Boys wrestling: Sycamore second, Kaneland third at Interstate 8 tournament

Ottawa takes fourth behind team champ Rochelle; Sycamore has five champs

Sycamore’s Cooper Bode controls Sandwich’s Bryce Decker during their 170 pound championship match Saturday Jan. 21, 2023, during the Interstate 8 Conference wrestling tournament at Sycamore High School.

SYCAMORE – Kamron Scholl held on for dear life quite literally in the Interstate 8 Conference title match against Rochelle’s Xavier Villalobos Saturday.

The Kaneland 120-pounder had Villalobos by the lower part of his leg in the closing seconds of the third overtime, just barely, but hung on to prevent the escape and claim a 2-1 win for the league title.

“I just knew I couldn’t let him up. We had to keep going,” Scholl said. “I was already gassed.”

Scholl and Caden Grabowski claimed titles for the Knights, helping Kaneland take third with 168 points behind runner-up Sycamore (190) and their five individual champions and team champ Rochelle (217.5).

Ottawa (123) took fourth, edging out Morris (117) and Plano (109). Sandwich was seventh with 87 points while LaSalle-Peru was eighth with 73. Complete results are available on trackwrestling.com.

The Hubs led throughout, but the Spartans made things close in the championship round with titles from Gus Cambier at 152, Zack Crawford at 160, Cooper Bode at 170, Gable Carrick at 195 and Lincoln Cooley at 285.

Bode, a freshman, got a second-period pin against Bryce Decker of Sandwich. The match was tied at 2-2 after the first period, but Bode racked up seven back points in the second without allowing an escape en route to an 11-2 win.

“It feels pretty good. That was the goal, go out here and wrestled. And that’s what I did,” Bode said. “I’ve been training hard, I really have really good practice partners and they motivate me a lot.”

The win reversed a loss Bode suffered to Decker earlier this year. Sycamore coach Randy Culton said Bode’s been working hard for the last month and a half in the training room, going up against experienced Sycamore wrestlers like Cambier and Crawford.

“The difference was on-the-job learning,” Culton said. “He did some stupid things, some freshman things. So he got himself into shape. He was out of shape, not feeling it, and he realized that. And he earned that title in the wrestling room. I’m proud of him.”

Scholl also topped a wrestler he lost to earlier this year. He had faced Villalobos twice, falling 11-2 at a Rockford East tourney and 6-2 in Maple Park.

This time, the match went overtime tied 1-1. After the first minute-long period didn’t decide a winner, Scholl got an escape at the buzzer and looked poised for a reverse if there had been a couple more seconds on the clock.

He rode out Villalobos to lock up the win against his foe from Rochelle.

“To finally beat him feels great. That was one of my goals to beat Xavier,” Scholl said. “Now I got to get a new goal.”

Ivan Munoz started off the championship with round with Ottawa’s only title, winning 4-0 against Morris’ Owen Sater at 106.

The junior said it felt good to win the title despite not having competed much before this season.

“It’s amazing. Last year I went to Mexico and I really didn’t wrestle much freshman year,” Munoz said. “I knew I could win it because I’ve already beaten everybody here, including the Morris kid. But this one was way closer.”

Miles Corder had Sandwich’s lone title, beating La Salle-Peru’s Gunnar Skoog for the 138 crown. He said it was a long day between matches, especially before the championship match, but he ended up with a pin in 1:56 for the title.

“I came in today to my bus at 5 a.m. and I was very tired. I’m not a morning person,” Corder said. “It’s sort of like a snowball effect. You get the ball rolling.”

While La Salle-Peru was at the bottom of the team standings, Connor Lorden won at 220 pounds, beating Kaiden Morris of Rochelle. He moved to 3-0 against Morris after falling to him last year.

It was the second year in a row Lorden claimed the league championship.

“You know, I keep drinking my milk and eating my chicken, and that’s why I’m here,” Lorden said.

Lorden jumped up 3-0 in the second after an escape and takedown, but gave up an escape and a takedown before getting a second escape to take a 4-3 lead into the third. He eventually got a pin in 5:31 for the win.

“I’m 3-0 against him this year, and I’ll see him at regionals, sectionals and state,” Lorden said. “And I’m going to stay undefeated.”

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