Kylian Lally is particular about his precious medals.
The Dixon junior wrestles virtually year-round, and when he wins a medal from a tournament, he displays it in his room. The medals are neatly aligned in front of a “Dixon Dukes” sign. Only one time, something wasn’t right. A medal was missing.
“I started freaking out. I couldn’t find it, so I told my dad,” Lally said. “He said I woke him, but he was already up. It was like 12 o’clock. Then I found it. It was on the floor. It was late, so I guess I wasn’t thinking.”
Lally will soon try to add to his medal collection, and on the line is the one he covets most.
The postseason begins Saturday at the Class 2A Rock Island Regional, and he hopes it will lead him on a path to the medal stand at the state tournament in 2 weeks.
A state medal would be the centerpiece to his collection.
“I’d put it right in the middle,” the 138-pound Lally said.
Lally (32-6) has put himself in position where a long postseason run is a possibility, if not a probability. He won his first high school tournament Dec. 8 at Sterling, and followed that up by taking top honors on Jan. 19 at the Northern Illinois Big-12 Tournament in Sycamore.
“I’m definitely happy with where I’m at right now,” Lally said.
Even in defeat, Lally has shown growth. At the Princeton Tournament on Jan. 5, Lally suffered a 5-2 defeat to Dakota’s Brandon Lizer in the third-place bout. Twice, Lizer subjected Lally to fireman’s carries, leading to takedowns.
The wrestlers met again last Thursday in Dakota. Lizer, ranked fourth at 145 pounds by Illinois Matmen, won a 4-3 decision, but was unable to execute the moves he used to be successful before. It’s all part of the maturation process, according to Dixon coach Chris Bishop.
“You could just see mentally he’s starting to figure other people out,” he said, “so he can adjust what he’s doing to the people he’s wrestling. He’s picking up on things a lot of wrestlers in high school don’t. Some kids go out there, they wrestle one way, and that’s the way they wrestle.
“He’s able to adapt himself to an opponent, and that’s a good thing.”
Lally has done whatever he deemed necessary to have success on the mat. After playing football his first 2 years in school, he gave that up to concentrate on wrestling. He did go out for cross country for the first time in his life, however, when is was pointed out all that running would aid his wrestling.
He ended up being the No. 7 runner for a state-qualifying squad, but there is no doubt where his athletic priorities lie.
A two-time wrestling sectional qualifier, Lally was on the state tourney bubble a year ago. He was winning a 132-pound wrestleback at the Sterling Sectional against Yorkville’s Jacob Hurt before Hurt won by pin in the second period. Hurt went on to win his next match, for third place, and punch his ticket to state.
“It definitely sucked last year,” Lally said. “I didn’t like that feeling, and I don’t want to feel it again.”
School: Dixon, junior
FYI: Currently is 32-6 at 138 poounds. ... Won titles at Sterling Invitational and NIB-12 Tournament. ... Two-time sectional qualifier