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Davis, Culton win titles at Sycamore Wrestling Invite

SYCAMORE - Last year Austin Culton didn't even get a chance to win the annual Sycamore Wrestling tournament.

After winning his two rounds in pool play, Culton was ruled out with a concussion, forfeiting his championship bracket matches to take eighth place.

In 2013, there were no such problems.

Culton was one of four Spartans to make the championship finals on Saturday, winning the 152-pound division.

"Senior year, after what happened last year I just wanted to come in and win it," said Culton, who also won the invitational as a freshman. "Basically just push myself towards the end of the year."

Competing against many 3A schools in the 23-team tournament, Sycamore took third place as a team, besting last year's sixth-place finish.

Sycamore senior Jake Davis won the 195-pound division while Kyle Akins (113 pounds) and Marty Malone (220) each took second place.

Davis became the first Sycamore wrestler to be named the Most Outstanding Wrestler since Jeff Schmerbach in 1999. He dominated the title match, winning by technical fall in the third period.

"He's got it figured out. He's in that zone," Sycamore coach Alex Nelson said. "That fourth-place finish wasn't what he wanted last year, which obviously now he's got his goals on hopefully winning a state title. These are the first steps to it."

Akins suffered his first loss of the season, losing a 2-1 decision to Cary-Grove's Michael Cullen in the final. Akins pulled within a point in the second round with an escape, but couldn't turn Cullen in the final two minutes.

Malone had a similarly close match in the final. Malone was tied, 2-2, late in the final period before losing in the final seconds.

"I really didn't want it to end up in overtime," Malone said. "I tried to take a double, kind of lost my balance and he's a good wrestler and he got behind me."

Sycamore's Bryce Hansen (7th place), Austin Armstrong (6th), Christopher Malone (5th), Ren Swick (7th) and Tyler Barton (8th) also placed in the championship bracket.

"The kids came out and wrestled hard. They wrestled [Friday] night and had five matches [Saturday]," Nelson said. "It's a grind just to get through the day, especially when you're in a tough weight class. To come out with a third-place finish was definitely a positive thing here going forward."

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