Locals rise to the occasion against perennial powers

West Carroll leads local teams at 1A Regional

MOUNT CARROLL – Seven local individuals took home regional titles at their respective weight classes Saturday at the Class 1A West Carroll Regional, yet no team came close to challenging the area’s top small-school heavyweights.

For the third straight year, Lena-Winslow/Stockton beat out chief rival Dakota for the regional title, with the PantherHawks racking up 181 points to the Indians’ total of 170.5 at West Carroll Middle School. It was the eighth year in a row that one of the two squads won a regional title.

Parity reigned throughout the remainder of the team standings. Host West Carroll captured third place with 131 points. Oregon took fourth with 121 points, Newman was fifth with 111, Rock Falls came in sixth (102) and Polo finished eighth (55).

West Carroll’s Ethen Doty remained undefeated at 37-0 after dominating Newman’s Will Rude in the 126-pound title bout. Doty also added two first-period pins in the morning, another stellar showing from one of just two locals to enter sectionals with a zero in the loss column.

“It’s a little bit of pressure,” Doty said. “I know I’ll have a tough time at sectionals, and so will everybody else.”

Eastland junior Eli Dertz (30-3) won a 10-0 major decision against Oregon’s Zach Crandall in the 182-pound final. Relatively new to the West Carroll program, Dertz’s low set-up gave him opportunities to take shots whenever he wanted.

“I only started wrestling a couple years ago, and I was very untechnical,” Dertz said. “I’ve continued to learn moves, and to see that work pay off on the mat is incredible.”

Trapper Hartman finished second at 120 pounds for the ThunderCats, as did Briar Nevills at 113; while teammates Miguel Watkins (106) Kelden McCombie (160) and Dalton Coyer (195) each dropped their respective third-place bouts.

Newman, like the host Thunder, also had two individual champs.

Kyle Tunink used a takedown in the final seconds of the first period of his 138-pound title tilt against Dakota’s Caleb Alber, and never wavered in the final 4 minutes of his 2-0 victory.

“That takedown allowed me to not press as much to score points,” Tunink said. “[Alber] was down the whole match, and I was able to capitalize on a couple of errors. He struggled to get off the mat.”

Brody Ivey improved to 43-2 on the year after defeating Rock Falls’ Reilley Dowd (32-13) in the 152-pound final.

Dowd, the No. 6 seed in a loaded bracket, won a 3-0 decision over 3 seed Andrew Haas from Lena-Winslow-Stockton, and pinned 2 seed Evan Walters of Byron in 3:46 to reach the finals. However, he came up short in an 8-2 loss to the top-seeded Ivey.

“We know each other pretty well. I’ve wrestled him a few times in my life,” Ivey said. “We each know what the other person is going to do. What it comes down to is being gritty.”

Newman’s Riley Wescott (24-7) fell to Byron’s Peyton Lind in the 220-pound final, but still took solace in advancing. The Comets’ Mason Newman pinned West Carroll’s Camren Simpson in 1:15 for third place at 170 pounds, while heavyweight Aidan Langley lost his third-place bout to Dakota’s Erik Quinnett.

Milledgeville junior Marcus McKenna (28-12) lost an 8-2 decision to Lena-Winslow-Stockton’s only undefeated wrestler – Case Harmston – in the 160-pound final. McKenna picked up two second-period pins to secure his spot at sectionals, a point of pride for the lone qualifier wrestling under the Polo banner.

“I’d like to have Milledgeville on the singlets,” McKenna laughed. “But it’s great. Our coach has helped us a lot.”

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