ROCKFORD — Five Rochelle wrestlers brought home medals from the Giardini Invitational at Rockford East on Saturday. Caleb Nadig, Bryan Garza and Ben Harvey all placed second in their brackets, while Noah Messer took third and Keegan Davis-Carter finished fifth for the Hubs, who placed seventh out of 15 schools with 117 points.
Nadig (8-1) took second place at 126 pounds, beginning the tournament with three consecutive falls over Kaneland’s Kole Valignota, East Aurora’s Branden Madera and Metea Valley’s Kenny Siwicki to reach the championship match. The sophomore battled Geneseo’s Luke Henkhaus for the title, losing by 7-2 decision to finish second.
Garza (7-1) placed second at 170 pounds, receiving a first-round bye and then defeating LaSalle-Peru’s Nick Krolak by 6-0 decision to enter the semifinals. Garza won by fall over Belvidere’s Jake Bell to take on Zion-Benton’s Jordan Chisum for the title, and in the championship bout, Chisum defeated Garza by 15-6 major decision to place the Rochelle senior in second.
Harvey (7-1) came very close to winning the 195-pound bracket, falling by 3-1 sudden victory against Rockford East’s Zander Guttridge in the championship match. The junior opened tournament action with a fall over East Aurora’s Aldo Rivera before picking up an 8-2 decision over St. Charles North’s Colman Gonnella and a 3-2 decision against Metamora’s Payton Cardin to enter the finals.
Messer (5-3) took third place at 182 pounds after rallying to defeat Waubonsie Valley’s Nathan Pappas by fall in the third period of the consolation finals. Messer received a first-round bye and an injury forfeit over Metea Valley’s Temur Akbarov, but the junior lost by 15-0 technical fall against eventual champion Matthew Chavers from Freeport.
Davis-Carter (7-3) finished fifth at 138 pounds, defeating Zion-Benton’s David Muma by 12-2 major decision for the final medal position. Eventual champion Jack Seacrist of Rockford East edged Davis-Carter out by 6-4 sudden victory in the opening round before the senior rallied for four straight wins including the fifth-place bout. Davis-Carter topped Geneseo’s Aiden Damewood by 17-4 major decision, received an injury forfeit over St. Charles North’s Carson Janchik and beat Belvidere’s Caden Lendman by 13-7 decision.
Zeke Horn (5-3) nearly medaled for the Hubs, placing sixth at 160 pounds. Horn dropped a tough 5-3 decision to LaSalle-Peru’s Parker Swiskoski in the first round before receiving a consolation bye and pinning Freeport’s Micah McIntosh soon after. Horn slipped past Kaneland’s Jack Yore by 6-5 decision to reach the fifth-place bout, where the senior lost by fall against Rolling Meadows grappler Sam Dornbos.
Sophomore Ethan Tooley (3-5) scored seven points at 145 pounds for Rochelle, while junior Ivan Pineda (5-3) added four points at 106 pounds and junior Grant Thompson (5-3) recorded three points at 132 pounds. Senior Zack Capes (3-2) totaled two points at 285 pounds. Senior Diego Escobar didn’t score, but picked up two wins over North Boone’s Garrett Louis and East Aurora’s Angel Solis at 170 pounds.