ERIE – What was already an awesome tournament for Newman senior Brody Ivey got even better at the end.
Ivey won three bouts to take the 152-pound championship at the 50th annual Panther Holiday Tournament on Saturday. The cherry on the sundae was being named the most outstanding wrestler in the upper weights (152-285), after voting conducted by coaches from 14 participating teams.
It is the first time Ivey has earned such an honor in his high school career.
“I didn’t expect to get it – I was just about to walk out, actually,” Ivey said. “It feels good to get it. The last couple of years, the winner of my bracket has gotten outstanding wrestler, and now it feels good to finally get it.”
The other winners Ivey was referring to are Lena-Winslow/Stockton’s Hunter Luke in 2016, and Orion’s James Schnerre in 2017.
After a first-round bye, Ivey needed just 1 minute, 37 seconds to pin Zach Eaton of East Peoria in the quarterfinals, then was a 5-1 winner against Trent Scharpman of Orion in the semifinals.
In the finals, Ivey (14-1) was locked in a tense 1-1 battle with Rockridge’s Nolan Throne when it got wild. With about a minute to go, each wrestler seemed in position to get the go-ahead takedown, and it was Ivey who executed. He also got three back points to secure a 6-1 win.
“This year in practice, we’re really focused on never stopping moving the whole 6 minutes,” Ivey said. “We got into that crazy scramble where it could have gone either way. He had me in dangerous spots, and I had him in dangerous spots. It’s mostly just not giving up and always having your head up the highest. The guy with the high head wins.”
Newman had another champion in freshman 126-pounder Will Rude, who pinned Alleman’s Billy Taylor in 3:13. Rude (14-2) turned the third of his three takedowns into a match-
“I was just trying to get good shots and not mess up,” Rude said. “I’m trying to perfect my moves.”
Newman finished fifth as a team with 142.5 points. Kyle Tunink (13-2) was a runner-up at 138 pounds after dropping a 5-2 decision to Orion’s Mason Loete. Loete had takedowns in the first and second periods on the way to the win.
Erie-Prophetstown was the second-place team with 179.5 points, behind only Lena-Winslow/Stockton, which had 244.5. The PantherHawks crowned five champions, while the Panthers settled for four runner-up finishers.
Of those, the toughest to take was 182-pounder Gabe Friedrichsen, who lost by default after slamming Ray Herd to the mat midway through the second period. Friedrichsen (17-1) was leading 5-2 at the time.
“I was just in the zone, focused on what I was doing,” Friedrichsen said. “I picked him up, and it was a pretty hard throw, I guess. I understand why they called it.”
Herd (15-0) had dislocated his right shoulder while competing for the Young Guns Wrestling Club back in September and was wearing a brace to protect the injury, but the impact of the blow left him writhing in pain on the mat. After being examined by a trainer, it was determined he could not continue, and boos rained down from the Erie-Prophetstown faithful.
Friedrichsen did his best to keep everything in perspective.
“When they called it, I lost my temper for a little while,” Friedrichsen said. “I thought about it and it’s like, ‘You know, I’m going to wake up [Sunday], eat breakfast and go to church either way.’ I might as well not get too bent out of shape about it.”
Also losing in the finals for the Panthers were 160-pounder Tyler Smith, 170-pounder Calvin Naftzger, and 285-pounder Trevor Pratt – each lost to Lena-Winslow/Stockton wrestlers.
Smith (17-2) scored a reversal with 40 seconds left in the finals against Case Harmston to draw to within 6-4, but was unable to turn his opponent the rest of the way.
Naftzger (11-2) led the bulk of the title bout against Colin Dvorak, and had a 6-3 lead after executing a takedown with 50 seconds remaining in the third period. Dvorak escaped, then came through with a takedown and three back points in the final 30 seconds to pull out a 9-6 victory.
Pratt (11-7) got tossed early by the PantherHawks’ Ian Kuehl, who won by pin in just 28 seconds.
Fulton was 10th as a team with 58 points, but had a pair of champions in 195-pounder Max Pannell and 220-pounder Eli Pannell.
Max Pannell broke a 5-5 tie against Alleman’s Zach Pinc with an escape with a mere 7 seconds left in the bout. At the buzzer, however, Pinc flung Pannell to the mat for a possible winning takedown. One official signaled two points, but it was overruled and Pannell (13-4) hung on for a 6-5 win.
“I kind of wasn’t expecting him to be able to snap me down so quickly,” Max Pannell said. “It was definitely a learning experience.”
Eli Pannell did not have such drama in his title bout against Morrison’s Riley Wilkens, as he won by pin in 1:27.
“I just waited for my moment to strike, and I struck,” said Eli Pannell, whose three wins were all by pin.
Morrison was seventh as a team with 101.5 points. The Mustangs had a pair of runners-up in Wilkens (220) and Colton Linke (120).
Polo was 12th as a team with 38 points. Taking fifth for the Marcos were 120-pounder Connor Eubanks, 145-pounder Alex Davies, and 160-pounder Marcus McKenna.
Top 3 teams
1. Lena-Winslow/Stockton 244.5
2. Erie-Prophetstown 179.5
3. Orion 154
Outstanding wrestlers: Jack Patting, Alleman (lower weights); Brody Ivey, Newman (upper weights)