Lockport's wrestling team left Assembly Hall Saturday night with a sour taste in their mouths. Despite coming in with six state qualifiers, only three left with medals, and none with a coveted bracketboard. It was a bittersweet weekend, as none of the wrestlers were happy with their overall performance, but at the same time, half of our athletes competing in the tournament placed in one of the hardest state tournaments in the country.
The three wrestlers that placed - Abdullah Assaf, Shayne Oster, and Trevell Timmons - are all returning state placewinners. Unfortunately, each of them placed lower this season than they did last year, but not for lack of want.
Assaf, who finished 3rd last year, had a tough draw this year. Following a first round fall, he fed into top-seed and eventual state champion Jason Renteria from OPRF, ranked first in the state and 7th nationally, in his second match. Assaf lost by major decision, though he did score a reversal to Renteria's back near the end of the match. Assaf bounced back, picking up two straight consolation wins, including one over 5th ranked Isaac Jacquez of West Aurora to guarantee another state medal.
In the semifinal wrestlebacks, Assaf took on Sandburg's 4th ranked Kevin Stearns for the first time all season in a very anticipated match up, where he dropped a 7-3 decision. Assaf didn't let that match ruin his tournament either, however, and he came back to pick up a 4-3 decision over Mundelein's Alec Riportella in the 5th place match.
Shayne Oster had arguably the most heartbreaking tournament for the Porters. Oster, a defending state champion, started his tournament off with a very controlling 13-2 decision. His quarterfinal match against 7th ranked Jackson Schoen of Lake Park was a rollercoaster. Oster began the second period on bottom, was caught in a spladle, and nearly pinned in the eyes of the spectators. Although he nearly scored a defensive fall, he scored the reversal and was down 3-2 heading into the third period. Schoen, clearly recognizing Oster's reputation for being dominant on top, chose to start the third period in neutral. Oster scored a takedown to go up 4-3, but an escape at the buzzer made it a 4-4 tie. In overtime, Schoen went big - for a headlock, it seemed - but Oster slipped it and managed to put Schoen on his own back for the overtime fall. Oster won his semifinal by a calm, controlled, decision, putting him into a finals match that people have been looking forward to all season.
In the 145 pound finals, Shayne Oster took on Austin O'Connor, a wrestler for St. Rita, but a resident of Lockport. That was just one thing that made this championship unique. Adding to it? Oster and O'Connor have quite a storied history - but as teammates and training partners, rather than competitors. The two wrestlers have been teammates on national-level dual teams, have trained together countless times, but had never faced each other in direct competition. Until the finals. O'Connor came out aggressive, putting Oster on his back for a takedown, but because they were on the edge, no nearfall points. Oster managed to get back to base and escape, making the score 2-1 going into the second period. O'Connor started the second on bottom, and for a brief moment, Oster looked like he was going to score nearfall points, but had no such luck and O'Connor escaped to his feet to make the match 3-1. They traded takedown attempts, with Oster using his funk to escape some tough positions, but had no more scoring. Oster started the third period on bottom and escaped relatively easily, making it 3-2. Oster was collected, but definitely aggressive and pushing the pace with lots of movement, using lots of underhooks to try to create openings. He came close to transitioning into a takedown from these, but fell just short, losing the match 3-2.
Trevell Timmons was our other state placewinner this year, finishing in 6th place. Timmons came in ranked 5th but seeded second, and having beaten the top ranked wrestler in the bracket last week at sectionals. Timmons picked up decisions in his first two matches, not racking up points but never being in danger at any point in either match. He then jumped out to a 4-0 lead against Hononegah's Fernie Silva, ranked 3rd, in the semifinals. Timmons extended his lead further, up to 7-2 at one point, before Silva started mounting a comeback. Silva changed up his offense and Timmons was struggling to make the adjustments to stop him. An awkward landing and subsequent injury late in the match only exacerbated this issue, and in the end, Timmons was unable to maintain the lead he had built and hold Silva off, losing 12-9. Saturday morning, after being examined by the training staff, the decision was made to pull Timmons from the tournament, and he medically forfeitted out of the tournament. By virtue of making the semifinals, however, he still placed sixth, even after forfeitting.
Freshman heavyweight Ronald Tucker came within one match of placing, but was unable to pull it off, ending the tournament 2-2, just shy of medaling. Tucker scored a 1-0 decision in his first match before taking on #2 Anthony Cassioppi of Hononegah in the quarterfinals, in a rematch from earlier this season where Tucker lost by fall in under 30 seconds. This match was much closer, but Cassioppi was able to put Tucker on his back midway through the second, and secured the fall at 3:33. Tucker then wrestled Sandburg's Malik Scates in the wrestlebacks, in one of the more bizarre matches of the tournament. Neither wrestler scored any takedowns in regulation - only escapes - so they headed into overtime with a 1-1 tie score. They again failed to score in the first overtime, and traded escapes in the second and third overtime. In Ultimate Tiebreaker, Tucker got to choose top or bottom by scoring first in the match. He chose down, and as soon as he lifted his leg off the mat, Scates was called for a locked hands call, giving Tucker the victory in overtime. Tucker then had to face Glenbard West's Darien Kaufmann in the blood round, where he places if he wins, but is eliminated if he doesn't. Unfortunately for us, the latter option was what happened. Tucker was hit for stalling four times, so even though Kaufmann had not taken him down once, he had a 4-1 lead over Tucker heading into the third period. Kaufmann chose neutral, and while Tucker moved forward, he was unable to score. He dove for a takedown at the last second, which Kaufmann easily countered for the only offensive points he scored in the match. Tucker lost 6-1 and was eliminated with no medal.
Brandon Ramos and Baylor Fernandes each, unfortunately, went 0-2 for the tournament, facing extremely tough draws. Ramos had OPRF's 2nd ranked Anthony Madrigal to open the tournament, who happens to be ranked top 20 nationally. He lost by fall in the second period, but when Madrigal won his next match, Ramos was brought back into the wrestlebacks. There, he faced 5th ranked Christian Kanzler of Grant, where he battled, but lost by fall in the third period.
As tough as Ramos' draw was, Fernandes had one that was even tougher. In his first match, he squared off against top-ranked Jaime Hernandez of OPRF. Fernandes came out ready though, and was able to go up 4-0 in the first period, countering an attack from Hernandez and turning it into a takedown and two nearfall for himself. Unfortunately, those were the last offensive points Fernandes would score in the match. Hernandez was able to make some adjustments on offense that Fernandes couldn't quite counter, scoring four unanswered takedowns and coming back to win 10-7. Fernandes' return into the wrestlebacks was the least certain anyone on our team could have had - Hernandez had to beat 3rd ranked Will Lewan of Montini for Fernandes to come back. Lewan may have been ranked third, but he had beaten Hernandez earlier in the season, 6-3. Luckily for us, Hernandez won (and got himself a truly amazing black eye in the process), bringing Fernandes back in. Fernandes then had to take on Lewan, ranked 19th by FloWrestling, and fell by a score of 9-3.
Five of our six qualifiers can still return next year - Assaf, Ramos, and Timmons are all juniors, while Fernandes and Tucker are both freshman. For Oster, however, this was the end of the line, individually. More notably, this marks the end of an era - the last individual state tournament with the Oster boys. Since Josh made the family's first appearance back in 2002, there has been an Oster in the tournament for more than half of the last 15 seasons.
( . . . but there are some cousins coming up in the near future! )
One other quick point of interest: Lockport wrestlers didn't lose a single match to anyone who did not place.
If you would like to see the brackets or any other information from the tournament, click here for the TrackWrestling link.
Individual Match Results
Rankings listed BEFORE any wrestler's name are the state rankings from IllinoisMatmen.com. Rankings given AFTER the wrestler's name are national rankings from InterMat/FloWrestling.
120: #3 Abdullah Assaf, 4-2, 5th Place
First Round: WIN by fall (5:44) over Jake Keating (Naperville Central)
Quarterfinals: LOSS by major decision (16-4) to #1 Jason Renteria (OPRF) - InterMat #7, Flo #7
First Round Wrestlebacks: WIN by major decision (12-2) over Lucas Busse (McHenry)
Quarterfinal Wrestlebacks: WIN by decision (5-3) over #5 Isaac Jacquez (West Aurora)
Semifinal Wrestlebacks: LOSS by decision (7-3) to #4 Kevin Stearns (Sandburg)
Fifth Place Match: WIN by decision (4-3) over Alec Riportella (Mundelein)
126: Brandon Ramos, 0-2, DNP
First Round: LOSS by fall (3:10) to #2 Anthony Madrigal (OPRF) - InterMat #17, Flo #9
First Round Wrestlebacks: LOSS by fall (5:30) to #5 Christian Kanzler (Grant)
138: Baylor Fernandes, 0-2, DNP
First Round: LOSS by decision (10-7) to #1 Jaime Hernandez (OPRF)
First Round Wrestlebacks: LOSS by decision (9-3) to #3 Will Lewan (Montini) - Flo #19
145: #2 Shayne Oster, 3-1, 2nd Place
First Round: WIN by major decision (13-2) over Anthony Silva (Hononegah)
Quarterfinals: WIN by fall (6:25) over #7 Jackson Schoen (Lake Park)
Semifinals: WIN by decision (3-1) over #3 Tyree Johnson (Downer's Grove South)
Championship: LOSS by decision (3-2) to #1 Austin O'Connor (St. Rita) - InterMat #3, Flo #4
152: #5 Trevell Timmons, 2-1, 6th Place
First Round: WIN by decision (13-6) over Jake Meyer (Barrington)
Quarterfinals: WIN by decision (5-1) over Josh Barzowski (Niles Notre Dame)
Semifinals: LOSS by decision (12-9) to #3 Fernie Silva (Hononegah)
Semifinal Wrestlebacks: LOSS by medical forfeit, #2 Dylan Geick (Stevenson)
Fifth Place Match: LOSS by medical forfeit, #7 Cole Smith (Providence)
285: #12 Ronald Tucker, 2-2, DNP
First Round: WIN by decision (1-0) over Maciej Pogorzelski (Rolling Meadows)
Quarterfinals: LOSS by fall (3:33) to #2 Anthony Cassioppi (Hononegah)
First Round Wrestlebacks: WIN by decision (3-2 UTB) over Malik Scates (Sandburg)
Quarterfinal Wrestlebacks: LOSS by decision (6-1) to #6 Darien Kaufmann (Glenbard West)
No gallery posted on here this time. In the interest of time and availability (picking and choosing those pictures takes a while!), I'm just sending everyone to Coach Sealy's SmugMug website full of the pictures.
For the pictures of Lockport kids only, click here for all three days. Each day has its own gallery.
For other pictures from the tournament with NON-Lockport kids, click here and look through the galleries.