STERLING – One by one, three local wrestlers took their shots at championships at the Carson DeJarnatt Invitational on Saturday at Musgrove Fieldhouse.
One by one, they sauntered off the mat, wishing for a different outcome.
Dixon's Trent Brinkmeier and Kylian Lally, as well as Sterling's Bryant Lilly, were the three local finalists. Each were handed one-sided defeats.
The 138-pound Brinkmeier was the first to take his shot, but was handed a 5-0 defeat by Belvidere North's Adam McConnell.
McConnell had the makings of a single-leg takedown about a minute into the bout, but Brinkmeier wriggled out of bounds. With 10 seconds left in the first period, McConnell was able to execute and finish off the move.
"I knew he was going to come in for that, and I actually felt like I did a pretty good job of defending it," Brinkmeier said. "He was a longer guy, so it was harder to stay away from him. I like to wrestle short and tight, and he's good about coming in from the outside."
McConnell escaped to start the second period, then got another takedown with 37 seconds left in the period to go up 5-0. There was no scoring in the third period.
Brinkmeier (8-3) felt he had some openings against McConnell (6-0), but wasn't aggressive enough in pursuing them.
"I'm definitely going to improve on it and learn from those mistakes," Brinkmeier said. "I should be ready to go next time."
At 145 pounds, Lally (10-1) found himself up against an impressive physical specimen in Ridgewood's Sam Karim, who was dominant in posting a 10-3 victory. Karim, who finished fourth at 145 at last year's Class 2A state tournament, had five takedowns in rolling to the easy win.
"He's strong and quick and he knew how to move," Lally said. "He's just a lot stronger than me."
Karim (3-0) won by pin his first two bouts, and was voted the tourney's outstanding wrestler in the lower weights (106-145).
"I know exactly what I need to work on now," Lally said. "I have to work on my position and technique, and definitely conditioning."
At 195 pounds, Lilly and Clinton's Justin Guilliams battled through a scoreless first period before the River King sophomore took charge.
Lilly (7-2) was in the down position to start the second period, hoping for an escape or a reversal. Instead, he found himself on the receiving end of a cradle, on his back for about 40 seconds and narrowly avoiding a pin.
"I watched his match earlier, and that's all he did on top," Lilly said. "I knew it was coming, but I didn't keep my legs stiff enough. I let them dangle, and he got me. I had to fight like a beast to get out of it."
Lilly was down 4-1 early in the third period, but closed to within 4-2 when Guilliams (7-0) was hit with a stalling call with 24 seconds left in the third period.
In the bout's waning seconds, Lilly made a desperate dive at his opponent's feet, only to give up a bout-clinching takedown.
"I've got to work on bottom," Lilly said. "Bottom is my worst position in wrestling, and I've got to get better at that."
Sterling finished sixth among 12 teams with 113 points. Taking thirds for the Golden Warriors were Nick Terronez (152), Will Canales (220) and Cariel Beasley (285).
Dixon placed 10th with 68.5 points.
Two Iowa schools battled it out for top team honors, and Clinton (239) edged Pleasant Valley (236.5). The River Kings defended their team title, but had to sweat it out against the Spartans, who didn't enter the Sterling event until about 1 p.m. Friday after a tournament in Kirksville, Mo., was canceled due to inclement weather.