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Ledger Athlete of the Week: Gannon Hughes, Oswego senior, wrestling

Gannon Hughes
Gannon Hughes

Why he was selected:

Gannon Hughes won a regional title at 145 pounds at last week’s Class 3A East Moline Regional, beating Yorkville’s Joe Roberts 15-3 in the final, to qualify for this weekend’s sectional at Alton.

Hughes, who missed out on a state medal by one match last year, is Oswego’s career win leader and currently holds a 39-2 record this season. He talked with sports editor Joshua Welge about regionals, the season and how much a state title would mean. Here is an edited version of the transcript:

Welge: How do you feel you wrestled at regionals?

Hughes: I felt I wrestled good. I still have stuff to work on. I was happy with how I did, but I still have to make some adjustments before sectionals. I felt like it took too long to finish my shots.

Welge: Any matches stand out?

Hughes: The kid that I wrestled in the semis was honorable mention All-State last year. The final match against [Yorkville sophomore Joe] Roberts, I’ve known him for a while. He’s improved a bunch. I had to really prepare myself for that match and know what to do.

Welge: You’ve won the most matches of any Oswego wrestler, ever. What do you think when you hear that?

Hughes: It’s pretty insane. I never even considered it before this year. My dad and I were trying to figure out how many it would take, but we had no idea I’d get here.

Welge: When and how did you get started wrestling?

Hughes: I was 5 years old. My neighbors were the Pradels, they’re kind of Oswego’s wrestling family. I was lucky enough to live next to them, and my dad wrestled in high school. I started going to practice two days a week and all of a sudden I was into it.

Welge: What do you take out of your previous experiences at state?

Hughes: State is just, I wish I could say it feels like another tournament, but really it does not. There’s so many nerves there. When I qualified as a sophomore, I didn’t get to embrace it, I got just one match. I was still super nervous last year. I know I can win it this year. As it weird as it sounds, I’m trying to not care as much.

Welge: How often do you think about being on that podium?

Hughes: Honestly, I think about it every day. Every single day when I walk into the practice room. I know me and Allen [Swanson] are going to give it our best.

Welge: What about sectionals?

Hughes: I’m definitely going to see a lot of competition. Baylor Fernandes of Lockport, I’ll probably have him in the semifinals. I know about him very good, but I’ve never wrestled him. I just have to wrestle my best.

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