They came from places such as Urbana, Ill., home of the Sweetcorn Festival, and spots all over the state of Illinois. No, this was not a wrestling juggernaut. The Illinois State wrestling team occasionally knocked off a few top-20 teams in duals but was never going to hoist a national championship trophy. The team operated on a shoestring budget. Three to four guys to a room on road trips, one bus rolling through stops all over the barren Midwestern landscape.
Kevin Bracken's wrestling career took him all over the world, but he always had a soft spot in his heart for those guys from his college days. That's why it was so hard for him when Illinois State called and wanted to add his name to the Redbirds' Hall of Fame. Hard feelings don't necessarily fade in time, especially with someone as stubborn as a wrestler.