The Lockport Township High School wrestling team had a new "first" on Thursday night - wrestling on an auditorium stage. The Porters were hosted by Lincoln-Way West for their annual "Singlets on the Stage" event, a fantastic showcase of talent in an extraordinarily unique environment. The Porters, ranked 2nd in the state and 20th in the nation entering the dual, came out victorious by a wide margin, earning a 40-18 victory over the 5th ranked Warriors.
"Singlets on the Stage" is a special dual hosted annually by Lincoln-Way West. It's fairly self-explanatory - the wrestling takes place in the auditorium on the stage - but still a very special event. There was a pair of youth feeder showcase bouts, followed by the high school varsity competition. At the half-way point of the dual, there were two Tug-of-War battles between football players from each school - LWW won the sophomore level, while Lockport's juniors defeated Lincoln-Way's. But, for the wrestlers, the atmosphere was an entirely new experience. Spotlights on the stage, being on the stage, and having their own custom choice of entrance music made for a special night for all involved.
Lockport took a shine to this spotlight, winning 10 of the 14 bouts on the night. In the fashion you hope to see from championship contenders, Lockport picked up victories in every match featuring a ranked wrestler from both teams, as well as a handful of wins by unranked opponents over their ranked counterparts. A prime example of the latter came in the opening match of the night, where honorable mention Payton Fernandes battled hard and came away with a 3-2 win over Lincoln-Way West's 10th ranked Trevor Schmidt, a 2x state qualifier in 2A. Chandler Proszek, wrestling up at 195, added a 5-1 win to put the Porters up 6-0.
Yousif Salah bumped up to 220 to take on Lincoln-Way West's highest ranked wrestler, 5th ranked Jake Dudeck. Dudeck, a transfer from Lincoln-Way Central following the redistricting of Lincoln-Way, and a 2x state qualifier who placed 5th last season, held a small lead going into the second, where he locked up a cradle on Salah for the fall, tying the score at 6-6. 2nd ranked Ronald Tucker came out and put the Porters ahead again, for good, with a win by fall in 1:18 over 10th ranked Nick Skentzos. The Porters then rattled off consecutive major decision victories at 106 and 113. At 106, 6th ranked Matt Ramos defeated Garrett Geigner, 12-0. Anthony Molton followed suit with his own major decision, 16-3, over Payton Geigner at 113.
The first "upset" of the night came at 120 pounds, where unranked Lockport wrestler James Pierandozzi went out and established a 6-1 lead over 10th ranked Chris Kennedy of LWW, who finished 5th in the state last year. While leading, Pierandozzi put Kennedy on his back and earned a fall in 2:45, bringing a lot of cheers from the Lockport contingency of the crowd. Lockport almost pulled off another upset in the following match, as Matt Kronsbein, making his season debut after coming off of injury, lost a narrow 7-5 decision to LWW's Tom Buell, a 2x state qualifier and former state placer, at 126. Lockport lead 26-9 at this point.
Lockport was able to come out and put two more consecutive victories on the board, both in matchups featuring a pair of ranked wrestlers. In only his second match of the season, 3rd ranked Abdullah Assaf took the mat at 132 for the Porters and dominated 10th ranked Gehrig Simon with a 17-6 major decision. Lockport lost a team point during this bout, so after the victory, the Porters were up 40-9. The 138 pound match was the other most featured matchup of the night, pitting #6 Brandon Ramos against $8 Jake DiBenedetto. It was a very close match, but a takedown in the third gave Ramos a 3-2 lead. Dibenedetto, a two-time qualifer, was able to escape late, but couldn't put points on the board, and Ramos came away with a 3-2 victory.
The 145 pound match was slated to be another match featuring a pair of ranked wrestlers, originally pitting Lockport's 3rd ranked Baylor Fernandes against 9th ranked Joey Schloegel, a 2x state qualifier. Unfortunately, Fernandes was ill, and Lockport's backup, Matt Mahalik, got word mid-day that he would be competing. Mahalik fought, but fell victim to Schloegel by fall in 3:41. Lockport bounced back, however, as Zach Reese picked up a 5-0 decision victory over HM Jake Price of Lincoln-Way West at 152. Trevell Timmons kept it going, earning a 24-9 technical fall over LWW's A.J. Patterson, extending the Lockport lead further at 40-15.
The most exciting matchup of the evening came in the final bout, pitting Lockport's Nick Dado against Lincoln-Way West's 8th ranked Josh Bohne. It was an extraordinarily close bout, going back and forth the whole match. The wrestlers were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, and were sent on to overtime, where they remained deadlocked at one-each. Heading into the second overtime periods, Dado was able to escape about halfway through the first of the double overtime periods, but unfortunately gave up an escape to Bohne with about 10 seconds to go in the second period of double overtime. Bohne had choice for the ultimate tiebreaker, chose bottom, and earned the match-winning escape shortly there after.
#2 Lockport 40, #5 Lincoln-Way West 18
182: HM Payton Fernandes LTHS dec. #10 Trevor Schmidt LWW, 3-2 / 3-0
195: HM Chandler Proszek LTHS dec. Robert Noga, 5-1 / 6-0
220: #5 Jake Dudeck LWW fall Yousif Salah LTHS, 2:37 / 6-6
285: #2 Ronald Tucker LTHS fall #10 Nick Skentzos LWW, 1:18 / 12-6
106: #6 Matt Ramos LTHS maj. dec. Garrett Geigner LWW, 12-0 / 16-6
113: #8 Anthony Molton LTHS maj. dec. Payton Geigner LWW, 16-3 / 20-6
120: James Pierandozzi LTHS fall #10 Chris Kennedy LWW, 2:45 / 26-6
126: HM Tom Buell LWW dec. Matt Kronsbein LTHS, 7-5 / 26-9
132: #3 Abdullah Assaf LTHS maj. dec. #10 Gehrig Simon LWW, 17-6 / 29*-9
138: #6 Brandon Ramos LTHS dec. #8 Jake DiBenedetto LWW, 3-2 / 32-9
145: #9 Joey Schloegel LWW fall Matt Mahalik LTHS, 3:41 / 32-15
152: Zach Reese LTHS dec. HM Jake Price LWW, 5-0 / 35-15
160: #2 Trevell Timmons LTHS tech. fall A.J. Patterson LWW, 24-9 / 40-15
170: #8 Josh Bohne LWW dec. Nick Dado LTHS, 4-3 UTB / 40-18
* Denotes loss of team point.
(Quick Note: All rankings referenced in this post refer to the IllinoisMatmen Rankings that were in effect at the time of the dual, NOT the time of this being posted.)