It’s been a while since the Pekin wrestling team has had a state tournament qualifier. 

Five years, to be exact. Alex Bleeker was a junior in 2014 when he qualified at 182 pounds.

The Dragons have two state qualifiers in 2019. Ryan Haynes (126) finished fourth and Jared Dowell (195) placed third Saturday at the Class 3A Joliet Sectional and each earned a spot in this week’s state tournament at the State Farm Center in Champaign.

The top four finishers in each weight class at sectionals move on to the state tournament.

“Ryan and Jared are both super excited ... and relieved,” said Pekin coach John Jacobs. “They’ve each been wrestling for a long time and getting to state is the ultimate goal.”

Drake Hawkins (132) also competed for the Dragons at Joliet Central. He went 2-2 before being eliminated in the consolation round.

For more on Pekin’s state tournament qualifiers, see the Pekin Times and later this week. The state tournament begins Thursday and continues through Saturday.

Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.