There was only one place Plainfield East’s Michael McGee wanted to finish this year – first.
The senior accomplished that for the second time in three years Saturday at the University of Illinois in the 120-pound weight class to finish his career as an undefeated state champion at 43-0.
“It was big,” McGee said. “I tried not to put too much pressure on myself. I worked really hard and it was good to see my hard work pay off. I tried to go out with a bang and I’m proud of that.”
It was near domination for McGee throughout the tournament as three of his four wins came by technical fall (championship match), major decision and fall.
The only close match of the tournament came in the semifinal against Robert Precin of Andrew, where he won 4-0 against a wrestler who finished the season 42-2.
“Earlier in the year I wrestled him and I knew it was going to be tough,” McGee said. “He made some adjustments and I had a harder time down low on him. I stuck to my gameplan. I had a lot more success up to this time. I got three back points that way.”
McGee’s title run started last year when he lost in the championship match. That fueled him to never lose another match in high school.
“This one feels better than sophomore year after losing in the finals last year,” McGee said. “It added fuel to my fire. I remembered how that felt every day afterwards. I wouldn’t have had the same hunger otherwise and it humbled me.”
McGee now leaves Plainfield East as not only the lone state champion in school history, but a two-time state champ.
“It feels good,” he said. “I want the kids who come after me to know they don’t have to transfer to win a state title. I would do all the extra stuff to be a two-time state champion.”
Now McGee will be headed to Virginia Beach to wrestle at Old Dominion.
“I can’t wait to compete at the D-I level,” McGee said. “I am looking forward to grinding.”
After winning regional and sectional titles, Bengal Anthony Zamora lost both of his matches at state, 5-2 and 7-2 at 126 pounds.
Also bringing home a medal for Plainfield was North’s Matt Hennessey (41-9). He opened with a 5-4 win to get into the quarterfinals before a 5-0 loss. He came back through the consolation bracket to win via pin and a 4-2 decision to get into the consolation semis.
Hennessey then lost a pair of matches 5-2 and 3-1 to take sixth place.
Teammate Luke Smiley lost his lone match at state, 7-3.
Plainfield South’s Enzo Silva picked up a win at state to finish 43-9. He won his match 3-1 over St. Charles East in the consolation round.
Silva’s teammate Dominic Ferraro lost both of his matches at state.
Plainfield Central’s Jared Ellingwood lost his lone match at state, 3-2.