In four dominant years, only one thing slowed Luke Odom down.
The Edwardsville High senior grappler prided himself as an iron man of sorts, racking up win after win without missing a beat.
When a concussion forced him to drop out of the state tournament as a junior, he returned even stronger to cap his illustrious career in record-setting style.
"He's got 193 wins out of Edwardsville High School," Edwardsville coach Jon Wagner said. "I don't think in four years he's missed a match (except for his junior year). That's Brett Favre-ish."
With a stacked resume' full of wins, Odom was still missing one thing — a state championship. He completed that goal by winning the Class 3A 160-pound title in February.
"I just felt a weight lifted off my shoulder," Odom said. "I finally got what I was working for. It was just an amazing feeling."
Odom, the Post-Dispatch All-Metro boys wrestler of the year, finished with a program-record 193 career wins — including 51 as a senior — which is tied for the third-most victories in the state, according to the Illinois High School Association record book.
Wagner knew the future University of Illinois wrestler would excel with the Tigers long before he stepped foot in Jon Davis Wrestling Center.
"He's been pretty dominating since he's been wrestling," Wagner said. "He's always gone to high-level tournaments — been to nationals when he was younger, three-time state champion in middle school. We knew we got a good one when he came in."
Odom won the Illinois Freestyle and Greco-Roman junior 145-pound state championship during the spring before his senior season. When he suited up for the Tigers this winter, he was just as prolific.
A state qualifier all four years, Odom left the State Farm Center in Champaign without a medal just once after his first-round loss last season. Odom suffered a concussion against Sandburg’s Pat Nolan in the final seconds of that match and had to forfeit his next one, marking the first time he'd missed a bout in his career with the Tigers.
"This sport is so unpredictable," Odom said. "The last three or four years, I could have won state titles, but just one thing would go a different way. I could have been at the top of that podium all three years, but it just didn't work out that way."
It was only a speed bump for Odom, who returned with a renewed sense of determination.
"A lot of my focus was just to try and have fun and make the most of my last season of high school wrestling," Odom said. "What I learned from last year is that you're not guaranteed a full year, or for it to end the way you want it to end. I was just trying to enjoy every second of it this year."
Odom enjoyed every moment even as he faced the challenge of moving up to a new weight class at the start of each season.
Remarkably, his results never changed.
As a freshman, Odom wrestled at 106 pounds and finished with a 43-5 record and a third-place finish at state. He was bumped up to 126 pounds as a sophomore and finished third again with a 50-2 record.
During his injury-shortened junior season, Odom wrestled at 138 pounds and was ranked first in the state. He finished with a 46-3 record before making one final jump to 160 as a senior and grabbing the ultimate prize.
"I think that's what makes him really special," Wagner said. "That's what I'm the proudest about, outside of the state title. I've coached for 30 years and I've never seen a kid jump two or three weight classes and still have the success rate that he has. It's really a testament to him, his training and his other coaches to be able to adapt to that."
Wagner will miss the consistency Odom provided for Edwardsville as he heads off to join the University of Illinois wrestling team next fall.
But the most decorated grappler in program history will not forget the close-knit bond he shared with the Tigers, who helped him become the athlete he is today.
"They always have each other's back," Odom said. "No matter what, no matter what level of wrestling, we were one big family. That's what I'll miss the most. That's what I believe it will be like at the University of Illinois. They're a very close and tight-knit group. That helps make a good team."
FIRST TEAM ALL-METRO
Luke Odom senior, Edwardsville
All-Metro boys wrestler of the year posted 51-1 record in final season. Odom capped career with his first state title and only the second in program history, winning at 160 pounds in Class 3A. He was third as a freshman and sophomore and was injured in opening round as a junior. Signed with Illinois.
Evan Binder, sophomore, Whitfield
Two years, two state titles. Binder won this season at 113 pounds and finished 43-5, helping Whitfield to its fourth consecutive Class 1 team state championship. He won at 106 as a freshman.
Dalton Bingman, senior, Priory
Multi-sport standout for Rebels repeated as Class 2 state champion at 220 pounds a year after becoming program's first state wrestling champ. Posted 31-0 record as a senior. Plans to play football at Washington University.
Joe Braunagel, junior, Althoff
Earned his first state title and fifth for the family by capturing the Class 1A title at 182 pounds, pulling out a one-point decision to cap a 37-4 season. He was sixth at 170 as a sophomore. Older twin brothers Danny and Zac, now wrestling at Illinois, won two titles each in 2017-18.
Chase Brock, sophomore, Whitfield
Captured championship at 182 pounds and finished season with a 26-1 record. Helped Whitfield capture fourth consecutive Class 1 team state championship. Finished second at 160 as a freshman.
Jacobi Jackson, junior, De Smet
Won heavyweight title in Class 4 by avenging loss from title match his sophomore season in a rematch against Francis Howell’s Ryan Skillington. Jackson, who finished the season 31-3, is the son of Brian Jackson, the Missouri Baptist wrestling coach who won a state title for De Smet in 1985.
Colton King, junior, De Smet
Capped a 34-1 season by winning the 106-pound title in Class 4. It was second state tournament medal for King, who finished third at 106 during his 35-4 sophomore campaign. Helped Spartans tie for seventh in Class 4 team standings at state.
Josh Koderhandt, junior, Belleville West
Became Maroons first state champ since 2013 and completed undefeated season by winning the Class 3A title at 120 pounds. Koderhandt won final in sudden victory to cap a 43-0 campaign after finishing as runner-up during 44-3 sophomore season.
Jake Mann, junior, Ladue
Princeton recruit rolled to his second consecutive state title, winning at 126 pounds in Class 4 to finish 42-2. Mann won at 120 pounds as a sophomore, earning Ladue's first state title since 1966. Also was a state runner-up as a freshman.
Connor McAteer, senior, Whitfield
Won the 132-pound title in Class 1 to finish 37-8 and become a two-time state champion. McAteer's other title came as a sophomore and he was third as a freshman. He did not wrestle at state as a junior because of injury. Helped Whitfield capture fourth consecutive Class 1 team state championship.
Landon Porter, senior, De Soto
Heavyweight champion in Class 3 won eight tournament titles en route to a 45-0 season. First De Soto champ since 2009. Second as sophomore and fourth as junior, Porter has signed to wrestle at McKendree.
Lloyd Reynolds, senior, Edwardsville
Class 3A state runner-up in heavyweight division for Tigers. Finished 49-3 after falling 4-3 in championship match. Helped Edwardsville capture ninth consecutive regional team title. Reynolds also finished sixth at state as a junior.
Evan Shetley, senior, Sullivan
First Sullivan wrestler to win a state championship and program's all-time wins leader with 159. Captured the 182-pound title in Class 2 and finished 45-1 by winning a one-point decision in the final. Earned 28 victories by fall this season. Finished fourth as a junior.
Chase Stegall, senior, Northwest Cedar Hill
Maryville University signee won battle of undefeated wrestlers to capture his first state title in his final attempt. Stegall won the 220-pound title in Class 4 and finished his senior season 36-0 and his career with 173 victories. He was a state runner-up last season, fourth as a sophomore and third as a freshman.
SECOND TEAM ALL-METRO
Gavin Alexander, freshman, Hillsboro
School’s second state champ and first since 2008. Won 106-pound title in Class 3, helped Hillsboro finish 10th in team standings. Finished 46-2.
Garrett Bakarich, senior, Triad
Placed third in Class 2A state tournament at 152 pounds to finish a 43-2 season. Finished fifth as a junior. Helped Triad to 13th consecutive regional team title.
Anthony Federico, senior, Althoff
Recorded a runner-up finish for the second season in a row in Class 1A state tournament, this time at 145 pounds to cap a 37-3 season after doing so at 132 as a junior. Also finished sixth as a sophomore.
Logan Ferrero, junior, Whitfield
Lost by one point in Class 1 title match at 126 pounds to finish 41-8 season. Two-time individual champ helped Whitfield capture fourth consecutive Class 1 team state title.
Jake McCollum, senior, Eureka
Earned runner-up finish in Class 4 at 195 pounds to close 35-2 season. Also was fourth as a junior. Truman State football signee and second-team All-Metro football linebacker.
Matthew Minnick, senior, Althoff
Runner-up at 106 pounds in Class 1A after finishing fifth as a junior and fourth as a sophomore. Posted 35-6 record as a senior and posted 120 victories his final three seasons.
Dustin Olmstead, junior, Belleville West
First-time state tournament qualifier finished third at heavyweight in Class 3A to cap his breakout 44-6 season.
AJ Rallo, freshman, Whitfield
Won title at 106 pounds to help Whitfield capture fourth consecutive Class 1 team state championship. Finished 40-7 in debut season.
Santino Robinson, freshman, CBC
State champion at 113 pounds to help Cadets finish fourth as a team in Class 4, their fourth consecutive season with a state trophy. Finished 35-4
Ryan Skillington, senior, Francis Howell
2019 heavyweight champ and Maryville recruit settled for runner-up finish in Class 4 state tournament after losing in a title rematch against De Smet junior Jacobi Jackson. Finished 33-2.
Callum Sitek, junior, Pacific
Won first 47 matches of the season before falling in 152-pound championship match of Class 3 state tournament. Finished second at 132 pounds as sophomore. 140 victories in three seasons.
Caleb Tyus, junior, Civic Memorial
Posted a 42-1 record by earning a runner-up finish in Class 2A at 132 pounds, one place up from his third-place finish as a sophomore at 120. Won six titles.
Zeke Waltz, senior, Jerseyville
Recorded top finish in program history by finishing as runner-up at 160 pounds in the Class 2A state tournament. Multi-sport athlete posted a 43-1 record as a senior. Finished fifth as a junior at 152.
Vinnie Zerban, junior, CBC
Finished third at 160 pounds in Class 4 state tournament to cap a 35-5 season. He won a state title at 132 pounds as a sophomore and was a runner-up at 120 as a freshman.
THIRD TEAM ALL-METRO
Ibrahim Ameer, junior, McCluer North
First loss of season came in semifinals of Class 3 state tournament, but he still rebounded to finish third at 195 pounds as cap to a 36-1 season that included six tournament victories. Ameer finished sixth at state as a sophomore at 170 pounds.
Evan Boren, junior, Lafayette
Pulled through two tough matches to reach final at 160 pounds in Class 4 state tournament before falling in championship match. Finished second with 23-5 record. State qualifier as a sophomore at 152 pounds.
Evan Bragee, senior, Fort Zumwalt South
Closed career by finishing as runner-up in 220-pound division of Class 3 state tournament with a record of 38-9, an improvement over his fourth-place finish at 220 as a junior. The GAC Central wrestler of the year had a program record 78 pins in his career.
Tristan Brown, senior, Sullivan
Fell by one point in heavyweight division championship match of Class 2 state tournament and settled for runner-up finish with a 45-3 record. It was second consecutive state medal for Brown, who was sixth in same division during a 40-12 junior season.
David Cross, freshman, Francis Howell Central
Impressive debut season finished with a 34-1 record and third-place finish at 113 pounds in Class 4 state tournament. Cross' lone loss came in state semifinals before he bounced back to claim two more victories.
Jack Darrah, sophomore, CBC
Competing at 182 pounds in Class 4 state tournament, Darrah lost to undefeated Greyden Penner of Liberty-KC in title match to finish a 32-5 season with a second consecutive state medal. As a freshman, Darrah was fifth at 182.
Arnold Edwards, senior, Cahokia
Rallied to finish sixth at 182 pounds in Class 2A state tournament after suffering opening-round loss, capping a 43-6 season. Edwards was a three-time state qualifier and finished third at 195 pounds as a junior. He also helped Cahokia to runner-up team dual finish in 2018.
Caleb Grau, senior, Mascoutah
Earned program's best state tournament finish in eight years, claiming third place in Class 2A's 170-pound division to cap 43-5 season. It was second consecutive state medal for the UNC Pembroke signee, who finished fifth as a junior.
Chase McCoy, senior, Timberland
In a loaded Class 4 state tournament heavyweight bracket, McCoy finished third with a 36-3 record and improved on the fifth-place showing from his junior season. Signed with Washburn to play football.
KJ Miley, sophomore, Whitfield
Finished as state runner-up for the second consecutive season at 220 pounds while helping Whitfield capture its fourth successive Class 1 team state title. Finished with 36-7 record.
Kylan Montgomery, junior, Mascoutah
Earned a Class 2A state tournament medal for second consecutive season, finishing fifth at 138 pounds to cap 43-7 season. He was fourth at 126 as a sophomore. Next season, Montgomery has chance to become only second three-time medal winner in program history.
Justin Mowry, senior, St. Charles
In his fourth and final appearance as a Class 3 state tournament qualifier at 220 pounds, Mowry broke through to earn his first medal. Mowry finished 31-4 after his third-place finish in Columbia.
Adam Thebeau, junior, Belleville East
First-time state tournament qualifier finished fifth at 145 pounds in the Class 3A. He was first Belleville East wrestler to earn a medal in five years and his finish was program's best since 2012.
Caine Tyus, junior, Civic Memorial
Captured the second Class 2A state tournament medal of his career by finishing third at 138 pounds to cap a 42-4 season. Caine, twin brother of Caleb, was a sixth-place finisher as a sophomore at 126.
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