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Sycamore earns fourth straight state quarterfinal

ROCHELLE – Sycamore wrestler Kyle Akins knows that normally it’s silly to credit one wrestler with a team dual meet win.

So many factors affect a final score in a meet like Tuesday’s 30-28 sectional win over Yorkville, pinning the meet on one wrestler isn’t usually possible.

But after the Spartans qualified for their fourth straight team state quarterfinal, Akins gave a massive amount of credit to 170-pounder Ren Swick.

“It came down to Ren’s match, I have to say,” Akins said with a hoarse voice after an emotional roller-coaster of a meet. “Normally you don’t like to put it all on one person, but that was a huge win for him.”

Swick didn’t pin his opponent like Sycamore state medalists Austin Culton, Jake Davis and Akins. But the score was 27-25 with just two matches left in the meet when Swick stepped up to wrestle state qualifier Tyler Wilkinson.

If the senior lost, the meet would have been virtually over for the Spartans with 182-pounder Bobby Schillinger, who finished sixth at individual state, on deck for the Foxes.

If he won, all Chris Malone would have to do at 182 pounds was avoid losing by pin or technical fall.

“I knew if I won my match, that would pretty much do it,” Swick said.

Just weeks after narrowly missing out on qualifying for the individual state meet, Swick pulled out a 6-2 win by decision to put the Spartans up by five.

After Malone gutted out a 4-3 loss to Schillinger, the Spartans were on their way back to team state.

“That was probably the best match I’ve watched [Swick] wrestle all year,” coach Alex Nelson said. “There were some situations there that definitely put them on the edge of your seat … That’s how big duals are, you get wins from kids where it maybe isn’t expected.”

Of course, plenty of other Spartans played a large hand in the win.

Sycamore’s three pins to Yorkville’s one made for a two-point gap. At 145-pounds, Dylan Foster pulled out a late, 7-3 decision. Colton Burns also won in the 132-pound division and 220-pounder Marty Malone was victorious with a 10-5 decision.

All four wrestlers who won by decision missed qualifying for the individual state meet just 10 days before. But all four can take solace in the fact they contributed to another Sycamore state berth.

“I knew I had this coming up, so I knew I shouldn’t grieve over losing that, I knew I had to come back strong,” Swick said. “It’s huge. I knew [the state qualifiers] didn’t want it to be done, and I definitely didn’t want to be done, this being my senior year.”

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