It may have taken longer than he had hoped, but Saturday night, Trevell Timmons finally crossed a goal off of his list that has eluded him for four years: Win an IHSA State Championship. Timmons, just the fourth 4x state qualifier in Lockport Wrestling history, placed 5th as a sophomore, and 6th as a junior after defaulting out of the tournament following an injury in a semifinal loss. Timmons came in knowing he had a chip on his shoulder and a mental block that he needed to rid himself of, and he did just that Saturday night, defeating Marmion Academy's Nate Jimenez by a score of 3-2. The win came after a pair of 5-3 victories for Timmons in both the quarterfinals and the semifinals, the semifinal being a rematch against Devin Donovan that went to Ultimate Tiebreaker earlier this season, and a 12-3 major decision in the opening round.
Abdullah Assaf came in with a similar story to Timmons - Assaf had a far more decorated IESA career, and, while he did not qualify for state his freshman year, he came in as a 2x state placer, taking 5th and 3rd over the past two seasons. Assaf was a clear favorite to make it to the finals, and it showed. Abdullah racked up wins in the first round and quarterfinals by tech fall, outscoring his opponents 44-9. His semifinal against Deerfield's Holden Heller was a bit closer, at 7-5, but a couple of unscored gramby and back points made that closer than it was. Assaf met up with Jason Renteria of OPRF, ranked 8th nationally, in the finals. Renteria prevailed, 16-10, but Assaf gave him the closest match he had in the tournament, scoring a takedown and creating a lot of scramble situations along the way.
Lockport had five additional placers in the top 6, setting a new program record for number of wrestlers earning a spot on the podium, nearly doubling the previous record of 4 placers in one season. The Porters had zero success on the 3rd place match, going 0-3 in those bouts, but did manage to go 2-2 on the 5th place bouts.
Matt Ramos took 5th place at 106 pounds. Ramos dominated in his first two bouts before a semifinal match against Providence's Jake Lindsey in the semifinals that went to 3OT. Ramos lost, 2-1 in that bout, which was an excellent bout to watch, emotion aside. Ramos nearly had two nearfall points awarded in his 30 seconds on top in 3OT, and appeared to think he had them, so when Lindsey escaped, taking a 2-1 lead, Ramos had a look of pure shock, realizing that instead of leading by one, he trailed by one with three seconds remaining. Lindsey would go on to win the state championship, just two weeks after Ramos defeated him in the Regional championship at Lockport. Ramos dropped a consolation wrestleback bout 1-0 to Mundelein's Dane Durlacher, unable to get to his offense and then being ridden out on bottom. But, Ramos ended the tournament on a high note, personally, scoring a 14-3 major decision in the 5th place match.
At 113, Anthony Molton wrestled a fantastic tournament to take 4th place. After an opening round win, Molton battled SWSC foe Dominic Zaccone, whom he has not defeated in three tries in high school, falling in their closest bout yet, a 4-3 decision in Zaccone's favor. Molton rattled off three straight wins in the consolation bracket to earn a spot in the 3rd place match, where he squared off against Marian Catholic's Travis Ford-Melton. Ford-Melton, ranked 4th nationally coming into the tournament, held just a 2-0 lead over Molton as the pair headed into the second period. Once on top, however, Ford-Melton locked up a cradle tight enough that I seriously doubt anyone would have escaped, and earned a fall in the second period, and Molton with a 4th place finish in the tournament.
Baylor Fernandes placed 4th at 145 in his second trip downstate in his two years of high school thus far, taking advantage of a far better draw than last year. While expectations were that Fernandes would at least make the semifinals, a very tight 5-4 quarterfinal loss to Duncan Nelson of Wheaton North prevented that from happening, and denying a Fernandes v. Lewan matchup for the second time this season. That said, it may have allowed for a higher placement for Fernandes. He dropped into the consolation bracket, where he rattled off three wins, including a consolation semifinal victory over Naperville Central's Jake Keating, by a dominating 10-2 score. In the 3rd place bout, however, Fernandes found himself on the losing end of the match against Yahya Thomas in the rubber match between the two wrestlers this season, falling 3-2 to take 4th place.
Payton Fernandes, a senior who qualified for the first time this year, put himself together a heck of a tournament to finish in 4th place. Payton opened with a very tight first round win, 4-3 over OPRF's Tariq Thurman in UTB by riding him out, before falling to nationally ranked Jack Jessen by major decision. Fernandes scored a win Thursday night to stay alive, and in the blood round Saturday morning, to determine if he placed or not, won by default after his opponent withdrew from the tournament. Fernandes still went on to win his next bout, 8-0, over Mason Hewitt of O'Fallon, whom he defeated for 3rd at the sectional tournament last week. For 3rd place, Fernandes found himself up against Alton's Keontay Holmes, whom he lost to in the sectional semifinal, and came away short again this week, falling 13-3, unable to get to his offense.
Ronald Tucker, wrestling at 285, was the final placer for the Porters. Tucker, making his second appearance at the tournament in his two years of high school, never really got to his offense. In fact, through the five matches he had in the tournament, Tucker's match scores totaled 12 points, with Tucker outscoring his opponents 7-5. Tuck won his first bout 2-1 in UTB, and followed up with a 1-0 win in his quarterfinal match. Tucker came up short in the semifinals, falling to Hinsdale Central's Niko Ivanisevic 2-1, and then to Argo's Audel Ochoa by the same score in the consolation semifinals. Tuck bounced back for a 2-0 victory in the 5th place match, however, defeating Lane Tech's Jeremiah Olojo.
As 7 Porters placed, 5 Porters came up short this weekend - James Pierandozzi, Brendan Ramsey, Brandon Ramos, Zach Reese and Nick Dado. Each of these had at least one part that was tough to swallow, but it is what it is.
Pierandozzi dropped his opening round bout at 120 to 3x state qualifier Isaac Jacquez of West Aurora, 6-5 (Pierandozzi also faced and lost to Jacquez in his first career high school match). Pierandozzi held a 5-4 lead with 10 seconds left, but also had been warned for stalling, so he could not just run for 10 seconds. Instead, Pierandozzi locked up a 2-on-1, and went for an additional score, which Jacquez countered for the winning takedown. Jacquez then lost his next match, eliminating Pierandozzi from competition, because our state inexplicably lacks complete wrestlebacks. (Of note: Jacquez lost to DeKalb's Fabian Lopez, whom Pierandozzi had defeated earlier in the season. Would have been a great rematch. Lopez ended up making the final.)
Brendan Ramsey, four-year starter making his first state appearance, dropped his opening match to Lyons's Zach Villarreal, 6-1. After Villarreal won his quarterfinal bout, however, Ramsey was pulled back into the wrestlebacks. Ramsey was taking on Danny Pucino of Libertyville, and had taken him down and cut him multiple points, earning a sizeable lead. In the middle of the second, Ramsey shot into a body lock, lifted Pucino, and upon putting him down, Pucino tossed Ramsey to his back, earning the fall and eliminating Ramsey.
Brandon Ramos, a four-time qualifier, had a tough tournament to swallow after such a great year. Ramos opened the tournament on Thursday with a major decision victory, but was upset in the quarterfinals by Riley Lomenick of Wheaton North, 3-1, giving up a takedown in overtime. Ramos won his first round wrestleback by a 14-1 major decision, looking fantastic in the bout. Saturday morning, however, Ramos was forced to square off against OPRF's Jaime Hernandez, ranked 3rd nationally, who had been upset in the semifinals by Mt. Carmel's Kendall Coleman (who Ramos defeated earlier this season). Ramos wrestled a great 4 minutes of the match, keeping it very close, before Hernandez turned it up, eventually winning 9-1 and eliminating Ramos from contention.
Zach Reese, at 152, looked to be in a position in his bracket where he had a legitimate chance to place. After winning his first bout, 7-1, Reese had to square off against David Ferrante of Huntley in the semifinals - someone we admittedly did not know too much about. Reese could handle anyone when on his A-Game, however, so the match looked like a big wildcard. Ferrante controlled the bout from start to finish, however, defeating Reese by fall at the 5:58 mark. Reese was pulled back into the wrestlebacks to take on Mt. Carmel's Dillon Hoey, whom he had lost to in a tight bout earlier this season. Unfortunately, Reese suffered an injury and had to default the bout, only a minute-and-a-half into it.
At 170, Nick Dado was the last Porter to compete but come away without a medal. His situation mirrored Pierandozzi's at an insanely similar level. Dado was defeating his opponent, Mundelein's Logan Kvein, 7-5 late in the third period. Dado, having no stalling calls, could have literally sat on his opponent for the final 25 seconds, as he was on top at the time. But, anyone who knows Nick knows that this isn't his style. Nick likes to score. He is a nonstop kind of wrestler. So when he went to run a half-nelson that was clearly there with 0:15 seconds left, no one batted an eye. When his opponent turned into it, putting Dado on his back to score the reversal with 0:15 left, and the imminent back points to win the match, that raised tons of eyebrows. Kvein ended up winning by fall in 5:52, to the shock of nearly everyone. Kvein lost his next bout, eliminating Dado.
They'll get posted eventually. I'll tweet or make a post on here. There are literally over 2500 photos to sift through from the weekend. I don't have any idea how I was able to get photos up as fast as I did last year - probably because I had no clue what I was doing then, and I do now.
I want these up as much as you do, but I can't make the day any longer! I'll get them up ASAP. There are lots of absolutely fantastic shots, if I do say so myself. Here's three - the header, and one from each of the Lockport semifinal bouts.