CHAMPAIGN – Bryce Ivey had a minute to win it, but in the end, the big prize slipped away.
The Newman senior was on the verge of winning a Class 1A championship at 170 pounds, but was unable to hang onto a late lead, and dropped a 6-2 decision to Bishop McNamara sophomore Kyle Betourne at the IHSA State Wrestling Tournament at State Farm Center.
Betourne (27-0) and Ivey (38-2) were ranked 1-2 by Illinois Matmen, and their one – and only – meeting lived up to the hype. After a scoreless first period, Ivey scored a reversal with 1:03 remaining in the second period.
He rode out Betourne the rest of that period, and the first minute of the third before the tide turned. Betourne scored a reversal of his own to knot the score 2-2 with a minute to go.
"He was just strong, and had really powerful hips," Ivey said. "He's a great wrestler. He's so quick off the whistle. He just had a little more movement and a little more strength than I did."
Betourne, who took third at 152 pounds as a freshman, was simply too much for Ivey to handle down the stretch. Ivey found himself on his back twice in the final 45 seconds, and the four back points were enough for Betourne to take the title.
"I hit a tilt, because he was tired," Betourne said when asked about the go-ahead points.
"I got fatigued by the end of it," Ivey said, "and my anxiety and adrenaline got to me. It made it that much easier for him to turn me."
Ivey was unable to hold back tears after the bout, while on the award stand, and while sitting on the State Farm Center floor. A team of athletic trainers checked him out briefly, to make sure he was OK.
It was Ivey's second appearance at the state tournament. A year ago, he lost both of his bouts. He noted a run to this year's finals might bring a smile to his face someday, but not too soon.
"As much as I hurt right now, it's going to feel great," Ivey said. "I'm so proud of all my accomplishments this year. I wish I could have won this, but I had a great senior year. It was more than I probably thought I ever could have done in previous years."
It was the first loss to a Class 1A wrestler this season for Ivey. His only previous setback was to a 3A opponent, Derek Biliskov of Plainfield South, in the finals of the Plano Tournament.
"Hat's off to Betourne, he's a great wrestler," Newman coach Steve Davis said, "but what a great season for Ivey."