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Bowen's Von Hill pressures Antioch's Johnny Denikas in their 138-pound quarterfinal Saturday at the I.H.S.A. Wrestling Dual Team State Finals in Bloomington. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
BLOOMINGTON — Antioch and Bowen were closely matched last season and though some of the faces have changed, that fact hasn't.
For the second straight year, Antioch edged past Bowen in the Class 2A
state quarterfinals at U.S. Cellular Coliseum to assure itself of
winning a trophy. This time, the Sequoits took the final three bouts
to wipe out an eight-point deficit and win 31-27.
"I'm proud of the guys," said Bowen coach Ron Wilson, whose team lost
37-33 to the Sequoits a year ago. "They worked real hard this year.
They gave everything they [had] and all I asked them to do was leave
it all on the mat. And they did."
Things looked good for Bowen most of the match, especially after the
Boilermakers got wins in toss-up matches from Antwon Mickle at 170
pounds and Jermaine Johnson at 220.
Mickle decisioned Justin Miller 7-4 to give the Boilermakers (16-8) a
21-10 lead and Johnson pinned Dylan McBride in 3:27 to make it 27-19.
"A couple matches I didn't know which way they were going to go, we
ended up winning," Wilson said. "[That] turned out pretty good. But we
didn't finish at the end."
Antioch pulled into a 27-27 tie thanks to Kyle Nichols' 7-1 win over
Lindell Wiggins at 285 and Nathan Dlugopolski's technical fall at 4:00
over Jajuan Ross at 106.
Briley Schultz then clinched it for Antioch by beating Cory Wilson 9-1 at 113.
"It came down to the last match, two state qualifiers going at each
other and the best man won," Wilson said.
Bowen jumped ahead 8-0 on major decisions by Montate Thomas (120) and
Rudy Johnson (126). Antioch won the next three bouts — 14-3 by Mike
Gussarson at 132, 4-1 by Johnny Denikas at 138 and 8-3 in overtime by
Tyler Stephens against Zedrick King at 145.
Bowen regained the lead at 21-10 on the strength of a major decision
by Raheem Woods (152), Bobby O'Banner's pin at 160 and Mickle's
But Antioch rallied to win five of the final six bouts. Julio Ramirez
won a major decision at 195 and Lukas Poplevicius picked up a forfeit
at 182 when Bowen elected not to send out an inexperienced wrestler.
What's next for the Boilermakers, who were trying to become the first
Public League team to win a state trophy since 2000?
"We've just got to keep pushing and try to get over that hump," Wilson
said. "That's all we can do."