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ALTON – Edwardsville duo Noah Surtin and Luke Odom are heading back to the IHSA Class 3A individual state wrestling tournament this weekend at Champaign-Urbana's State Farm Center.

Surtin, who placed fifth in last year's tournament at 113 pounds, and Odom, who finished third in last year's tournament at 106, will be aiming to bring back state championships to Edwardsville in the tournament, which gets under way Thursday and runs through Saturday night.

Both Surtin, a junior, and Odom, a sophomore, won their weight classes Saturday at the Class 3A Alton Sectional, Surtin winning at 113 pounds and Odom at 126 pounds. But both wrestlers are seeing this as a step in many steps needed to bring back a title.

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“It feels good,” Surtin said, “but as Luke said, it's just step two; we've got the regionals as step one and step two and step three's state. Hopefully we can both go up and win.”

“It's just one more step for Saturday night (at the state tournament),” Odom said.

The road to sectional championships weren't easy ones; the competition was difficult, Surtin felt. “It was tough,” Surtin said. “I had a lot of good competition – I had a couple of grind matches, but I had good competition. It's going to be tough, especially out of sectionals; I had a good sectional, but I knew it was going to be tough.”

“It's just what I do,” Odom said. “I had a tough finals match.”

Preparation for the state tournament won't change for the pair. “We'll do what we do all year, have a couple of good practices,” Surtin said, “make sure we freshen up right and feel good.”

“Make sure we're healthy all the time and stay healthy throughout the tournament,” added Odom.

An Edwardsville wrestler has never won a state individual championship in the tournament's 80-plus year history; both Surtin and Odom are aiming to do just that this weekend. If both could accomplish that feat together, they would be very happy. “That'd be great,” Surtin said about that possible accomplishment.

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