Kaneland's Phillips wins I-8 title
Sycamore's Brayden Peet and Sandwich's Aiden Linden kicked off a stretch of four straight title matches Saturday at the Interstate 8 Conference between the two teams.
And while Peet continued his success against his foe from Sandwich, the Indians ended up claiming the team title with 218 points.
"It was a great match, came down to 4-3, just didn't go our way," said Sandwich coach Derek Jones, calling it the match of the tournament. "We actually got a takedown this time, which we've been missing the last couple times we've wrestled him. So it's good to see that progress."
Peet was one of four champions for Sycamore, which finished third with 172 points. Rochelle, with three champions, took second with 184 points and Sandwich had four champs and 218 points to win the team title.
Kaneland's Cam Phillips, Ottawa's Tristan Simmons and La Salle-Peru's Connor Lorden won individual titles.
Linden scored an early takedown against Peet, but the Sycamore senior was up 3-2 by the end of the first. Linden got an escape to start the second and Peet got an escape to start the third to secure the win.
It was Peet's first conference tournament title after taking second as a sophomore. There was no tournament last year.
"Feels good especially since we didn't have one last year," Peet said. "I'm not saying I would have won it, but it's nice to know I got at least one under my belt. I'm excited, but not too excited because we have Sterling this week, then regionals in two weeks."
The Spartans also won the next two matches against the Indians, with Gus Cambier notching a second-period pin against Bryce Decker at 160, then Zack Crawford pulling out a 5-2 win over Sammy Dale.
Dale actually took a 2-0 lead on Crawford in the first, but Crawford survived the takedown and claimed the third Sycamore title.
"They did their job again," Sycamore coach Alex Nelson said. "Brayden had a tough one with Linden, and Linden is a tough kid, ranked high in the state in 1A. They've had some battles this year already. And for him and Zack both to get taken down initially, see how they respond initially, it's good to see. Sectional tournament, things like that you might get taken down right away so you need to bounce back. I was pleased to see them both not panic and roll from there."
In the 182 match, Sandwich's Alex Alfaro flipped the script on the Spartans, pinning Gable Carrick in the second period.
"He does a good job of wrestling strong and in position a lot of the time," Jones said. "He's been good for us all year."
The fourth sycamore title belonged to Lincoln Cooley, who pinned Jaden Cook of Rochelle in 1:29. The match was scoreless when Cooley got his takedown and pin in a matter of seconds.
"He's been an anchor for us, especially at the end of the lineup," Nelson said. "He's just starting to realize how good he can be. I think he's got some big things ahead of him."
Miles Corder won a title at 126 for Sandwich, upsetting Kaneland's Caden Grabowski in 3:09 for the win. Evan Reilly also took home a championship for Sandwich at 138 with a 12-4 win over Sycamore's Trent Dumont.
"Finally we got our full lineup," Jones said. "First time all year actually we filed our 14 varsity kids I thought we'd have at the beginning of the year. They're a good group of [kids]. They wrestled tough. Sycamore, Rochelle would have been a lot closer to us but they had a couple scratches and people injured and whatnot."
Jones said Corder, a sophomore, is an unconventional wrestler and has been improving substantially as the year has gone on. He got a late takedown and some back points to lead 5-0 on Grabowski after one period, and got an escape and a takedown early in the second to upset Grabowski, the No. 1 seed.
"(Grabowski) wrestled well his first match," Kaneland coach Ken Paoli said. "In the second match we played into our opponent's strengths too much. He knows it. We're going to work on some things in the room. He now what he needs to work on before regional so he can make a little run at state."
Phillips started the title round with a first-period pin for the Knights against Rochelle's Tommy Tourdot. Not only has he won the tournament every year of his varsity career, he was named the outstanding wrestler in the lower classes on Saturday. Peet was the upper classes outstanding wrestler, as voted on by the coaches.
"There were some mistakes, some stuff we need to clean up," Phillips said. "But ultimately we came out on top. It's pretty nice I guess. [Outstanding wrestler] wasn't something I was particularly going for. It was just a nice bonus."
Paoli said from the start of the year Phillips is shooting for not just a state berth but a strong finish. He said that is turning closer to reality.
"I can't wait to see what he does in the state series," Paoli said. "We're looking to make a big run and go deep. He's eyeballing No. 1. We're studying matches every day we can, at lunches together, and talking about those little detail techniques that will help take him to the next level"
Simmons notched a 12-6 win for the Pirates, who took sixth. He and Sandwich's Sy Smith were in an early 4-4 battle after one, including a pair of reverses of Smith. He chose to start on the bottom in the second, Simmons picked up some back points and took control from there.
Ottawa coach Peter Marx said it was the first match in more than two weeks for Simmons.
"We've been battling the COVID issues and some injury issues, so we haven't had a full team in a while," Marx said. "But for bringing a small contingent I think we wrestled well."
Lorden picked up the Cavaliers' lone title with a first-period pin of Sandwich's Connor Holly.
The Cavs took seventh as a team, but coach Matthew Rrebholz said he was pleased with how his young team did - especially the JV team, which was third behind co-champs Kaneland and Rochelle.
"We have a tough conference," Rebholz said. "Half the time it was a Sycamore-Sandwich dual there for the finals. But Connor wrestled really well. He went out there aggressive. I think he's at the point he's ready for the postseason."