Boys wrestling: Yorkville Christian rally falls short in 2A dual team sectional loss to Rochelle

Yorkville Christian’s Garrett Tunnell stares down Rochelle’s Frank Decena during Tuesday’s IHSA Class 2A Dual Team Sectional match at Rochelle.

ROCHELLE – A short-handed Yorkville Christian team traveled to Rochelle and gave the Hubs everything they could handle during Tuesday’s IHSA Class 2A Rochelle Dual Team Sectional matchup.

Despite conceding forfeits at two weight classes, the Mustangs made a late push to take the match after a series of victories at the middle weights. With only the 175-pound bout left to complete, Yorkville Christian had erased an 18-point deficit and clawed to within six points.

In an excellent battle that went both ways until the final seconds of the third period, a match-clinching reversal from Rochelle’s Roman Villalobos resulted in an 8-6 decision over Yorkville Christian’s Jackson Allen in the 175-pound match. The Villalobos victory led to a 39-30 win for the Hubs (24-6) and a heartbreaking season-ending loss for the Mustangs (20-10).

“We forfeited two weights, we had one injured starter, we had two first-time wrestlers in our lineup and we still battled down to the last match,” Yorkville Christian head coach Mike Vester said. “All of the credit goes to the young kids who backed us up and wrestled with heart. This loss should sting a little bit because we’ve moved on in these matches over the last couple of years. Rochelle came out and finished the matches they should have and we wish them luck.”

The Mustangs fell behind early after two of Rochelle’s state qualifiers, Brock Metzger and Kaiden Morris, won by pins to take the 190-pound and 215-pound matches. Yorkville Christian got itself on the board after 285-pounder Garrett Tunnell scored a quick pin against Frank Decena. Yorkville Christian forfeited both the 106-pound and 113-pound weights, as the Mustangs competed without injured state medalist Aiden Larsen, who took sixth in Champaign.

Yorkville Christian took a key match at the 120-pound class, with Eli Foster stepping up and notching a 12-6 decision over Rochelle’s Tony Milburn. Both teams sent out state medalists over the next two bouts, as Rochelle’s Xavier Villalobos pinned Jackson Witt to take the 126-pound bout and Yorkville Christian state champion Ty Edwards pinned Frank Nasca at 132 pounds.

“We only have one starter in our lineup who will be gone after this year and that’s Ty Edwards,” Vester said. “He’s irreplaceable, but this whole team will be back next year and we have a lot of opportunities ahead of us. We have kids who have been building up their skills and haven’t had the chance to see the light because they’re behind guys like Ty Edwards. We’re going to miss our seniors, but I’m excited for the future of our program. This team will be back next year.”

Yorkville Christian’s Tiras Lombardo works against Rochelle’s Josh Lassiter during Tuesday’s IHSA Class 2A Dual Team Sectional match at Rochelle.

An unfortunate injury led to a medical forfeit in the 138-pound bout, where a takedown from Rochelle’s Deegan Schabacker left Yorkville Christian’s Grason Johnson unable to continue. The win gave the Hubs a 36-15 lead over the Mustangs, who responded with four straight wins to fight back into the match. Tiras Lombardo won by 8-3 decision in the 144-pound bout, while John Isaac Gray outlasted Rochelle’s Brenden Voight for a 7-5 decision in the 150-pound bout.

Yorkville Christian made the score 36-30 after Tyler Gleason pinned Matt Lynn at 157 pounds and state qualifier Robby Nelson held off Rochelle state qualifier Grant Gensler for a 2-0 sudden victory in overtime at 165 pounds. With one bout remaining, Yorkville Christian sent Jackson Allen into the circle against Roman Villalobos, who won with a last-second reversal for the Hubs.