Class 2A wrestling: Central's Klein rallies late
CHAMPAIGN — The line on wrestler Brandon Klein’s Thursday state tournament match at State Farm Center shows a pin in 5 minutes, 59 seconds.
It doesn’t show that the Champaign Central senior was scoreless during the first 51/2 minutes of the 6-minute bout.
He got on the scoreboard in the final 25 seconds of his Class 2A 182-pound bout when opponent Alex Schwickrath, from Wauconda, was called for stalling, creating a 1-1 tie.
Unable to escape, Klein instead executed a reversal with four seconds left and turned Schwickrath to his back for a pin.
It was by design that he kept the match low-scoring.
“I’m getting over the stomach flu and don’t have a lot of gas in the tank to do stuff to score points,” he said. “I had to be defensive. I didn’t have the energy or stamina to be offensive.”
A year ago, Klein was a state-meet spectator. His season ended before Christmas with an injury. Thursday’s win was his first at state. Klein was 0-1 in his freshman appearance.
“I wanted to make an impression,” he said.
Central coach Merle Ingersoll wasn’t worried as the final seconds were ticking down and his junior was still scoreless.
“I’ve seen him catch guys,” Ingersoll said. “He knows he can pull it out at the end. He waits for that opportunity.”
Klein was one of the two area 2A athletes to move into the quarterfinals, which will start Friday at 11 a.m.
Teammate Toby Rivera (220) advanced in similar fashion.
Tied with Washington’s Jake Godinez 3-3 after regulation, Rivera collected a takedown, put his opponent on his back and won by pin in 6:39.
Like Klein, he earned his first career win at state. Rivera scored the match’s first takedown.
“That gives you a better advantage,” he said, “because you can break them down. He’s one of the strongest kids I’ve wrestled.”
As the match went into the extra 1-minute session, Ingersoll recalled the words he told Rivera midway through the season.
“It was the end of practice, and he was saying he was worn out,” Ingersoll said. “I told him to run 10 more sprints.”
Now, whenever his senior 32-match winner has an OT bout and complains about feeling drained, Ingersoll reminds him, “You should have run those sprints.”
Danville’s Javeonte Crider (120) scored the most points in two of three periods, but his 5-0 deficit after two minutes was too great to overcome in a 5-4 loss to Vernon Hills’ Jordan Reich.
“That kid was beatable,” Danville coach Terrence Tetter said, “and if we’d had any other ref, there’d have been three or four stalling points (instead of two). If we’d had one more point, it would have been a wrestling match instead of stalling match.
“It hurts more (than a first-round loss in 2013) because he did better and is ready to take it to the next level.”
Urbana’s Demetrius Jackson built a 4-1 first-period lead over Pontiac’s Stephen Richardson but was pinned in 3:59.
“He (Jackson) has only wrestled three years and is becoming a more complete wrestler,” Urbana coach Charles Trabaris said. “He has great natural ability and is really quick. Overall, he wrestled pretty well until the end.”
Richardson was leading 7-5 at the time of the pin.
Tyler Dicken dropped a 19-3 decision in the first match for the Westville/Salt Fork/Georgetown-Ridge Farm co-op to have at state in 2A.
“He went for it. He tried,” coach Trevor Maloch said. “It’s an achievement to be here, and he didn’t hold back. He’s one of the top 16 in 2A.”
Mahomet-Seymour’s two entries both lost. Kolton Taylor (126) suffered a 10-4 loss to Geneseo’s Hunter Grau despite getting the first takedown.
“I felt like he got out of our game plan. He didn’t attack like we normally do,” M-S coach Rob Ledin said. “You have to be ready to wrestle out of the gate. You can’t make excuses.”
Teammate Derek Grant (170) was in a 2-2 second-period deadlock with Fenwick’s Michael Kozyra but lost 8-3.
The area’s other 2A qualifier, Central’s Riley Staab (106) lost by technical fall to Montini’s James Pawelski.
“Riley didn’t wrestle like he’s capable, but we hope he’ll get to make amends in wrestlebacks,” Ingersoll said.