PRINCETON – Kyle Tunink ended his time at the Lyle King Invitational Wrestling Tournament just as he began it – with a first-place medal around his neck.
Tunink, a Newman senior, won the 152-pound championship at the 57th annual event, one of the premier small-school tournaments in the state, on Saturday at Princeton High School.
As a 106-pound freshman, Tunink claimed a title. He repeated that feat after eking out a 5-4 victory against Alleman’s Jack Patting. Tunink (24-1) got the first takedown with 56 seconds left in the first period, then added three escapes. The last of those came with 1:08 left in the third period, and then he found himself literally hanging on at the end.
Patting (25-1) had the makings of a takedown after a scramble in the last 25 seconds, but Tunink had a hold of his right leg, which prevented his opponent from completing the move. Tunink noted he had nothing to worry about.
“In that scramble, I had control the whole time,” Tunink said. “I just got a bit lazy in the end. I knew time was almost out, so I was kind of just holding on. Other than that, if I wanted to, I probably could have taken him down in that scramble position.”
Newman finished 26th in a 34-team field with 49 points. The top local finisher as a team was Dixon, which was 10th with 90 points.
Leading the way for the Dukes was Sebastian Quintana, who wound up second at 195 pounds. He had to default in the title bout to Coal City’s Daniel Jezik due to a right shoulder injury suffered in an 11-9 semifinal victory against Vandalia’s Gavin Mouser. Quintana (23-0) suffered the injury about midway through the second period.
“The guy got underneath me with the underhook,” Quintana said. “I was defending off his throw pretty good, but then he cranked on my shoulder pretty hard and put me to my back. It popped out my shoulder, but once I hit the ground, it kind of popped back into place.”
After consulting with the referee, a trainer, and assistant coach Micah Hey, Quintana decided he was fit enough to continue. He turned a 7-4 deficit at the time of his injury into an 11-9 win.
“I kept working and working and scoring and doing what I needed to do,” Quintana said. “I wrestled smart, and eventually came out on top.”
A highly anticipated match in the finals against Jezik (27-1), however, didn’t materialize when it was deemed the shoulder was not stable enough. Jezik, last year’s Class 2A champ at 182 pounds, edged Quintana 3-2 when they were 160-pound sophomores in Princeton.
“That would have been really cool to have that match our senior year,” said Quintana, who was not charged with a loss for the default.
Dixon’s Hunter Pate finished third at 182 pounds after he pinned Reed-Custer’s Noah Curl of in a mere 56 seconds. Pate (7-1) got a takedown 30 seconds into the bout before finishing things off with one of his signature moves.
“It was just a leg ride-type of thing,” Pate said. “It’s a simple move, a basic move. I do that move every match 100% of the time.”
The Dukes’ Riley Riggen (18-10) finished sixth. He was pinned in 1:28 of the 220-pound fifth-place bout by Alleman’s Roberto Torres.
Morrison finished 17th as a team with 78.5 points. Leading the way for the Mustangs was 126-pounder Colton Linke, who took second after a 9-5 loss to Gibson City’s Cale Horsch.
Horsch (21-1) had two takedowns in the first period, one in the second, and opened the third with a reversal to go up 8-2. Linke’s lone takedown came with 38 seconds to go to get him within 8-5.
“He was super-good on his feet,” Linke said, “and then every time he got in a shot, it was near impossible to stop him.”
Down 4-2 midway through the second period, Linke (25-2) had the makings of a single-leg takedown that would have tied the score, but Horsch was able to extricate himself out of danger.
“I’ve got to keep working in the room,” Linke said.
Morrison’s Kayden White (22-8) was sixth at 145 pounds.
Rock Falls finished 18th as a team with 78 points. The top finisher for the Rockets was 138-pounder Adam Meenen (28-3), who dropped an 18-2 technical fall against Rockridge’s Dallas Krueger (23-0) in the title bout.
Also for Rock Falls, Izaih James (27-6) was fourth at 145 pounds after an 8-4 loss against Orion’s Allen Catour (11-1) in the third-place match.
Dakota (212), Vandalia (195), Auburn (188), Riverdale (153) and Coal City (152) were the top five teams.
Kyle Tunink, Newman, 1st at 152
Sebastian Quintana, Dixon, 2nd at 195
Adam Meenen, Rock Falls, 2nd at 138