Everybody knew that the IHSA Polo Regional would be a meat grinder with top ranked Dakota, second ranked Lena-Winslow-Stockton, and eighth ranked Dixon thrown together.
Add in honorable mentions Stillman Valley and West Carroll and ranked wrestlers in every bracket, it had to be tough.
It was really tough on the Oregon Hawks.
Only three Oregon wrestlers made to the medal round and all three finished fourth and will be alternates to the Oregon Sectional starting next Friday and continuing Saturday at 10 a.m.
“It is really disappointing to not get anyone out,” said Hawk Head Coach Kip Crandall. “The only thing I can say is that I am extremely proud of these kids.”
Crandall pointed to the injury and illness that befell the Hawks in December.
“A lot of teams would have fallen apart with everything that happened to us, but not these guys,” he said.
Oregon had just a couple of upperclassmen to lead a largely freshman team. “There was remarkable improvement as the season went on and we did some good things,” he added. “I am just sorry it had to end here.”
Dakota easily took the team title with 238.5 points, taking six first places, two seconds and two thirds.
Only one of their 14 wrestlers did not make the medal round. Second place Lena had 193.5 points and four champions, four seconds, and a third place. Stillman was a distant third with 117 points with two runners-up and three third places. Fourth place Dixon, 112 points, had one champ and three more qualifiers.
Fifth place West Carroll sent six to the medal round and had a champ, three seconds and a third.
Fulton had four advance and Byron sends two champions and a third place to the next level.
Lane Halvorson at 106, Seth Stevens at 126, and Jokiah Sewell at 160 represented the Hawks on the third place mat.
All three had advanced to the championship semifinals and lost to the eventual champion.
Exiting the tournament in the consolation semifinals were Braydon Altherr at 138 pounds and Gabe Eckerd at 145 pounds. Edwin Estrada, 113, Adam Glendenning, 182, Jonathon Alaniz, 195, and Evan Flaharty, 285 all dropped from the competition in the wrestleback quarterfinals.
Halvorson got a takedown in a cradle before he went high with a half nelson and pinned at 1:11 in his opener
Facing sixth ranked Garrett Luke of Lena in the semifinal, Halvorson was taken down in an outside single and pinned in a cradle at 1:21. In the consolation semifinal, he went out front with a half nelson to lead 5-2 after the first period.
They traded reversals in the second and he lost a reverse with 20 seconds left in the match, escaping from a cradle late to take an 8-6 win.
Halvorson just couldn’t get anything going in the third place match against Chris Sitter of Dixon. He scored five escapes but lost takedowns in every period and a reverse in the second in a 10-5 loss.
Stevens met Connor Eubanks of Polo in his opener. After a scoreless first, he picked up a stalling point, an escape and worked off the head for a takedown in the second. He gave up a takedown in the third but escaped and held on for a 5-2 win.
In the semifinal against Jaden Rice of Le-Win, Stevens lost a double leg takedown in the first and an escape in the second before just missing a takedown to the back.
He managed a late escape and went down 5-1. In the consolation semifinal, Stevens put up the first points when he reversed out the back with 40 seconds left in the second and he rode tough the third period, to take a 2-1 win.
Against Trapper Hartmann of West Carroll in the third place match it was over quickly. Stevens got caught in a throw and pinned in 51 seconds.
Sewell got the first takedown in the quarterfinal and escaped to start the second but he lost a counter and went to his back in a cradle, saved by the buzzer.
Down by one in the third, Sewell caught a body lock and pinned at 5:53. In the semifinal against third ranked Aiden Nardin of Dakota , Sewell had a wild first period with a series of reverses, Sewell on his back twice, and scoring a late outside single to trail 10-6.
After trading reverses in the second, he lost two takedowns in the third to drop a 17-9 major decision.
In the consolation semifinal, Sewell had a for tilt two points in the first period and stopped a stand and took his opponent to his back at 2:13.
In the third place match against Marcus McKenna of Polo, Sewell looked to be in control with two takedowns and an escape, but he tried a throw and got countered to his back to fall behind 6-5 at the end of two.
Sewell scored a high crotch takedown but let McKenna up and lost a bow and arrow takedown with 30 seconds left to go down 10-7.
In his opener against the eventual champion, sixth ranked Lucas Sutherland of Dakota, Altherr was taken down in a half nelson and pinned in 29 seconds.
In consolation, Altherr had three takedowns and pulled a wing back for a 9-2 first period lead. A takedown in a headlock at the start of the second and a step over for three more points completed a 17-2 technical fall at 3:32.
In the semifinal, Altherr got roughed up. He was taken to his back at the start, managed a reverse, but was on his back twice in the second and pinned with a chicken wing at 3:32.
Eckerd drew eventual champion Simon Rille of Le-Win in the quarterfinal. He hung with him in the first period and was down 2-0, but Rille cranked it up in the second with three sets of backpoints. Eckerd went over again in the third and was pinned in a half nelson at 4:56.
In the first wrestleback, he went right to work with a tilt and a chicken wing for a 7-0 lead after one and hooked up another chicken wing in the second for a pin at 2:58. In the semifinal, Eckerd was down 2-1 in the second when he slipped and fell and was taken to his back for three points.
Working from behind, he escaped and hit an outside single in the second. He escaped to get within three in the third but lost two takedowns and he went down 12-6.
In the quarterfinal, Estrada got quickly taken down in a high crotch and turned with a half nelson out front and was pinned in 43 seconds by second place finisher Dillon Raab of Lena.
In the consolation semifinal, Estrada got the first takedown but lost a late escape and another to start the second. Then he lost a takedown to his back and another takedown late in the third period to lose a 12-4 major decision, an escape and penalty point too late to help his cause.
Glendenning started against eventual third place medalist Logan Jennings of Stillman Valley. He scored a switch in the first period and trailed 5-2 after one.
He was reversed in a granby at the start of the second, losing two backpoints, and had a chance on a drive but came up short.
Glendenning was turned in a chicken wing late in the second and a lost takedown to the back in the third finished a 17-2 technical fall loss at 5:09.
In consolation, Glendenning lost two early takedowns and was on his back in a half nelson before he was turned with a cradle and pinned in a half nelson at 1:43
In his opener, Alaniz was behind 7-0 after the first, caught in two cradles. He chose the top in the second and went from a power half to a half nelson to pin at 2:22.
Against third ranked and eventual champion Sebastian Quintana of Dixon in the quarterfinal, Alaniz lost a quick takedown and was pinned in a neck wrench in 32 seconds.
The season ended for the freshman when, trailing 3-0, he lost a switch to start the second and was turned with a power half and pinned at 3:08 in the wrestleback quarterfinal.
In his opening match, Flaherty lost takedowns in every period and was fighting off half nelsons throughout the match.
He gave up two points on one in the second period and trailed 9-0 when he was pinned with another with five seconds left in the match. In consolation, Flaherty was driven to his back in a half nelson at 1:17 to end his season.