There were two major keys for Lockport to have success against a tough Minooka team in their Dual Team Sectional matchup Tuesday night.
Number 1: Pick up as many bonus point wins as possible.
Number 2: Limit the number of bonus point losses.
Unfortunately for the Porters, the team fell short in both aspects, and in the end it cost them, as they dropped a tough dual, 33-30, to Minooka. With the loss, the Porters' season comes to an end, while Minooka heads to Dual Team State this Saturday. Lockport, the defending state champions, had looked to return to the Dual Team State Tournament for the fourth straight year, and give itself a chance of defending their state championship.
The loss is not indicative of the way that the team wrestled - not by any means. Head Coach Josh Oster said of his team's performance, "We out-wrestled them, with the exception of the last ten seconds of a couple of matches." The fact that the Porters won 8 matches to Minooka's 6 lends a good amount of support to that statement.
But, as has been the case all season, bonus points made all the difference. Sure, missing three of the starters from the team's individual regional was certainly not beneficial, but the Porters still managed to put themselves in position to win the dual regardless, but couldn't quite do what needed to be done to assure the victory.
The dual started at 113, where 106-pound state qualifier Mikey Kaminski squared off against Minooka's Michael Ruettiger. Ruettiger came out strong, picking up the first two takedowns of the match, before Kaminski bounced back and took control, outscoring Ruettiger heavily in the final two periods to pick up a 14-8 decision, coming up just two points shy of a major decision. With the lineup bumped for the first part, 3rd place finisher at 113, Matt Ramos, took the mat for the Porters against Minooka's Austin Markee. Ramos controlled the match from the start, but a tough Markee knew that one of his roles was to limit bonus points. Ramos, leading 8-3 late in the third period, cut Markee in an effort to score two takedowns in the final eight seconds. And he came so close. Ramos managed to score a takedown, cut Markee for the escape, and almost gained control for another takedown as time expired, but came up just short. Another half-second and Ramos would have had it, but there wasn't an extra half-second, and the match ended with a 10-4 decision in Ramos's favor.
Anthony Molton, fresh off his 120-pound state championship, was up at 126 for this dual, but still made quick work of his opponent, pinning Minooka's Zach McDowell, who came up one win shy of qualifying for state this year, in just :28 seconds. The fall was one of only two bonus point wins for the Porters on the day. With the win, Lockport had jumped out to a 12-0 lead.
At 132, Minooka managed to get its first taste of victory, albeit with some controversy. The end result of the match was a win by fall for Dominic Ruettiger over Lockport's Anthony Crapia. But what a back and forth match it was. Each wrestler put their opponent on their back twice, not counting the time that resulted in a fall. Crapia managed to hit two great headlocks, and certainly appeared to have the fall on one, if not both. If you're wondering, the photo at the top of the article is from this match. Feel free to judge for yourself. This was a pivotal match, by all accounts. Crapia held the lead late into the third, when Ruettiger earned a takedown with short time left on the clock to tie the bout. Then, to his credit, Ruettiger managed to secure a tilt and lock up three nearfall points to secure the victory with what little time remained. But then, Ruettiger repositioned from a tilt into a pinning combination, Crapia was unable to fight it off, and Ruettiger secured the fall with just 0:04 remaining on the clock. Lockport's lead was now 12-6.
Minooka capitalized on the momentum, with Adam McDowell picking up a 7-1 decision over Lockport's Matt Kronsbein at 138. McDowell was also a sectional qualifier, who lost to Pierandozzi 5-0 in the blood round to qualify for state. His attacks were effective, and he prevented Kronsbein from getting to his own offense. Down 6, Kronsbein knew that he needed to prevent a major decision, but had to find that fine balance between preventing the major and still giving himself a chance. Matt almost managed to do just that, anticipating one of McDowell's shots and hitting a fantastic whipover, but with a bit too much force as McDowell was able to roll through with no points scored. In the end, the match ended 7-1 in McDowell's favor, and Minooka had cut the team lead to 12-9 in Lockport's favor.
Lockport would then go on a a four-match winning streak, its longest of the night. James Pierandozzi, wrestling up at 145, got it started with a fall in 2:46 over Minooka's state qualifying Noah Boles. Zach Reese also scored a crucial win in a tight match at 152, defeating Jake Ryan of Minooka 4-2. Ryan had taken Reese down in the first, but Reese escaped before the end of the first, and to start the second period, to tie the match at 2-2. The remainder of the second went scoreless, and Ryan chose bottom to start the third, needing just an escape to take the lead. Reese showed his strong top game, riding Ryan out, and earning a 2 point tilt as time expired to pick up the 4-2 win. Lockport's lead had been extended to 21-9 following the win.
At 160, Austin Kolada won the defensive battle of the night, scoring a 2-1 victory over Minooka's Dan Debow off of an escape and a penalty point, and pushing a relentless pace the whole match, even if he couldn't convert his offensive attacks. At 160, Malik Daghash nearly put Minooka's Alec Dufour away in the first minute, throwing Dufour to his back with a well-executed takedown, but again, could not get the fall for the Porters. Dufour battled back, but Malik's big move at the start proved to be too much to come back from, and Daghash picked up a 9-7 win at the end of the six minutes. Lockport had pushed their lead to 27-9.
Jon Tomas took the mat for the Porters at 182, much closer to his natural weight than the 195 he had been competing at this season, and battled hard against Minooka's Connor Colbert. Colbert was in on multiple shots early, but Tomas was able to square his hips and defend, land and sprawl in the reaction time, and, while still giving up a few takedowns, fending off more. Midway through the second period, however, Colbert converted on a low single, and managed to put Tomas on his back, picking up the fall in 3:15, and closing the team score gap to 27-15.
Yousif Salah bumped up to 195 for this dual, to take on Minooka's other state qualifier, Drew Gutnecht. Salah managed to pick up one of the most dominating 5-1 decisions that a fan could have seen this season. Gutknecht was never in on an attack or close to scoring throughout the match. To his credit, though, Gutknecht also prevented Salah from scoring more, and keeping the match close, on paper. In the second period, Gutknecht chose bottom, and was promptly teapotted upon standing up. After a brief injury time, Gutknecht was cleared to continue. He again stood up, and this time was brought down on a regular mat return, but landed hard on his shoulder, requiring an additional injury time-out. Following the second injury time, Salah had choice of position, and chose to go bottom, where he promptly earned an escape and a takedown. Salah chose top in the 3rd, continuing to work towards a fall, but Gutknecht fought off Salah's efforts, picking up a few stalling calls in the process. Eventually, late in the 3rd, Salah let Gutknecht go to try to hit a big move for the fall, but came up empty handed in that regard. The escape was Gutknecht's only point, and Salah won 5-1. It was the last win the Porters would pickup, and it put them ahead 30-15.
At 220, Lockport's Jake Rosin faced a tough task in taking on Minooka's Connor Briley. Briley, who was ranked in the top five all season, failed to qualify for the state tournament and had a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Rosin went out to compete but Briley was simply too much, and recorded the fall over Rosin at the 1:59 mark. Minooka now trailed 30-21 heading into the 285 pound match. There, Lockport freshman Brendan Shin took on Minooka's Derek Wentworth. Shin was able to fend off some attacks, but couldn't score on his counter offense. When one of Wentworth's attacks succeeded, and the big guys went to the mat, Shin landed with his back partially exposed, and Wentworth immediately came up higher, letting his weight and gravity do the work, picking up the fall in 3:25. Minooka now trailed 30-27.
In the final match of the night, it came down to Lockport's Ryan Oster squaring off against Minooka's Jack McClimon at 106. Oster, a backup to Kaminski this season, tipped the scales at about 94 pounds. McClimon, on the other hand, went 2-2 at this years sectional tournament. Oster came out attacking right off the whistle, shooting a low outside single and getting to McClimon's leg. McClimon started to get into position to counter the shot with a stepover (a la Matt Ramos), and Oster recognized this and bailed, giving up the takedown but avoiding the backpoints. Unfortunately, as he bailed, McClimon was able to lock up a cradle, took Oster to his back, and earned the fall in 0:25.
When it was all said and done, Lockport had lost the dual, 33-30.
When the team wins, you win as a team. When the team loses, you lose as a team. It's rather easy to look at one or two matches and say, "If we would have gotten the pin here..." or "If we could have kept this match to a decision..." and go down that road. The fact of the matter is that for this dual, like so many others, bonus points made the difference.
Of the six matches the Porters lost, only Matt Kronsbein lost by a decision - the other five losses all came via pinfall. On the other side, while Lockport won eight matches, only two wins came via bonus points - Molton and Pierandozzi's pins at 126 and 145, respectively. If one other win came via pinfall, or one loss was by decision, Lockport wins on tiebreaker criteria of matches won, 8 to 6.
This was the last time that three wrestlers will have competed for Lockport, and while we would have loved for them to have another day to compete this year, it's at least fitting to see each of them end their high school careers with wins.
Congratulations to Zach Reese, Austin Kolada, and Yousif Salah on your high school careers! Thank you for the countless hours you put in to improving yourselves and your teammates as well!! Good luck to each of you as you move forward in life, no matter what it brings.
Box Score: Minooka 33, Lockport 30
113: Mike Kaminski LTHS dec. Michael Ruettiger MIN, 14-8 / 3-0
120: Matt Ramos LTHS dec. Austin Markee MIN, 10-4 / 6-0
126: Anthony Molton LTHS fall Zack McDowell MIN, 0:28 / 12-0
132: Dominic Ruettiger MIN fall Anthony Crapia LTHS, 5:54 / 12-6
138: Adam McDowell MIN dec. Matt Kronsbein LTHS, 7-1 / 12-9
145: James Pierandozzi LTHS fall Noah Boles MIN, 2:46 / 18-9
152: Zach Reese LTHS dec. Jake Ryan MIN, 4-2 / 21-9
160: Austin Kolada LTHS dec. Dan Debow MIN, 2-1 / 24-9
170: Malik Daghash LTHS dec. Alec Dufour MIN, 9-7 / 27-9
182: Connor Colbert MIN fall John Tomas LTHS, 3:15 / 27-15
195: Yousif Salah LTHS dec. Drew Gutknecht MIN, 5-1 / 30-15
220: Connor Briley MIN fall Jacob Rosin LTHS, 1:59 / 30-21
285: Derek Wentworth MIN fall Brendan Shin LTHS, 3:25 / 30-27
106: Jack McClimon MIN fall Ryan Oster LTHS, 0:25 / 30-33