DANVILLE — Javonte Crider and Antonio Alvarez’s return to the State Farm Center is one where both wrestlers had to get past adversity during the season and during the postseason.
Danville’s Crider was out for two weeks with a wrist injury during the season while Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac’s Alvarez was out for five wins with a hip flexor.
During their respective sectional tournaments, both Alvarez and Crider lost the first match on Friday before winning all their matches on Saturday to take third place and advanced to state tournament action starting on Thursday.
“It was basically a test to see if I wanted it,” Crider said. “To see if I wanted to comepete against the best in state.”
Crider, a sophomore 120-pound wrestler, will make his second trip to Champaign and will face off against Vernon Hills’ Jordan Reich (38-4) in the first round on Thursday in Class 2A.
Danville wrestling coach Terrence Tetter said even with Crider’s 22-1 record, that tally could have been even more impressive if not for the injury.
“If he had a full schedule, he would have had 40 wins this season,” Tetter said. “He came out of that injury like gangbusters, so in some way, the break was good for him because he stepped back and took a look at things.”
“When I got the injury, I was just working hard just to get back,” Crider said. “ I was bugging coach and everything to get back before I can.”
Tetter said Crider had a nervous first match last season, but knows that with his experience, things could be different on Thursday.
“I do want to redeem myself, because I was happy to get there last year,” Crider said. “This year, I will be more focused and ready to go against the best. With my hard work and what my coaches have taught me, I know I will be well-prepared.”