PRINCETON – There was a method to Jake Snow's one-legged madness on Saturday at Princeton Invitational.
Snow and teammate Bryce Ivey each claimed titles at the elite Class 1A wrestling tournament, leading Newman to a sixth-place finish against a field that included 15 of the top 25 teams in the state, based on the latest Illinois Matmen rankings.
The Comets are currently receiving honorable mention notice, but amassed 133 points to finish behind just Dakota (270.5), Byron (181.5), Monticello (168), Plano (166) and Vandalia (138).
"We had a great tournament across the board," Newman coach Steve Davis said.
Leading the way for Newman were seniors Snow, a champ at 145 pounds, and Ivey, the 170-pound winner.
Snow and Dakota junior J.J. Wolfe each managed only escapes in regulation time, then battled through a scoreless overtime period. In double OT, Snow won the toss and chose the down position. He escaped with 8 seconds left, after successfully extricating himself from Wolfe, who had Snow's right leg in his clutches.
"Bottom is usually my dominant position," Snow said. "I can usually get out pretty easily, and my practice partners know that. They grab at my legs. Sometimes they can hold on, sometimes they can't. You just learn to keep kicking and keep moving around. That's all I could do there."
Wolfe then had the down position for 30 seconds, and at the least, needed to escape to tie the score. The scenario repeated itself, only this time, Snow was able to hang onto Wolfe's leg to prevent an escape.
"I do a lot of weightlifting, pulling people in and holding on," Snow said. "I was pretty confident I'd be able to hold on and pull out the win."
Ivey was dominant in the 170-pound final against LeRoy's Caleb Wilson, executing three takedowns on his way to a 7-3 victory. He never put himself in any danger against a wrestler he also beat at the St. Thomas More tournament just after Christmas. That score was 7-4.
"I learned that my shots are wide open on him," Ivey said, "and I can take him down pretty much when I choose so."
"Bryce did exactly what he needed to do," Davis added. "He's undersized at 170. He only weighs 162 pounds. You've got to get one takedown, and then make them work toward you, and he does that every time."
Newman had one other finalist in sophomore 160-pounder Brady Rude, but he lost his finals bout to Plano's Wes Brown, 3-1 in overtime. Brown had the lone takedown, with 8 seconds remaining in OT, to finish off the win.
"It was a great move on his part," Rude said. "I might have been out of position a little bit, but it was a nice move by Wes. I couldn't do anything about that."
Rude is now 22-2, with both of his losses coming to Brown. The Reaper won a 4-3 decision in the finals of the Plano Invite last month.
"I hit a duck-under, and I was able to lift him," Brown said. "It was tough out there. Whoever got the first opening was going to win the match. Luckily it was me."
Newman's other placewinner was Brandon Ahlgrim, who finished fourth at 152 pounds. He aggravated an injury to his right ankle in a wrestleback bout against Plano's Zach Tomac, and gave up an injury default in the third-place bout to Litchfield's Caleb Thompson.
Morrison finished with 52 points, tied for 21st place with PORTA. Leading the way for the Mustangs was Tyler Todd, who placed sixth at 220 pounds.
Dixon had 43.5 points, good for 25th place. The top performer for the Dukes was Kylian Lally, third at 145 pounds.
Rock Falls picked up 36 points, good for a tie with Rockridge for 27th place. The top Rocket was Lucas Newburgh, sixth at 182 pounds.
The most outstanding wrestlers were a pair of Dakota Indians, 132-pounder Josh Alber in the lower weights and 152-pounder Carver James in the upper weights.
Alber (24-0) won his fourth consecutive Princeton title, the first time in the tournament's 51-year history that has been accomplished. He is 156-0 for his high school career.
Top 5 teams
1. Dakota 270.5
2. Byron 181.5
3. Monticello 168
4. Plano 166
5. Vandalia 138
Local champs: Jake Snow (145), Bryce Ivey (170), both of Newman