BLOOMINGTON, Illinois (WMBD) – The Washington Panthers won their 5th boys duals wrestling state championship Saturday night against Joliet Catholic by just a 28-27 margin.

They avenged last year’s postseason defeat at the hands of JC, which they lost by one point. Washington wrestlers won several matches by decision and a big victory came from 145-pounder Kannon Webster, who won by technical fall 23-8 and gave the Panthers team five points.

We’ve been working all season. I believe we have the best coaches in the state. They knew they had a game plan for this match. We’ve been waiting all year for this match. We haven’t done this since I’ve been on this high school team so getting back here getting it done, checking that box, it just feels so awesome.”

Kannon Webster

These are two great wrestling teams and it’s gonna come down to who’s a little tougher who’s a little grittier. Who wants to go win the fights in those tight moments. Our guys stepped up to the plate. Can’t say anymore than that.

Nick Miller, Washington Head Coach

At girls individual finals matches, three Central Illinois athletes each finished as runner-ups in their respective weight classes. Kinnley Smith from Canton lost by decision in the 135-pound weight class.

Savannah and Valerie Hamilton, the sisters from El Paso-Gridley, also came in second. Savannah lost in the 130-pound class. It’s the sophomore’s second time finishing as runner-up. Valerie lost in the final seconds of the third period after being ahead 4-2 with roughly a minute to go.

I wrestled my butt off and it didn’t work out for me in the end and that’s okay because I just wanted the competition. That’s why I’m wrestling 145 in the first place. was to have competition.

Valerie Hamilton

The Hamilton sisters…and there’s more than just them. That whole family is just gifted for wrestling and they live eat drink and breathe it. They’re fun to coach they’re fun to be around. They work hard.

Zachary Zvonar, El Paso-Gridley Wrestling Coach

It was crazy to not even place in sectionals last year then to place here on the second place podium is just crazy and really shows just how much time I’ve put in the offseason.

Kinnley Smith