CHAMPAIGN – It took only 27 seconds for Ethen Doty to win his first high school state wrestling championship, but he wishes it could have taken a little longer.
The West Carroll 126-pound sophomore won by injury default when his opponent, Aurora Christian junior Cameron Johnson, suffered a shoulder injury that left him unable to continue.
Doty (45-0) was left to console Johnson (33-7) as he was helped off the mat by coaches and trainers. It was an anticlimactic ending for the rubber match between the two elite wrestlers.
Johnson pinned Doty last year on his way to a 120-pound state title, but Doty won this year’s matchup, 9-5 at the Byron Sectional.
“Last year I lost to him by pin,” Doty said. “I was hoping to pull out and do better than I did at sectionals and win by more than four points.”
He appeared on his way to do that. About 25 seconds into the bout, Doty executed a takedown to go up 2-0, but it was clear something was wrong. Johnson was clutching his left shoulder, and the bout was stopped with 1:33 on the clock.
“I’m not sure what happened,” Doty said. “I didn’t touch that shoulder. He must have landed on it awkwardly and had it pop out of place. He yelled right away.”
Aurora Christian coach Justin Pearch said the early diagnosis was a separated left shoulder. He said Johnson was going to be taken to a hospital for further
“Most wrestlers bang their shoulders, but he’s never had a serious shoulder injury that I know of,” Pearch said. “It’s just really unfortunate timing.”
Doty is the first state champion in West Carroll history. The previous best finish was third by 182-pounder Nate Schultz in 2017.
“This is what he’s been working his entire wrestling career for,” West Carroll coach Jeff McIntyre said. “He’s a two-time IESA state champion, but that’s a little different. It’s not high school. He’s put in the time. Actually, he’s cool as a cucumber. It was a joy to watch him work. I just hope next year we don’t have everybody ducking him.”
Doty, a sophomore at Eastland, finished fifth at 120 as a freshman last season, and hopes this is only the beginning of a great run.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Doty said. “I’m really excited being an undefeated state champion. Hopefully I can carry it forward and get two more.”