Wrestling: Royals place second at NCJC Championships

Seventh-grader Grant Gensler pins an opponent during the North Central Junior Conference Championships on Saturday. (Photo by Lori Damask)

Seven Rochelle Middle School grapplers earn individual titles

SYCAMORE — The Rochelle Middle School wrestling team saw seven Royals take home first-place finishes during the North Central Junior Conference Championships at Sycamore High School on Saturday. RMS took second place as a team with 155 points.

Sixth-grader Deegan Schabacker and eighth-grader Tommy Tourdot were two of the seven Rochelle champions. Schabacker recorded three straight pins to win the 80-pound title, while Tourdot, a three-time champion, earned two victories to claim the 85-pound title.

“It feels good,” Schabacker said. “I enjoy coming to practice, and I think my endurance has improved the most. I think I do well when I’m on bottom.”

“It feels good knowing I have a whole team behind me,” Tourdot said. “I keep my head up and tell myself that no one will beat me, and I keep wrestling no matter what the situation is. I’ve improved on being offensive and drilling hard in practice.”

Seventh-graders Xavier Villalobos and Grant Gensler dominated their respective brackets on Saturday. Villalobos won the 90-pound championship with two straight pins, and Gensler picked up two pins and a major decision to earn the 95-pound title. Seventh-grader Eli Koonce won all three of his matches to take home the 100-pound championship.

“It was amazing and the experience was so much fun,” Villalobos said. “My coaches were in my corner supporting me and my teammates were there supporting me. I feel like I do well at staying calm when I’m in tough positions. I always look for the advantage.”

“It felt pretty good,” Gensler said. “It felt even better knowing that my team was cheering me on. I think I’ve improved the most on my feet. I feel that I’m not necessarily great at one thing, but I’m good at a lot of things.”

“It feels good that my work paid off,” Koonce said. “I think I’m very dedicated to wrestling. I think I’ve improved the most mentally. I enjoy being out here with my teammates and progressing as a wrestler.”

Two Royals brought home titles in the heavier weight classes including seventh-grader Kaiden Morris and eighth-grader Quentin Berry. Morris won by fall twice to earn the 185-pound title, with Berry also totaling two pins to receive the 215-pound championship.

“I don’t think I get as tired during my matches this season,” Morris said. “I think I’m able to pin my opponent pretty quickly. It feels good to win, and I enjoy winning.”

“It feels good,” Berry said. “I enjoy the contact of the sport and being able to dominate. I think I’ve learned to take better shots this season.”

Six Rochelle wrestlers finished second in their respective brackets including sixth-graders Colten Manning and Tony Milburn, who took second in the 65-pound and 70-pound divisions. 105-pounder Brandt Waters, 112-pounder Roman Villalobos, 119-pounder Brock Metzger and 185-pounder Alex McBride also placed second on Saturday.

Two Royals including 75-pounder Owen Tooley and 145-pounder Leo Stoffel took third in the conference tournament. 95-pounder Brendan Voight finished fourth, while 105-pounder Rhett Watson and 215-pounder Lauro Cabral each placed fifth. 119-pounder Brady Jozefowicz and 112-pounder Gavin Neale each finished sixth in the tournament.

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