SK wrestling sending three to Districts behind runner-up spot at Sectionals

Nick Ives was one of three Sigourney-Keota wrestlers to take first place in their respective weight classes when competing at the Sectional wrestling tournament on February 3. Ives beat Pekin’s Drake Harbison 6-5 to take the top place on the podium.

Sigourney-Keota will be sending three wrestlers on to Districts, as the State tournament is just over a week away. The Savages had three first-place finishes from some of their best wrestlers in Mason Dye, Nick Ives and Kaleb Reeve at the Sectional meet in North English on February 3.

Dye has been a force all season long and continued to prove he's one of the best in the 106-pound weight class. After receiving a first-round bye, he was able to pin his man late in the first period to advance towards a possible first-place finish. He went up against a familiar foe in Ethan Kupka, one of the areas better lightweight wrestlers. For a majority of the match it remained fairly even, with Dye staying on top points wise. Finally, early in the third period Dye successfully pinned Kupka to put himself atop the podium.

Zane Hahn (126-pounds) was the next SK wrestler to try and keep his season going another weekend. He was unable to do so after a couple quick matches resulting in being pinned to the mat.

Luke House (132-pounds) was looking for his final chance to get to Districts and then State. His bid came up short as he finished in third-place but could still get a chance as an alternate at Districts. House faced a tough opponent early on and wound up on the losing side of a pin late in the second period. From there, he bounced back with a pin of his own late in the second period, but by rule was given third-place.

Ives was the second SK wrestler to claim a championship on the day as he competed in the 138-pound weight class bracket. After getting a bye, Ives swiftly pinned his first opponent in 24 seconds, which set him up with a chance to take first. Ives then went the distance and narrowly edged out Drake Harbison of Pekin in a thrilling 6-5 decision to put him on top of the podium.

Trent Hendricks faced a similar fate as Hahn did earlier in the day, as he was unable to pick up a win in his two matches. In the first, he lost a 5-21 decision which ended the match early, and the second match he was pinned early in the third period.

Zech Boender (152-pounds) was up next for the Savages and wound up on the shortest part of the podium. Boender was unable to beat his first opponent but recovered with a big 8-4 decision win in his next match. He was then found himself matched up with his first opponent, and by rule, conceded second place. Boender also has a chance to wrestle as an alternate in Districts.

"I was hoping we could get some more guys to squeak through and advance, but most of them wrestled back and finished where they were seeded or higher," Savages coach Craig Reeves said. "As a coach, that's something you like to see at this stage."

Jesse Fritz (160-pounds) had a short day on the mats, as he lost his first match that went the distance but scored one point, while his opponent tallied six. On the tail-end of the bracket, Fritz didn't face another opponent and ended the day in fifth place.

Nate Schuster (170-pounds) followed suit with a fifth-place finish of his own. After losing an intense match to Pekin's Jordan Hixson, Schuster wound up facing Weston Shirk of Montezuma in a battle for fifth place. In a back and forth battle early on, Schuster came out on top via a pin late in the first period.

Zeke Webb (182-pounds) had an up and down day for the Savages, ultimately seeing his season end. In his first match, Webb took control early, leading 10-0 after the first two minutes of action. He continued his dominance into the second period, until winning with a 16-1 decision. He then lost quickly in his next match and faced a similar fate from the hands of English Valleys' Cael Hester, who pinned him in the middle of the third period.

With three wrestlers remaining, Mac Conrad (195-pounds) hoped to punch his ticket to Districts but will only see more action as a possible alternate. Conrad faced a stiff test from Pekin's Mason Juhl in the second round, and though the match went the distance, Conrad was on the losing end of a 6-12 decision. He had a bounce back match by beating his next opponent with a pin in the first period, but then conceded the second-place finish by rule.

Reeves came into the day with an unblemished record, and he left that intact, while adding three more wins along the way. He received a bye in the first round then pinned Pekin's Ethan Cooksey to get to the championship match. He steamrolled his opponent, racking up double digit points in the first minute and then finished him off with a pin at the 1:11 mark.

The final wrestler for the Savages was Sam Fowler at 285-pounds. Fowler successfully beat Pekin's Kaden Pollock in the first round by way of a 4-1 decision, but then lost his next two matches from pins in the first period.

The three Savages that took first place will be looked to as early favorites when they compete in the District tournament at Pleasantville on February 10.

"They still have to show up and wrestle but Mason and Kaleb should dominate as they have all year long," coach Reeves said. "Nick is doing what a lot of coaches like to see, he's peaking late so when you're at the State tournament you're at the top of your level. He's really wrestled strong the past couple weeks. Technically, if he wins his first match at Districts he'll go to State."