His Lockport coaches and teammates hoped he would lead the Porters to a second consecutive team state trophy after a third-place finish last season in Class 3A.
Instead, Thompson — FloWrestling’s top-ranked wrestler in the nation at 182 pounds — will end his high school career over 700 miles away.
Thompson is transferring to Stillwater in Oklahoma, in the same town as the college he has signed with, Oklahoma State.
Lockport coach Jameson Oster said the team was blindsided, learning the news from a FloWrestling article that was published Jan. 9.
“He’s a great wrestler, but that’s behind us and we’re looking forward,” Oster said. “If he doesn’t want to be here, we’re going to be fine. We still have the same goal to win a trophy at team state.
“One of our school mottos is ‘Best together,’ about unifying our two campuses. But this past week, it’s become one of our team mottos. We’re best together and we’re going to go win as a team.”
Thompson, who could not be reached for comment, went 45-0 last season and won the 170-pound title in Class 3A. It was his first season at Lockport after starting at Montini and spending his sophomore year in Missouri.
The Porters (15-8) responded well to the loss, going 4-0 in duals last week, including a huge 36-25 win over Lincoln-Way East.
That victory snapped a two-year dual winning streak for the Griffins and put Lockport in position to take back the SouthWest Suburban Blue title after Lincoln-Way East won the conference for the first time last season.
“We competed really well as a team,” Oster said. “I think, as a whole, it’s the best we wrestled all year. I think it shows the character of our team that we were able to work through some adversity and come together.
“Those are skills you’re going to use throughout your life, not just on the wrestling mat.”
Steve Millar is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.