Belleville West sophomore Josh Koderhandt remembered the feeling of walking off the mat at the State Farm Center last year without a medal.
He remembered watching his opponent climbing the podium and wearing a state championship medal last year and bottled up those emotions.
On Friday night, Koderhandt unleashed them.
Koderhandt punched his ticket to the state championship match with a 6-2 victory in the Class 3A 113-pound semifinals at the Illinois State Wrestling Championships at State Farm Center in Champaign.
"It feels great to see him there," Belleville West coach Joe Rujawitz said. "The main thing is just knowing that everything you do all year long, weight cutting, running and the right practice partners it is all worth it."
Koderhandt (44-2) will wrestle Mount Carmel's Colton Drousias (34-4) for the 113-pound title. The championship round is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Koderhandt didn't unleash his pent-up emotions against a stranger Friday.
It was against Marist's Michael Leveille, the same opponent who ended his season last year without a state medal.
"The main thing I was telling him was that this was the kid who knocked us out of a medal and I told him to remember that feeling about getting knocked out," Rujawitz said.
Koderhandt went to his strengths and scored early and often to keep Leveille on the ropes.
Rujawitz said he has seen a tremendous amount of growth in his sophomore after a full offseason and deciding to move up to 113 instead of staying at 106.
"It's not done yet," Koderhandt said. "My goal wasn't just to make it to the championship match, but it's to win it."
Koderhandt will be one of Metro East wrestlers competing for a championship on Saturday.
Edwardsville's Noah Surtin (50-1) will try to win his second consecutive title after cruising into the Class 3A 120-pound championship match with an 11-1 win over Dekalb's Danny Curran (25-5).
Surtin will wrestle Lockport's Matt Ramos (33-4) for the championship.
Cahokia's Jacob Bullock (33-0) will wrestle for the Class 2A 220-pound state championship after a first-round pin in the semifinals. Bullock will square off with Apollo Gothard (44-2) on Saturday.
Roxana's Alex Maguire (39-4) will face Newman Central Catholic's Brody Ivey (47-2) in the Class 1A 152-pound championship on Saturday.
Althoff's Anthony Federico and Maxwell Kristoff will wrestle for state championships. Federico (47-3) will square off with Aurora Christian's Noah Villarreal (42-4) in the Class 1A 132-pound championship match. Kristoff (43-4) will face Rock Ridge's Nolan Throne (39-1) in the Class 1A 145-pound championship.