This week’s Adidas High School Wrestler of the Week, Anthony Molton of Lockport, Illinois earned the honor after winning his first Illinois 3A state championship at the 120 lb weight class. Anthony had perhaps the most challenging path to a title of any wrestler that has competed at a state tournament so far this season. He entered the tournament unranked nationally, yet pulled two of the week’s biggest upsets and avenged a pair of defeats from earlier this year. In the semifinals, Molton majored Montini Catholic’s third-ranked Joey Melendez, 11-2, denying Melendez a chance at becoming a three-time state champion. The Lockport grappler jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period, on the strength of a takedown and back points. Molton defended a desperate, overzealous Melendez in the third and was able to tack on the points needed to pick up a major. At the Cheesehead in early January, Melendez defeated Molton 14-7.
In the finals, Anthony faced fourth-ranked Travis Ford-Melton of Marian Catholic. Unlike his semi-final match, Molton needed to battle back, as he trailed 3-0 in the second period. The bout was not decided in the six minutes of regulation and a minute of sudden victory overtime. Molton was given an escape in the tiebreaker then proceeded to counter Ford-Melton for a match and title-clinching takedown. Just a week ago at the state sectional, Ford-Melton won the championship with a 16-5 major decision over Molton. If those two wins were not enough, in the quarterfinals Molton defeated the eventual third-place finisher Joel Vandervere of Warren, 10-7. Anthony will finish his junior campaign with a record of 46-7.
Congratulations to Anthony Molton TOM’s Adidas High School Wrestler of the Week!