STERLING – All Dixon and Sterling were looking for Saturday at the 40th annual Carson DeJarnatt Invitational inside Musgrove Fieldhouse was two.
Two points at a time from their wrestlers, that is.
And when the dust settled, Sterling ironically took home second place with 187 points, and had two title winners. Dixon finished third with 185 points, and also had two individual champions.
The Golden Warriors and Dukes accomplished what they wanted in different ways, though.
For Sterling, two freshmen in Brayden Porter and Mauricio Garcia won titles in their first varsity tournaments.
“They’re brawlers. They come to practice and challenge the upperclassmen, and the upperclassmen push them,” Sterling coach Jeff Gale said of Porter and Garcia. “They’re ready to wrestle 100 percent all the time, and are used to these moments.”
For Dixon, an experienced sophomore in Sebastian Quintana and a gritty junior in Clint Schielein took home the top hardware.
Porter wasted no time in his 120-pound championship bout, pinning Pleasant Valley (Iowa)’s Hunter Meyrer in just 1:44.
“The opportunity was there, and I just took it,” Porter said. “If I feel like I have to take a shot, I’ll do it. I just went for it.”
Garcia, on the other hand, was a bit more patient, waiting until 5:41 had ticked off the clock before pinning Belvidere North’s Issac Hernandez. A takedown by the Sterling freshman put him up 5-2 after the second period, and as his opponent became desperate, he finally saw his chance.
“I like to feel them out,” Garcia said. “They’ll go at me, then I’ll make my moves on them. I saw openings. He [Hernandez] was good on bottom and could get out, so my game plan was on my feet.”
Both Quintana’s and Schielein’s wins came at the expense of Sterling wrestlers in the finals. Quintana defeated Turner Garcia at 160 pounds by a 5-2 decision in a sectional rematch from last year, while Schielein took the full time to defeat Moises Lopez 2-0 at 182 pounds.
Turner Garcia went up 2-0 in the first period after taking advantage of a Quintana gamble with a takedown. After a takedown by the Dixon sophomore tied it up in the second, the Sterling senior held on for more than a minute to keep it tied. Just as Turner Garcia was about to make an escape, Quintana caught his move and went the other way for two points, and ultimately the win.
“Turner is really great on top. He’s going to look to turn you,” Dixon coach Chris Bishop said. “We knew it was going to be close. The move at the end was just Sebastian trying to work him over.”
Quintana defeated Turner Garcia by a 9-3 decision at the 2A Sterling Sectional a season ago at 152 pounds to claim a state berth, and the two friends are on course to clash in the postseason again, possibly in the 160 finals.
“I tried to get him to the ground early,” Quintana said. “I executed in the second and third periods. That’s how I came out with a win.”
Schielein and Lopez grappled for nearly all 6 minutes with neither appearing more dominant than the other. Both juniors had their chances for a takedown, but ultimately it was the Dixonite who came up with the decisive move with just 11 seconds left before overtime.
“The whole time I was on the ground, he was wrenching me,” Schielein said of Lopez. “I kept thinking that I only needed one point. This year, I’ve learned that patience is great for my technique. If you don’t have patience out there, you’ll go crazy and do ridiculous stuff.”
“He kept composure,” Bishop said. “He knew what he had to do in his position to win.”
Noah Garcia took second at 132 pounds for Sterling after a tech fall by Pleasant Valley’s Eli Loyd in the finals. An entertaining first period that featured a pair of reversals by both wrestlers gave way to a one-sided affair in the second.
“I think we put ourselves in danger when we didn’t need to,” Gale said. “It doesn’t need to be fancy; we just need to stick to the basics a little more. That’s going to come with watching film.”
Dixon’s Dylan Messer won a grueling 2-1 decision over Clinton (Iowa)’s Dawson Trowel in the 220-pound semifinals, but lost via pin just 2:21 into his finals bout with Pleasant Valley’s Carter Sergeant.
The Dukes’ Finn Brandon only needed 1:36 to pin Pleasant Valley’s Max O’Brien for third place at 220 pounds. Hunter Pate won a 9-6 decision over United Township’s Cade Harris in the 170-pound third-place bout.
Sterling’s Julian Rodriguez used a takedown in the final minute of the third period to take third place with a 7-5 decision over Belvidere North’s Mia Rodriguez at 113 pounds.
Clinton won the team title with 217.5 points.