Illinois Valley Central freshman Riley Beard and senior Brendan Butler both ended their wrestling season in the State meet at Champaign, starting Thursday, with Beard placing sixth.


Illinois Valley Central freshman Riley Beard and senior Brendan Butler both ended their wrestling season in the State meet at Champaign, starting Thursday, with Beard placing sixth.

“Riley and Brendan had really good seasons overall,” Russell said. “Both ended up with 38 wins, which is really hard to do with the schedule we wrestle.”

In the 113-pound division, Beard took down his first foe Thursday in a 4-1 decision.

In the quarterfinals Friday, Beard dominated his foe to win by an 11-3 pin.

Beard wrestled with the same blend of speed and smarts that helped him finish first at the Eureka Regional Feb. 4.

“Riley had a really good first two matches to reach the semi-finals,” Russell said. “He really wrestled well in the semi-final match for five minutes, then he made a mistake. He was tied, 2-2, going into the third period with the kid who won it all. He is that close.

“It should provide the motivation to work hard in the offseason to make a run at it again next year.”

Beard’s chance at the title came to an end in the semi-finals when he was pinned in 5:09.

After falling in the semi-finals, Beard entered the consolation bracket with his sight still set on finishing with a medal.

Beard fell in the semi-final wrestle back, 6-0, to send him to the fifth-place bout.

In his final match of the season, the fifth-place bout, Beard came out on the losing end of an 8-2 decision.

Beard finished sixth in his division and ends the season with a record of 38-7.

“The sky is the limit for Riley if he continues to work hard and keep striving for that ultimate goal of winning a State title,” Russell said.

Medals were handed out Saturday.

Butler lost his only match at State Thursday when his foe in the 182-pound division pinned him in 2:53.

Despite losing in the opening match, Butler wrestled with tenacity and did not give his opponent an easy victory.

“He wrestled well but we figured he would have to win that to continue in the tournament,” Russell said. “Brendan has been a great wrestler for us over the past four years. He is a good student and a good leader and will be difficult to replace.

“All the seniors on the team did a great job of mentoring the younger wrestlers.”

Beard began his trip to State when he won his division at the Eureka Regional Feb. 4 and finished third at the Macomb Sectional, Feb. 11.

Butler also won first at Eureka and third at Macomb.