SPOTLIGHT ON ...
Kyle Akins (120) senior, Sycamore
It was a historical run on Saturday for Akins. The Buffalo recruit has left his mark all over the Sycamore wrestling record books. With a 10-4 decision against DeKalb sophomore Parker Stratton, Akins became the first four-time champion in the history of the Northern Illinois Big 12 Tournament.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
DeKalb at St. Charles East, 6 p.m. Friday
A final tuneup for the Barbs before they host next week's Class 3A regional.
POUND-FOR-POUND POWER RANKINGS
1. Kyle Akins (120) senior, Sycamore (36-0)
2. Austin Armstrong (170) senior, Sycamore (19-1)
3. Brad Green (138) junior, DeKalb (28-6)
4. Ulisies Jacobo (106) sophomore, DeKalb (23-8)
5. Tyler Barton (195) senior, Sycamore (22-2)
6. Justin Diddell (285) senior, Kaneland (21-7)
7. Alex Roach (285) senior, DeKalb (23-3)
8. Parker Stratton (120) sophomore, DeKalb (27-7)
9. Chris Malone (182) junior, Sycamore (26-5)
10. Jackson Montgomery (132) junior, DeKalb (23-5)
NOTES: DeKalb's Jacobo shines at NI Big 12 tournament
Challenged all year to bounce back from adversity, Ulisies Jacobo used the stage at the Northern Illinois Big 12 East Tournament Saturday at Sterling to leave a lasting impression and boost his confidence as the Barbs prepare to host next week's Class 3A regional.
Jacobo won the 106-pound title in impressive fashion.
"We knew he had a lot of potential," DeKalb coach Mike Pater said about Jacobo. "He really had no problems through the tournament and was very dominant. We've challenged him this year a few times and he's struggled going up in weight. It was good to see him stay focused and keep his composure at conference. He got started with a win and the ball just kept rolling for him."
Sycamore's tournament team: With four wrestlers in the finals and two champions at the Northern Illinois Big 12 East Tournament the Spartans' tournament potential shined.
"Our depth might not always show at a dual meet," Sycamore coach Alex Nelson said. "But as a tournament team we can get guys through to the finals and really rack up points."
A Knights' week: Justin Diddell is on a hot streak.
The Kaneland senior, who became an Indiana State football recruit last week, pinned his way to a Northern Illinois Big 12, 285-pound title on Saturday.
"Justin had an awesome tournament," Knights coach Monty Jahns said. "He's moving much better. He's moving his feet, he's using his hands and he's taking his opportunities when he gets them."
VIEWS: Sycamore's Armstrong's title performance impressive
Limited practice was enough for Austin Armstrong at the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Tournament on Saturday.
Armstrong was limited to basic cardio work for a two-week stretch. He had just four practices once he was cleared to return to the Spartans' mat room last Monday. One was a basic cardio session on Monday, yet he was able to claim the 170-pound title at the NI Big 12 Conference Tournament.
"He really had his routine down," said Sycamore coach Alex Nelson who also coached Tyler Barton to a second-place finish at 195 pounds after he was sidelined for two weeks. "We run on Mondays and train in the mat room the other days. Guys can become zombies though as the season wears on because they become accustomed to the routine.
"That makes what Austin did even more impressive."
With two weeks before the Class 2A Belvidere regional, Armstrong will have plenty of time in the mat room to prepare.
Even if it seemed like he didn't need it on Saturday.
• James Nokes is a contributor to the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.