood-Flossmoor wrestler to ever reach the finals, lost 1-0 to Oak-Park River Forest’s Joe Ariola.