PRINCETON – A lack of bodies has put Newman at a disadvantage all season when it comes to dual meet success.
In wrestling tournaments, however, the Comets’ stars have a chance to shine their brightest, and that was the case Saturday at the Class 1A Princeton Regional. Newman placed third as a team, had four champs, and had six athletes move on to the Oregon Sectional, slated for Friday and Saturday.
A total of 22 area wrestlers advanced. Joining the six from Newman were five from Morrison, four each from Polo and Amboy, and three from AFC.
The four Newman champions were Kyle Tunink (120 pounds), Brody Ivey (145), Mason Newman (170) and Ryan Waldschmidt (182).
Tunink made quick work of Polo’s Connor Eubanks, winning by pin in 1 minute, 44 seconds.
Ivey took on a familiar foe in Morrison’s Reilly Dolan, and won by pin in 3:19. Ivey led 6-5 after a wild first period, then took advantage of an opportunity in the second.
“We got caught in a really weird scramble position,” Ivey said. “Somehow I ended up on top, finishing with an inside-leg cradle. Thankfully, I was able to put him away there.”
The 170-pound Newman was dominant the whole way in pinning Princeton’s Zach Bohms in 4:37.
“I had good positioning
and kept up the pace,” Newman said. “I wanted to keep it fast.”
Waldschmidt found himself trailing 8-3 midway through the third period when he got AFC’s Brian Elshoff to his back. He polished off the pin at the 5:34 mark.
“I just had nothing to lose,” Waldschmidt said. “I was already going to sectionals, so why not win?”
Cael Sanders, the Comets’ 152-pounder who entered with just one loss, suffered his second defeat, this time to Kewanee’s Lewis Robinson, who won 10-9. Robinson, a state runner-up a year ago at 145, scored a takedown with 33 seconds remaining for the winning points.
“Considering that kid was in the finals last year, it really lets me know where I’m at in the season,” Sanders said. “Even though I lost, it was a pretty good match. I wrestled well. I’ve just got to correct a few errors the next time I get him.”
The Comets’ sixth sectional qualifier is Nick Eddinger, who was third at 285. He won by technical fall against Princeton’s Judson Wright in the third-place bout.
Leading the way for Morrison was the Linke brothers, Colton and Augustus.
Colton Linke won a 106-pound title with a pin of St. Bede’s Dominic Bima in a mere 1:16.
Augustus Linke took the 138-pound crown with a 13-3 major decision against Kewanee’s Trenton Gromm.
“The first period, neither one of us really got control,” Augustus Linke said. “The second period, I went bottom, got out, and got a quick takedown afterwards. Then I got some nearfall [points] out of it, and that helped me take control going into the third period.”
Dolan was runner-up to Newman’s Ivey at 145. The Mustangs’ other finalist was 126-pounder Ryan Kennedy, who fell 4-0 to St. Bede’s Charles Korey.
Morrison’s fifth qualifier was 182-pounder Chace Garland, who pinned Polo’s Mason McKenna in 57 seconds to take third place.
Polo had a champion in 132-pounder Austin Horn. He gained a 17-6 major decision against St. Bede’s Noah Setser.
“Setser is a complex wrestler,” Horn said. “He puts you in weird situations, and I had to push through the hard spots where he almost put me on my back a couple of times. Other than that, I just thought I was in better shape than him.”
Eubanks was second at 120 pounds to Newman’s Tunink, while Marcus McKenna was the runner-up to Princeton’s Peyton Hammerich at 160. Hammerich won by pin 1:15.
The Marcos’ fourth qualifier was Caleb Guthrie, who was third at 113. He pinned St. Bede’s Beau Gerber in 1:19 to earn a sectional berth.
Amboy had four wrestlers win third-place bouts: Bradley Gazza (120), Hayden Montavon (132), Chris Morris (195) and Luke Schaver (220).
Gazza had recently lost by pin to Kewanee’s Bryan Orwig, and it wasn’t looking too good in the third-place bout, either. Orwig led 13-4 in the third period before Gazza pulled off a stunning pin at the 5:07 mark.
“It was a rib cradle,” Gazza said. “That was my first time actually doing it right. It was impressive.”
AFC had a pair of runners-up in 182-pounder Elshoff and 195-pounder Colin Kaecker. Elshoff was pinned by Newman’s Waldschmidt, while Kaecker was pinned by Princeton’s Dallas Hill in 5:31.
The Raiders’ Sam Hahn was third at 145 pounds. He gained a 7-4 decision against Princeton’s Jakob Ebner in the third-place bout.
Princeton (157 points) topped Kewanee (139) and Newman (118) to take top team honors. The Tigers advance to the Morrison Dual Team Sectional on Tuesday, Feb. 20.