CHAMPAIGN -- Wauconda's Devon Tortorice may look back on his opening-round match in the wrestling state tournament Thursday afternoon and realize his thrilling victory over No. 9 Randy Meneweather (37-10, Washington) might be that little something extra to fuel a long run in the Class 2A bracket.
The senior's breathtaking 2-1 triumph in OT kept his hopes alive, sending him into today's quarterfinals at Assembly Hall against Creed Jones (Mattoon, 33-5) when the second day of competition gets under way at 8:30 a.m.
"He really tied me up a lot in the first two periods, but I was expecting a tough match from him," said an exhausted Tortorice, who used an escape in the second extra session to edge his opponent. "I was at my best when I needed to be, but I'll have to be even better (Friday) morning."
The three-time state qualifier, who came into the tournament as the No. 9-rated 132-pounder, will be joined by teammate Nate Magiera (220, 34-1) who won his 100th career victory for the Bulldogs after overwhelming Nick Czar (Highland) 7-0 to set up a date with Lindbloom junior Duece Rachel (17-0).
The news continued to be all good for Class 2A in the area, with Antioch senior Mike Gussarson (37-10) advancing on the bottom half of the 132-pound bracket following a strong effort over No. 3 Esai Ponce (Kaneland, 33-6) 5-1.
"There was a bit of those first-match jitters in me, but once I got into the match a little bit more, I felt a lot like myself," said Gussarson, who faces Kyle Rodriguez (Lincoln-Way East, 41-5) next.
Junior Jordan Reich (Vernon Hills, 43-5) had far too much firepower for Dillon Lee (Canton, 33-12) in a 19-7 major decision victory to begin what he hopes is a successful run.
"That's been my goal ever since the start of January when I dropped down to wrestle at 106 after competing at 113 up until the Leyden Invite," said Reich, who's gone 20-2 since then, defeating No. 2 Danny Swan (Oak Forest) in the final in Franklin Park.
Top-rated Jake Cochrane (Carmel, 41-1) was less than thrilled with his six-minute match against Kendal Parker (Freeport, 26-8), but the Corsairs' big man still managed a 3-1 decision to move into the quarterfinals. Cochrane next faces Darwin Stone (Crystal Lake Central, 17-9).
"It was a long wait before (we) wrestled, and I was a little nervous, but that's no excuse for how I wrestled out there tonight," said Cochrane, who is here for the third consecutive season.
There were only a few bright spots at 3A, and the Justin Weber (Stevenson), Danny Hicks (Warren) and Tony Cashmore (Grant) provided them.
Weber made a spectacular start to a hopeful challenge for some silverware with his 11-1 major decision victory over Luke Gruszka (37-7), the Mid-Suburban League champ from Schaumburg.
"It felt good to be 100 percent healthy and ready to go for this weekend," said Weber (39-3), who last week at the Barrington sectional struggled through a 104-degree fever. "I was just gassed out there last weekend, but I battled through in order to just get here, and tonight was a very good start to the tournament for me."
Hicks recorded a 7-3 victory, his first here in his career, defeating Colton Wegner (Glenbard North) to advance against Alex Benoit (39-6) of Marist.
Cashmore continued his winning ways Thursday evening with a 11-8 victory over a talented Tyler Johnson (Lockport, 35-12) to run his record to 30-1. Next for Cashmore is No. 1 Joe Ariola (OPRF, 43-0).
Steve Polakowski (120, 40-5) and teammate Kayne MacCallum (160, 40-4) both of whom were the best hopes for Libertyville, were each sent packing into the consolation bracket, where they hope to stay alive if their first round opponent continues to win.
Polakowski fell in OT to Shayne Oster (Lockport) while the junior MacCallum drew closer (8-7) with Nuntrae Jackson (Brother 32-2) late in his match, until the Brother Rice junior added 2 to seal a 10-7 victory.