Not many young wrestlers have the opportunity to make it to the IKWF State Championships, but even fewer are able to win at the event.
On Friday, March 8, Hillsboro's Gunner Hefley won his opening match in the Novice 101 class at the IKWF State Championships at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford to become one of those lucky few.
In his first trip to state, Hefley defeated Cole Latimer of Dekalb WC in a 6-5 decision to start his tournament off on the right foot. Unfortunately, the Hillsboro fifth grader would see his season come to an end after a loss to Ricky Ericksen of Vittum Cats of SKT by fall in 48 seconds and a loss to Colin Bickett of Plainfield WC by an 11-1 major decision.
Still, the experience was a great one for Hefley and the Hillsboro Junior Topper wrestling program. The young wrestler, and brother of 2019 state qualifier Jake Hefley, will have three more years of IKWF wrestling before taking those lessons with him to the high school program.