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Posted Wednesday, February 03, 2010 by Steve Amy

Tigers finish on top of Lincoln in final NCIC meet

By Kevin Hieronymus - khieronymus@bcrnews.com
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Princeton junior Cody Cumpton gets the better of Geneseo’s Sean Lillis in their third-place match at 135 pounds in Saturday’s NCIC King of the Hill Wrestling tournament in Chillicothe. Cumpton won by tech fall at 5:11. (BCR photo/Kevin Hieronymus)

CHILLICOTHE — Princeton coach Steve Amy was thinkin’ Lincoln going into Saturday’s NCIC wrestling meet at IVC in Chillicothe, looking for his Princeton grapplers to finish atop the small school division of the conference.

The Tigers did better than that, finishing sixth overall and catching two schools from the Reagan division in the process. Sterling captured its 27th and final NCIC title in the conference with 231 points, running away from second-place Geneseo (190). Princeton was sixth at 99.5, behind L-P (145), Morris (140) and Dixon (128).

Saturday’s meet was the last for the NCIC, which will be breaking up as a wrestling conference next year with the departure of eight of the 12 schools which wrestle.

Junior Reiter Bird led the Tiger push with a second-place finish at 130, while Cody Cumpton landed a third at 135.

“Those two guys, Reiter and Cody have been coming in early morning working on their own, and it shows. They’re wrestling real well right now. Doing the little things they need to,” Amy said.

The Tigers also placed with a fourth from Reece Bird (103), a fifth by Logan McCauley (140) and sixths by Mike Bowman (112), Eric Bickett (119), Marshall Ary (125), Earl Towne (145), Jacob Robison (215) and Ben Staton (285).

Bird needed just one decision to get into the title match at 130, defeating L-P’s Josh Sarver 6-4. Then he hooked up with Sterling’s Dylan Dever, an opponent who pretty much had his way with Bird before. This time Bird battled Dever in a match that could have gone either way with a second period escape proving to be the difference for Dever in a 1-0 decision.

“I do feel a little satisfied. He beat me up a couple weeks ago, and I came back and gave a little bit better effort today,” Bird said. “First period, I almost had him in that throw. Couple times I came close to finishing a shot. Those two moves there I wished I could have back.”

If he had to choose which loss was tougher to take, Bird said, “probably the 1-0 loss because you’re so close to getting it, but you can’t actually get there.”

Amy said Bird gave his best match.

“He controlled the ties; he just couldn’t get away when it came time to get away,” he said.

Cumpton took his second straight third-place medal, this year moving up a weight to 135. He said there’s not much difference between weight classes cause the “kids aren’t much stronger.”

After falling by a 20-7 major decision to L-P’s Mike Butterfield, Cumpton bounced back to pin Kewanee’s Brad Aman in 1:39. Then he took aim on Geneseo’s Sean Lillis, nearly recording a pin early before registering the tech fall at 5:11 with a 15-0 lead.

“I was trying to control it the whole time, working on my shots. He beat me earlier in the year, so it was nice to come back and get him this time,” Cumpton said.

Cumpton, a PHS junior, said he is disappointed not being able to improve on his status next season with no NCIC meet to wrestle in.

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