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Crouch wins Second Title at IHSA State

By Anthony Jones

TROY — When wrestler Colby Crouch won his first IHSA State Championship in 2022, he became just the fifth Knight to capture an individual title in any sport.

By earning his second title on Feb. 17, he now stands alone as the only two-time IHSA champion in school history.

The senior’s path through the state tournament of Class 2A’s 126 pound division began on Feb. 15, when he dispatched Mikey Meade of Prairie Ridge with a 58 second fall. A junior, Meade entered that bout with a 33-8 season record.

In the quarterfinal round, Crouch faced off against 40-4 Tyler Weidman from Grayslake. The battle of fourth-year grapplers lasted until the second round, when Crouch advanced with a 15-0 technical fall.

For the semifinal round, 42-1 Xaiver Villalobos from Rochelle would last through three rounds. Crouch scored a 14-4 major decision over the eventual fifth-place finisher.

Emerging from the far side of the bracket, Josh Vazquez of Montini earned the other state title berth and amassed a 42-4 season record.

Through the first two minute period, neither of the top-rate grapplers would score for a 0-0 tie.

Vazquez tallied the match’s first point in the second round via an escape after choosing to start in the down position. His 1-0 lead held through the remainder of the round that saw four blood stoppages and Vazquez warned once for stalling.

Crouch elected to begin on bottom for the final period and quickly escaped to draw even at 1-1.

The match’s defining moment came with just 22 seconds remaining when Crouch earned two points for a take down and then tacked on two more with a nearfall to go ahead 5-1. Vazquez moved the final to 5-3 with a reversal in the waning seconds.

The Triad standout finished his career with two state championships, with the previous coming as a sophomore. Crouch also reached the championship match as a junior and never trailed in that match, but was lost due to an injury at the end of the second period. His freshman season did not have an IHSA postseason as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

Two other Knights, Will Kelly and Brody Smith, also competed at last week’s state tournament.

In his first match of the event, Kelly suffered an 8-1 decision loss to Vince Demarco of Grayslake. Demarco went on to finish in fourth place in the 106 pound division.

Starting his path through the consolation bracket, Kelly earned an 8-6 decision over Morton’s Noah Harris. Nicholas Pollett, who would ultimately finish in sixth-place, eliminated the second-year Knight in a 4-2 decision.

Kelly, a sophomore, finished with a 40-8 season record.

Fellow sophomore Smith competed for the Knights in the 132 pound division. His first round match against eventual second-place finisher Gauge Shipp ended in a 16-0 loss by technical fall.

Smith dropped his next match in another technical fall, in a 22-6 tally.

Locked in an upright position, Colby Crouch looks for an edge against Josh Vazquez. (Photo courtesy of Dan Chamness and Moto Johnson)

Triad’s Colby Crouch dodges a hand to the hand in the state championship. (Photo courtesy of Dan Chamness and Moto Johnson)

Colby Crouch grounds Josh Vazquez down after a takedown. (Photo courtesy of Dan Chamness and Moto Johnson)


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