CHAMPAIGN — There will be matches that end with quick pins, matches in which a high-ranked wrestler is beaten, but the State Farm Center may not have another this year like Tyler Bergstrahl’s state tournament debut in wrestling.
“I was JV last year; now I’ve made it to state,” Bergstrahl said.
He did more than make it.
Bergstrahl registered one of Thursday’s most improbable comebacks, rallying from a 10-0 deficit in the final period to win 12-10 in overtime.
The 138-pound Prairie Central junior was on the top position when the third period of his Class 1A bout began against Pinckneyville’s Christopher Hagan. Many athletes in his position would be thinking about not losing by a 15-point technical-fall margin.
“I tried to think the score was 0-0 and get as many points as I could,” Bergstrahl said.
Rather than allow Hagan an escape and seek takedowns, Bergstrahl used his strength to turn his opponent on his back three times — each time with a different move — all giving him three-point near falls. With 13 seconds to go, Hagan was penalized for stalling, and that sent the two wrestlers into overtime tied at 10.
Bergstrahl, who had given up takedowns twice, recorded the winner with 19 seconds left in OT.
“Amazing,” PC coach Ben Morris said. “I’ve never seen a 10-point comeback in the third period.”
In escaping a defeat, Bergstrahl (29-9) was at a loss for words.
“This makes me happy,” he said.