MT. VERNON —
Wrestling is a mostly mental sport, according to Rams coach Sean Docherty.
Chase Vosburgh had to rely on every bit of his mental toughness during the weekend of the 2A state finals in Champaign. Vosburgh ended his season with a third-place finish in the 152-pound weight class and finished with a 44-3 overall record.
“I thought he did a great job of finishing whenever he could have easily just said I'm not getting what I wanted to get and I didn't get a chance to go for first and so just heck with it. He didn't have that mindset,” Docherty said.
Vosburgh started the state finals with a pair of convincing wins that moved him into a semifinal matchup on Friday night against Lombard Montini's Luke Fortuna.
A win would put him in Saturday's state championship match.
Vosburgh was up 3-2 in the match but was called for stalling. The competition went to overtime, and Fortuna won 5-3. Fortuna later finished second to Washington's Randy Meneweather in the final, which also went to overtime. Docherty said Vosburgh shook off the disappointing loss and was able to refocus.
“He's probably one of the most mentally tough kids I've seen in this sport,” Docherty said.
The junior ended his week with a pair of dominating wins on Saturday. In the semifinal of the wrestlebacks bracket, Vosburgh pinned his opponent. The victory moved him into a match to decide third place against Chicago Heights Marian's Jose Champagne. Vosburgh recorded a 9-1 major decision victory.
“He came back for that third-place match, and I thought that was probably one of the most dominating performances he had all weekend,” Docherty said.
Vosburgh's third-place finish matched Blake Stricklin, who placed third in 2010. The highest finish at the state final in the program's history came in 1993 when Tony Duncan placed second.
Tristan Penrod also advanced to state but was knocked out after an opening round loss. Both Vosburgh and Penrod will return for their seniors seasons next winter.
“(Penrod) is ready to go back. He's ready to get back up there, ready to change some doubter's minds,” Docherty said. “And I think with Chase and Tristan going up there that was a great experience for them and also I think as leaders of our team I think that's really going to help us out with the young kids that we're bringing along.”