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Tigers send six guys to sectional

Posted Tuesday, February 08, 2011 by Steve Amy

Tigers send six guys to sectional

Monday, February 07, 2011

By Erik Hall

ROCK FALLS — Princeton finished fifth as a team at Saturday’s Class 1A Rock Falls Wrestling Regional, but only two teams had more individuals advance than the Tigers.

Princeton had six wrestlers advance to this weekend’s Oregon Sectional.

Advancing for the Tigers are junior James Dove (130 pounds), senior Reiter Bird (135 pounds), senior Dylan Olson (160 pounds), senior Colton Pate (171 pounds), senior Brewer Ary (215 pounds) and junior Ben Staton (285 pounds).

The top three individuals in each weight class advanced. Dove, Bird, Pate and Staton took second in their weight class. Olson and Ary both finished third.

“It feels great,” Pate said of six guys advancing. “At practice, there is going to be a different intensity knowing that six of our guys are going as opposed to just a few.”

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Sterling Newman won Saturday’s team title with 234 points. Princeton was the top area team in fifth with 125 points. Mendota was seventh (24 points), Putnam County finished eighth (16 points) and St. Bede was ninth (13 points).

Mendota, Putnam County and St. Bede did not have any individuals advance to the sectional.

Princeton third-year head coach Steve Amy was pleased to see the number of sectional qualifiers double from last season.

“It’s good for the program considering we had three (advance to sectionals) last year,” Amy said. “It shows how hard these guys have been working this year and how much they improved over the spring and the offseason. It’s good.”

Bird (30-12) and Pate (16-16) both advanced to the sectional last year. This is Pate’s second consecutive sectional berth and Bird’s fourth sectional berth.

“Knowing it’s my last go round and my last shot to qualify for state, it’s a little different,” Bird said. “It makes me more dedicated.”

Bird came the closest to winning a regional title Saturday. He lost a tight regional championship match with Sterling Newman senior Jonathon Ortman, who is ranked No. 2 in the state by Illinois Mat Men. Ortman beat Bird 5-2, but Bird was within a takedown of Ortman until a takedown with 1:06 left in the third period gave Ortman a 5-1 lead.

“It gets closer every time (Bird and Ortman wrestle),”?Amy said. “He is right there with him. He just has to put a full match together and not get caught, and he’s going to be right there with him.”

Olson also heads to next weekend with sectional experience. Olson (28-7) advanced as a sophomore before missing out on a sectional trip last year.
He was not going to miss a trip to sectionals two years in a row.

“I didn’t want to not go to sectionals because that would have sucked,” Olson said. “My wrestling season would have been over. I’m a senior so I want to make it as long and as fun as possible. It’s my last year so it means a lot.”

There was a frightening moment nine seconds into the third period of Olson’s match. The wrestlers went out of bounds, and Olson had trouble walking back to the center of the mat. The referee grabbed Olson as he started to faint backwards, and the match was stopped momentarily with Olson leading 11-3 at that point.

“I stepped out of bounds and all of a sudden everything — my head, teeth, jaw, temples, eyes — started hurting,” Olson said. “He kept slapping me, but it didn’t hurt it. Then all of a sudden, we stepped out of bounds, and it just started killing. My jaw and everything started hurting. It was weird. … Not (had that happen before) in wrestling. I’ve had it in football but not in wrestling.”

Olson won the 160-pound third-place match 15-5 over Morrison’s Jake Dobbins.

“One thing we talked about during that injury timeout was, ‘Don’t do anything stupid to cost you the match. Just stay in it, stay in good position and fight through it another minute,’” Amy said.

Princeton 152-pound junior Earl Towne (25-13) had a more difficult injury to deal with Saturday. Towne injured his ribs in his semifinal of the championship bracket, and he was not able to compete in the wrestle-back bracket. Towne was seeded fourth in the regional.

Ary (24-13) was also seeded fourth, but he won the third-place match to earn his first sectional berth. Ary won 14-7 in the third-place match.

“I felt good,” Ary said. “I’m just glad I got to make it out of regionals for once being my senior year. That is a really cool experience, and I hope to do the same next week.”

Pate also finished higher than his seed as Pate took second after entering with the three seed. Staton (18-20) matched his, and Dove (25-13) entered seeded first but was content because second place still meant his first sectional berth.

“I feel good about it, especially since I haven’t been wrestling that long,” said Dove, a second-year wrestler. “I was surprised. I wouldn’t have thought at the beginning of the year that I’d make it this far.”

Erik Hall can be reached at 223-3200, ext. 195, or at sports@newstrib.com.

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