State Wrestling: Kyle Langenderfer, Colin Holler bid for fourth state medals
Lincoln-Way East’s Kyle Langenderfer and Sandburg’s Colin Holler are on the verge of joining an exclusive fraternity.
The senior duo heads to the Individual State Wrestling Tournament on Thursday through Saturday night in Champaign on pace to become four-time state-placers.
“This is a dream season,” Langenderfer said. “My senior year is coming to a close and I want to go out with a bang.”
An Illinois signee, Langenderfer (39-0) looks to claim his second state championship at the increasingly familiar Assembly Hall after claiming the Class 3A 145-pound crown as a junior. The 152-pound bruiser enters the closing moments of his senior campaign as the top seed in his division.
Holler, a South Dakota State recruit, has won a state-placing match every season, just never gold. He finished third as a junior at 145, third as a sophomore at 135 and fifth as a freshman at 119.
Despite navigating a brutal schedule, Holler has a 44-0 record and the top seed at 170. He looks primed for his first taste of gold.
“I feel I got a lot more to learn and a lot more to work on,” Holler said after winning the Shepard Sectional. “But I’m feeling great going into the state tournament.”
Holler and Langenderfer aren’t the only two unbeaten wrestlers from the Southland headed to Champaign.
Brother Rice freshman Rudy Yates is 38-0 at 106, Mount Carmel’s Bryce Brill, who plans to go to Northwestern, is 45-0 at 145 and Sandburg senior Ricky Robertson is 44-0 at 195.
It was a grueling week for Brill heading into the Shepard Sectional. The junior had a tooth bashed out in practice and was forced to wear a protective mask as he went on to garner the sectional title.
“You just realize you can’t take things for granted,” Brill said. “Things happen. You just have to do what you can to get through them.”
Brill was a state champion as a freshman, but his bid to repeat last season was denied in the finals by Stagg’s Kevin Moylan, who is now wrestling at Princeton.
“What makes Bryce so special, not only what he does in competition, but it’s what he does in the practice room, the person he is when he’s off the mat,” Mount Carmel coach John Kading said. “He didn’t just fall from the sky as a great wrestler, he’s earned it.”
The mash at 113
A slew of Southland athletes are featured in every weight class, but none has the local flavor or budding rivalries to match the 113-pound division.
Thornton’s reigning state champ Kris Williams (16-1) headlines a premier crew featuring Marist junior Mark Duda (32-3), Lockport junior Brian Rossi (41-3) and Providence senior Ronald Triche (37-2). Duda and Rossi return as state-placers, while Triche enters as the Catholic League champ. Of the quartet’s combined nine losses, five have come against each other.
Sandburg’s Jim Pellegrino (37-12) and Lincoln-Way Central’s Ian Meagher (27-19) are among other area qualifiers looking to turn heads in the division.
Contributing: Mike Clark, Steve Tappa