Another close call at Leyden as Stevenson slips past Jacobs
There have been plenty of close calls of late at Leyden's wrestling invitational.
Just last year, Conant edged Stevenson by 2 points to lift its fifth consecutive championship trophy. And three years ago, the Cougars slipped past Oak Forest by just 1 point to keep their streak alive.
On Saturday in Franklin Park, Conant saw its marvelous run come to an end.
Yet there was still high drama.
After leading from start to nearly finish, Jacobs watched Stevenson earn the 40th annual title when a victory with bonus points from a fall by Charles Longsworth helped decide the outcome.
"We received two terrific individual championships from Eric Carter and Dylan Geick, but you saw just how much wrestling is a team sport when Charles got us that win at 220 pounds, along with his win to push us past Jacobs," said Stevenson coach Shane Cook. "Conant has kind of had our number, along with the rest of the field here. So to outscore them and all the others at a quality tournament like this is a fine achievement for our guys."
Jacobs held a 6-point lead (174.5-168.5) over Stevenson before the final round and was still in control midway through the last session (182-178) until a late run by the Patriots allowed them to total 186 overall points to the 184.5 Jacobs scored.
Conant finished third with 169 points, with Oak Forest next with 159 points, followed by 1A power Harvard rounding out the top five with 134 points.
"I thought we had it," said Jacobs coach Gary Conrad, whose team was a late addition to the tournament and had quite a showing in its first Leyden visit.
Conrad's team earned 11 medals, the best on the day coming from Jake Harrier (26-5). He defeated three of the top fours, including No. 3 Alex Giuliano (Conant), to capture the top prize at 113 with a hard-fought 4-3 decision.
"He beat one top seed after another, and had quite a day," said Conrad.
Justin Peters (106), David Dudych (152) and Jacob Sabella (160, 26-6) all reached their respective finals, then fell short in bids to join Harrier atop the podium.
"Justin and David wrestled well in their finals, and Jacob just ran into maybe the eventual state champion (Geick) but still competed well against him," Conrad said.
Geick, the No. 2-rated 160-pounder in the state, continued to shine after collecting his second major title of the season to run his record to 25-1.
"I felt a little slow and sluggish out there today, especially in my second match of the day," said Geick after his 11-5 victory over Sabella. "But in that final, things came together a little more for me. I just wish I could have gotten a major to help our team out a little more."
Carter (21-5) needed extra time to defeat Alex Rosenbaum (7-5) of Highland Park in the 145-pound final.
"A real barn-burner," said the Duke-bound senior.
It went into overtime even at 4-4 until an escape, followed by a takedown, did the trick for Carter.
Earlier in the last session of the day, the Burlington Central dynamic duo of Austin Macias (120, 21-0) and sophomore Nick Termini (132, 22-1) both rolled past the competition with dominant performances to give Central coach Vince Govea plenty to smile about.
"Those two showed a lot today, as they have all season long, and we nearly got another one to make it three-for-three in the finals," said Govea, who watched senior Erik Hansen (17-5) see his hopes dashed in an overtime thriller at 195.
"This match went a lot like the first time, when I beat him at the Harvard Tournament," said Termini, whose 5-1 decision over Justin Wilcox of Harvard was highlighted by a big throw near the end of regulation to ensure his victory. "That first time, I beat (8-3) with a similiar move, so I knew it might be there again today."
Macias solidified his No. 2 state ranking with a magnificent effort, culiminating with a 7-1 triumph over No. 6-ranked Brandon Muselman of Oak Forest.
Conant managed to earn nine medals, none better than the one from senior Eric Hominac at 170. His blistering attack on three opponents ended with a pin at 1:40 over Anthony Kluk of Oak Forest.
"I give all of the credit to my success to our coaching staff, which is just amazing," said Hominac (20-4) who pinned his way to his title. "They took a guy like me with very little experience and turned me into a pretty good wrestler. Without them, I would be nothing."
Conat's Giuliano and Tyler Futris (126) each lost 1-point decisions in their final.
Vernon Hills senior Collin Turley was the lone Cougar to advance to the finals. The 220-pounder saw his day end with a fall at 5:58 against Skyler Hufeld of Normal West.
"Collin wrestled well today, but you cannot make a mistake like he did at the end -- especially later on when things count for much more," said Vernon Hills coach Jerry Miceli.
Tourney host Leyden enjoyed a fair amount of success to finish ninth overall with 83 points. The Eagles were led by senior Shane Dziadosz (20-9), who navigated his way through the 138-pound bracket until falling to Oak Forest senior Harry Sellers in the title bout.
Sophomore Ryan Jaffray finished a fine day of work with a third-place finish at 220 pounds, ending with a pin at 5:05 over Andrew Mays (Oak Forest) to earn the Eagles' sixth medal of the day.