Wrestling: Two Comets, one Rocket earn Princeton championships
PRINCETON – He's got the funk.
Newman's Brian Bahrs was in trouble, then he wasn't. One well-timed move, which he calls "The Funk," got him the only takedown of the 160-pound championship Saturday at the Princeton Invitational. Bahrs went on to a 3-1 win.
He was one of three locals to win titles at one of the premier small-school tournaments in the state, which included seven teams ranked in the top 11, according to Illinois Matmen. The others were his Newman teammate Jake Snow, who won the 126-pound title, and Rock Falls' Carlos Gutierrez, who won at 113.
Bahrs (25-1), a two-time state champion who is ranked No. 1 by Illinois Matmen, was leading second-ranked Wes Brown (26-3) of Plano 1-0 late in the second period, but was in a precarious situation when he made the move of the night.
With Brown on Bahrs' back, the Comet senior dived forward, rolled and wound up on Brown's back for a takedown.
"We call that move 'The Funk;' it's just a funky move," Bahrs said. "Whenever you're in trouble, you just jump on the mat and grab ankles. It messes the other kid up. They don't expect it. It's like a front flip, and then you grab the ankle. When I need it, I use it, but that's only a desperate move."
Snow (23-1), a 2011 state champ who is ranked No. 2 in Class 1A, avenged his lone loss of the season in his final, cruising to a 10-5 decision over IVC's Riley Beard, ranked sixth in 2A.
Snow took down Beard four times and scored a reversal. All of Beard's points came on giveway escapes that Snow intentionally allowed.
Both wrestlers wound up bloodied.
"I think I went in for a shot and his chin hit the back of my head," Snow said. "Now I've got to go get some stitches. I'm afraid of needles, so that should be fun."
Snow was happy to trim Beard this time.
"I wrestled him last week, and he beat me 14-9," Snow said. "I just wanted to take him down and let him up, and stay away from danger."
Gutierrez's title was historic.
"It's been like 15 years since we've had a [Princeton Invite] champion from Rock Falls," he said. "It was really nerve-racking."
Gutierrez, No. 2 in 1A, built an 8-3 lead that slipped away before pulling out a 10-8 overtime win over third-ranked Cameron Schwing of Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley-Fisher.
Leading 8-3 in the final moments, Gutierrez gave Schwing an escape. In the last few seconds of regulation, Schwing scored a takedown and near fall to make it 8-8 and send the match to overtime.
In the 1-minute extra period, Gutierrez gathered himself and scored a takedown with 23 seconds left.
"I guess you could say I'm kind of clutch in overtime," Gutierrez said. "I've never lost an overtime match."
Gutierrez's teammate Shawn Skinner was the 195-pound runner-up. The second-ranked Skinner dropped a 4-1 decision to unranked Jordan Ladd of IVC. It was the first loss of the season for Skinner (20-1). Ladd, a sophomore, improved to 24-1.
"I just choked," Skinner said. "I really underestimated him. It was a kid I never heard of before. I didn't really expect much out of him. It would have been great to have an undefeated season, but this loss really brought me down to earth. I believe I'm going to be a different wrestler after this."
Newman's Bryce Ivey was also a runner-up, taking second at 152. Ivey (18-4), who is ranked 10th, lost a 12-1 major decision to top-ranked Zach Nelson (23-0) of Mercer County.
"I didn't come out as hard as I should have," Ivey said. "Zach's a great wrestler. I'd rather lose to him than anyone else. I've got regionals and sectionals to see him again. I think it will be a different story come sectional time, or at least a lot closer."
Team-wise, Newman placed ninth with 114 points. Rock Falls was 14th with 88 points. Morrison scored 25 points to place 28th, and Dixon scored 23 points to finish 29th.
Dixon's best finish was Kylian Lally's fourth-place performance at 138. Morrison's Nolan Dykema took fourth at 152.
• Carlos Gutierrez, Rock Falls, 113 pounds
• Jake Snow, Newman, 126
• Brian Bahrs, Newman, 160