Boys wrestling: Sycamore picks up win over Ottawa

Sycamore’s Connor Kness, Ottawa’s Andrew Ristau and Hector Valdez pick up wild comeback wins

Sycamore’s Asher Dohogne controls Ottawa’s Ethan Day during their 285 pound match Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, at Sycamore High School.

SYCAMORE – Connor Kness felt that Keagan Duffy was open. He just had to figure out a way to get off his back long enough for his shot.

The Sycamore sophomore was down 7-0 with just over 90 seconds left in the 126-pound match when he got his opening against his foe from Ottawa, got the reversal, and seconds later got the pin.

The win clinched the Spartans’ 50-24 victory over the Pirates in the Interstate 8 battle on Thursday.

“I didn’t think I’d be able to pull that off based on how hard he was hitting me and choking me out with my own straps,” Kness said. “I could just feel how open he was when he had me going for the second or third time. I just decided to hop over and see what happens. Everything fell into place perfectly.”

It was the first varsity victory for Kness, said Sycamore coach Randy Culton. Culton also said he considered taking the forfeit at 126.

“Then I thought why not. He hasn’t been out there in a while let’s get him out there and see what he can do,” Culton said. “He’s been hurt, got released literally today. Very proud of him, the whole team.”

Earlier in the match, Ottawa picked up a pair of wins in similar manners by both Hector Valdez at 215 and Andrew Ristau at 165.

Valdez trailed Cayden Larson 6-2 at the end of the first period, but he got his pin and the victory 0:22 into the second, at the time drawing Ottawa to within 14-12.

“I saw the hand, I saw he was posting with it and I just took the chance and made the best out of it,” Valdez said. “Our coaches do a really good job of telling us not to give up, to never stop fighting until the period is over. Keep on going, no matter what. That mentality just stuck with me during the match and I kept on going.”

Ristau trailed freshman Adam Carrick 7-0 in the second and was on his back when he got the reversal and the pin for the victory. His win put Ottawa up 6-3 at the time.

“It’s always a big momentum swing to see that happen,” Ottawa coach Peter Marx said. “The kids can kind of start feeding on it. But then we have to make sure we keep doing the things they did, where in a couple of cases we rested on our laurels a little bit and it came back to bite us.”

All four Ottawa wins came by pin, with Malachi Snyder and Marek Duffy winning as well.

Ivan Munoz, who is ranked by at 113, had to wrestle up at 120. The match was tied at 3-3 with less than 10 seconds left and Tyler Lockhart on his back, when the Sycamore wrestler got a reverse and a nearfall for the 8-3 victory.

“He was a good kid and I got a big win,” Lockhart said. “I knew he was ranked pretty high and just had to wrestle my match.”

Culton said it was a big win for Lockhart.

“We all know what Tyler can do as coaches,” Culton said. “I’m not really sure Tyler knew what he could do. He had a really good week of practice. ... I’m very proud of him. Against a top-ranked kid in 2A, he came out there and took care of his business.”

Michael Olson, Jayden Dohogne and Asher Dohogne picked up pins for the Spartans. Gable Carrick had a tech fall, Noah Carlson and Douglas Gemberling won by decision and Cooper Bode won by forfeit.

Culton said quick reversals – like the one Kness got or the ones that happened against Adam Carrick and Larson – can happen on any given night given the nature of the sport.

Marx said he was glad to see Ristau and Valdez capitalize off those sort of wins.

“They never gave up, they kept on wrestling and good things happened,” Marx said. “We had some matches where we coasted a little bit and some not-so-good things happened.”