A-J's Arieh Hart wins state wrestling title
A Union County high school plans to honor its new state champion this weekend.
Anna-Jonesboro Community High School's Arieh Hart won the 152-pound weight class at the Illinois High School Association Class 1A state wrestling championship.
The finals were at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Saturday, Feb. 17.
Hart is the first wrestler in the history of Anna-Jonesboro Community High School to win a state championship.
Hart will be honored at a reception which is planned Saturday, Feb. 24.
The reception is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the high school.
Finals Title Match
Hart won his state title with a 5-4 decision over Kewanee senior Lewis Robinson.
"It was very exciting," A-J wrestling team head coach Eric Massey said. Massey said that the Kewanee wrestler "could not match Arieh's speed."
Robinson was a second-place finisher at 145 pounds at state last season.
In the title match, Hart made a 5-2 run and recorded an escape and two take downs on single legs to a double over Robinson. Hart then gave up two penalty points in the final 30 seconds when he was attempting to let time expire in the match.
In the semifinals, Hart topped McNamara's Mason Sauseda 8-5. In the quarterfinals, he defeated Orion's James Schnerre 8-5.
Hart closed out his senior season at A-J with a 42-2 record and a 150-31 career record.
He spent his first two years at Murphysboro, compiling a 62-21 record and qualifying for state during his freshman year, but being eliminated in the sectionals during his sophomore year.
Last year, he transferred to A-J and finished second at state at 152 pounds with a 43-4 record.
Massey said that he was "very proud to have been part of this amazing ride" which encompassed Hart's success on the wrestling mat.
Massey also praised A-J wrestling team assistant coach Chase Hargrave. Massey said that Hargrave "did an excellent job" preparing Hart this season.
The A-J head coach said that he thinks Hart's success will carry over to the A-J squad next season.
Massey said there will be a lot of wrestlers returning next season with a lot of potential.
Massey said Hart hasn't made a decision on where to attend college yet; however, several colleges have shown an interest.