State-bound athletes wrap up winter sports season


  With our winter sports season wrapping up, it is time to recognize our athletes who went to state in these sports. Wrestling brought senior Drew Kested and junior Thomas Tate to the state meet. The swim team sent eight athletes to state, under the leadership of head coach Kyle Ruiz and assistant head coach Jamie Ruiz; that long list includes senior Reiley Austin, senior Luke Clark, senior Michael Garland, senior Braeden Ruiz, freshman Connor Porter, senior Mason Adams, senior Skylar Drolema, and sophomore Peter Garland. The swim team dominated sectionals to go into state with this momentum. 

  The wrestling team took fourth in sectionals with both state qualifiers placing fourth. Tate wrestled in the 160 pound division and went 2-2 at the state tournament. Tate would consider his postseason leading up to state successful but was not satisfied with his performance at the state meet. His prediction for next year, which has me excited for him, is “a top 3 finish in the state.” State was what he expected, saying all of his matches were tough.

  Kested placed sixth at the state tournament in the 145 pound division. Even with that impressive performance, Kested said, “I know I could have placed higher, but I sold myself short.” Kested finished the state meet with a 2-2 record and had a 33-6 record over the whole season. The state meet was exactly what he expected since it was not his first time heading to champaign for the state meet. 

  The Sterling swim team had a very successful postseason, steamrolling their way to state with dominant conference and sectional performances. Senior Captain Mason Adams said it best when he said, “It was definitely a team effort.” Adams swam in the open 50 and the 200 free relay. The 200 free relay also has team members Austin, M. Garland, and Drolema. Sterling also sent a 200 medley to state, which had Austin, M. Garland, Drolema and Ruiz. Ruiz also competed in the 100 breast, where he finished higher than he was seeded. 

  Ruiz was very happy with state and said, “The state competition was an experience of a lifetime, and easily the best meet I’ve ever been to. The pool was amazing and the atmosphere was unlike anything else.”

  It is a common theme amongst these swimmers to be very positive about the season they had. This continues true with Clark who went to state as an alternate for the 200 free relay. Clark said, “I warmed up in the pool and then I just focused on taking it all in. It was mostly just about having fun and celebrating my senior season for me.” 

  This was a great way to end the season for this senior led group, and thank you to all the seniors for working hard to have some great high school careers.