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Spartans win 4th straight regional title

Published: Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 11:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013 12:35 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Rob Winner — rwinner@shawmedia.com)
Sycamore's Kyle Akins (top) controls Kaneland's Stephen Gust during their 113-pound finals match at the Class 2A Sycamore Regional on Saturday. Akins won by technical fall.

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore wrestling team showed just how dominant they can be in Saturday's Class 2A Sycamore Regional.

The Spartans scored 210 points to win their fourth straight regional title, 65.5 points ahead of second-place Kaneland.

“We felt like we wanted to get our foot right in the door so we could explode into sectionals,” said 220-pounder Marty Malone, who was one of Sycamore's six division champions. “We definitely thought Kaneland was going to be tough, but I definitely thought we were going to pull through.”

Ten Spartans will move on to the individual sectional meet. Austin Culton will try to return to the state meet to defend his championship, and Kyle Akins and Jake Davis will attempt to make it back down to Champaign after placing last year.

The Spartans also moved on to the team sectional by virtue of Saturday's win, and they'll try to best last year's eighth-place finish at team state.

“The regional championships are definitely something you need to keep going,” Sycamore coach Alex Nelson said. “But obviously, a sectional win is what we're looking for along with going down to team state.”

Seven Kaneland wrestlers moved on, and four wrestlers took home individual championships: 132-pounder Esai Ponce, 138-pounder Sonny Horn, 145-pounder Dan Goress and 285-pounder Zach Theis. All seven of the advancing Knights are seniors.

“They've done what we expected them to do all year,” Kaneland coach Monty Jahns said. “[Goress] is just solid. He's right on, and that's carried over in the room. Esai is right behind him.”

Just a week ago, Sycamore finished second in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference meet after initially believing they had won. When Nelson broke the news to his team that Yorkville had, in fact, won the meet by two points, junior Austin Armstrong felt a small pang of guilt.

There was absolutely nothing the 160-pounder could do after missing the meet with a concussion. But he knew that when he's in the lineup, the Spartans are nearly unbeatable.

“It was frustrating,” Armstrong said. “We were a little upset knowing that we didn't quite do our best.”

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