CHAMPAIGN – For the second consecutive year, third was the word for Erie-Prophetstown’s Garrett Passmore.
Entering the IHSA Class 1A State Wrestling Tournament, the senior had visions of a championship run, but a fluke injury in Friday’s quarterfinal round proved too much to overcome. Instead, the 160-pounder won two bouts on Saturday to earn a third-place medal. It matched his 2017 finish.
“I really wanted to be wrestling [Saturday night], but some things didn’t go my way,” Passmore said. “I’m just thankful that I wasn’t banged up enough that I had to forfeit. I was able to wrestle, and go out the way I wanted to go out. Third place was OK. I’m happy with it.”
Passmore (51-1) suffered a strained groin in the first period of a 17-6 major decision win against Oakwood’s Mason Ajster in Friday morning’s quarterfinal round. In the semis that night, a noticeably hobbled Passmore dropped a 4-3 decision against Coal City’s Daniel Jezik.
It was a bout he likely would have won if 100 percent healthy.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Passmore said. “I’m assuming I’ll figure something out, why it had to happen, and hopefully it brings good things my way.”
A night of icing the injury, along with wearing a tightly wrapped Ace bandage, made Passmore a bit more ready to go on Saturday. He then went out and dominated two opponents.
In the wrestleback semifinals, Passmore rolled to a 14-1 major decision against West Hancock’s Chase Hartweg. He followed that up with a 12-2 major decision against Chicago Bowen’s Cameron White in the third-place bout.
Passmore finished his career with 152 career wins, the most in Erie-Prophetstown co-op history by 24.
“I’m proud of him,” E-P coach Tod McCullough said. “The last couple of matches here have just been a gutty performance out of him. A lot of kids would just say, ‘Coach, I can’t.’ We talked [Friday] night and he said, ‘Coach, I’m finishing.’ It was heartbreaking, not being on the top of the podium [Saturday] night, but he had the right mindset that he wasn’t done.
“To come out and finish like he did today, it shows you the kind of character the kid has.”