Former Graham wrestling star dies in car accident

A former Graham state wrestling champion died in a one-vehicle rollover crash Thursday night in Illinois.

According to published reports, Eli Stickley, 21, was driving a 2004 Nissan Frontier westbound on Interstate 74 around 8:20 p.m.

The Illinois State Police report his vehicle went off the right side of the roadway and into the ditch. Stickley then overcorrected and rolled across the westbound lanes of traffic before coming to rest on the passenger side of the truck in the left lane. Stickley and his passenger were transported to Illini Hospital in Silvis, Ill., where Stickley was pronounced dead. He was on his way to visit his twin sister in Iowa.

His passenger was reported to be in stable condition.

Stickley was coming off his freshman season at the University of Wisconsin. He was an NCAA national qualifier at 141 pounds and placed sixth at the Big Ten tournament.

Stickley won a Division II state title at 120 pounds for Graham in 2014.

The University of Wisconsin Athletics released a statement following Stickley’s death.

“Our hearts are heavy today,” the statement began. “The entire Badger Athletics family extends its most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of junior Eli Stickley, a student-athlete with our wrestling team, who passed away last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with Eli’s family, friends, teammates, and coaches.”