It says a lot for a program and its expectations when a team "only" qualifies six wrestlers for the state tournament, but that's exactly the position that Lockport found itself in by the end of the day Saturday. Of the eleven wrestlers who qualified for Friday and Saturday's sectional tournament, six wrestlers solidified a top-four finish, with two others falling one win shy. Shayne Oster and Trevell Timmons both came away with sectional championships, while Abdullah Assaf and Ronald Tucker came up just short, finishing in second. Brandon Ramos and Baylor Fernandes rounded out the qualifiers, each finishing in third place.
Oster came into the sectionals as a heavy favorite, and delivered on the expectations, picking up his third sectional title. In doing so, he became only the third 4-time state qualifier in Lockport's history, following in the footsteps of his brother, Jameson, and two-time state champion Brad Johnson. Oster picked up a fall in his first match, followed by a 6-2 semifinal victory and an 8-2 victory over returning state qualifier Daniel Terronez of Moline in the finals.
Trevell Timmons picked up his first sectional title on Saturday at, becoming a three-time state qualifier in the process. Timmons' 3-1 championship victory at 152 pounds came in dramatic fashion, as he pulled what most would consider a moderate upset over Belleville West's Nick Foster, currently ranked 9th in the nation by InterMat and top in the state by IllinoisMatmen. In a very conservative, precise match, Timmons countered a shot from Foster and put him right to his back, where, had Foster's shoulder blades been in bounds, the pictures show Timmons' would have gotten the fall. In any case, Timmons picked up the takedown, which was the difference in the match.
Falling just short of a championship, but still qualifying for state, were 120 pounder Abdullah Assaf and 285 pounder Ronald Tucker. Assaf dropped an 8-1 decision in a rematch of last week's regional final to defending state champion Michael McGee of Plainfield East, missing a pair of takedown calls that could have dramatically changed the tone of the match. Prior to his final, Assaf dominated returning state qualifier Trenton Jackson of Moline by an 8-2 score and picked up a fall over Providence's 12th ranked Josh Ramos in 2:50 in the semis. Tucker suffered only his 4th loss on the season, but his second to Lincoln-Way Central's Bryan Ditchman, this time by a 5-2 score in the championship. Tucker picked up two earlier wins on the day, pushing his team-best record to 42-4 on the season.
Out of the all the qualifiers, 126 pounder Brandon Ramos likely showed the most grit, dropping his first match and having to win three straight matches to become a qualifier, adding in a fourth for good measure to take 3rd place. In his second wrestleback, Ramos had to take on Lincoln-Way East's Jason Stokes - whom he has yet to beat this season, but an early takedown and nearfall gave him all he needed to get ahead and maintain a 6-0 decision.
Baylor Fernandes rounded out the qualifiers for Lockport, taking 3rd after being one move away from finding himself in the finals at 138 pounds. In the semifinals, against 9th ranked Michael Peters from Quincy, Fernandes, leading 2-1, was reversed to his back in the third period, giving up five points and losing by a 6-2 decision. In the blood round, Fernandes hit one of the best throws of the tournament, soliciting an audible gasp from the crowd, pinning Edwardsville's Rafael Roman in 1:53 to earn his first state tournament berth. He then defeated Providence's Dominic Ambrose, 8-5, in a very physical 3rd place match.
Coming up just short for the Porters, losing in the round of six (the "Blood Round" of sectionals - win and you're a state qualifier, lose and your hopes are put on hold for a year) were 106 pounder Anthony Molton and 170 pounder Peyton Fernandes. Molton picked up two good wins to put himself in the semifinals, where he found himself up against Bolingbrook's Dylan Burnoski for the 4th time this year. And, for the 4th time this year, Burnoski came out ahead, this time by a 10-3 decision that was closer than the score indicated. In the wrestlebacks, Molton lost to O'Fallon's Alek Ziegler by a 13-6 decision, ending his state hopes for the season.
Peyton Fernandes found himself in a similar position at 170 - although he had a first round loss and had to pick up three straight wins to get to the blood round. In doing so, Fernandes avenged his only regional loss - to Oswego East - to earn a place in the blood round. There, he took on Yorkville's Joey Naumann, whom he had lost to Friday night. They were tied through one, but Nauman was able to catch Fernandes on his back and get a fall in 2:48 in the blood round.
Also competing for Lockport includes Brendan Ramsey at 132, Chandler Proszek at 160, and Nick Dado at 182. Ramsey, battling through a re-aggravated injury all week, went 0-2, being eliminated by the wrestler who defeated him in last week's regional championship. Proszek, who had a good route to qualifying, had a rough tournament and didn't capitalize on his draw. Proszek won his first match, but got caught and pinned in the quarterfinals by 12th ranked Dylan Conway of Lincoln-Way North, and then eliminated in his next wrestleback match. Dado, severely undersized at 182 (could have weighed 185, weighed in at just under 165), went 1-2. He picked up a first round win over Joliet Central's Jim Budrick before losing to eventual champion Bryce Shewan of Yorkville by technical fall. His second loss came to Normal West's Tyler Martin, 10-3.
State Brackets will be covered in this week's preview, which will (hopefully) be posted sometime Monday.
Full sectional tournament results, including brackets, team scores, and team results, can be found here.
Photos (Click to enlarge, use arrows to scroll)
More photos (every one taken by Coach Sealy, can be found here.)