PALOS HEIGHTS | On crutches was not the way Blake Tisza wanted to spend Saturday at the 3A Shepard Sectional.
Tisza, who suffered a hip injury Tuesday at practice, was unable to wrestle at the sectional and qualify for a chance at a state title. Tisza was on hand to give encouragement to his teammates and promises that this in not the last people will hear from him.
"I tore off my hip flexor muscle," Tisza said. "I'm still wrestling in college. I'm not going to end it like this. This is just a setback in high school."
In the 113-pound championship, Thornton's Kris Williams continued his push for another state title with a 3-2 decision over rival Mark Duda of Marist. Duda had gotten the better of Williams last week with a 5-3 win at the Marist Regional. On Saturday, Williams returned the favor and avenged his only loss of the season.
Tisza's teammates Joe Young and Corinthian McBridge will be making the trip to next week's state finals. Young took third place at 182with a 4-2 decision over Sandburg's Chris Pajak.
"Man this was a good sectional," Young said. "I was hoping that I would come out one top, but it didn't turn out that way. I'm glad I'm making it to state though."
McBridge didn't end the day like he wanted but will still be making the trip to state. McBridge took fourth place at 285 after falling to Mike Hobbs of Downers Grove South 1-0 in overtime. The top four in each weight class advance to the state meet which begins Thursday at the University of Illinois' Assembly Hall.
"Today didn't go the way I wanted it," McBridge said. "I lost my second match, but I came back and wrestled hard. In the end, I didn't win it, but next week I get to go down state and probably see (Hobbs) again."
Mount Carmel's Bryce Brill captured first place at 145. Brill said he will treat next week's state final just like any other wrestling match.
"This weekend I felt really good," Brill said. "I thought my timing and offense was good. I'll just look at next week the same as every other match. Go into every match with the same mindset and hopefully don't get stressed out or over nervous."
Mount Carmel's Notay Jackson captured second at 152, and fellow Caravan wrestler Jimmy Mickens took second at 182.