ROCHELLE — Hub freshman Tommy Tourdot knew that he would be the last wrestler to take the mat between the Rochelle varsity team and Sterling on Wednesday. What Tourdot didn’t know was that his bout with Golden Warrior 113-pounder Karson Strohmeyer would not only feature the extremely rare ultimate tiebreaker, but decide the overall winner of the dual.
With Rochelle holding a 35-33 lead over Sterling, Tourdot entered the ring against Strohmeyer, battling back and forth before the third period ended in a 6-6 draw. Both wrestlers held each other off during overtime, setting up two 30-second tiebreaker periods. The intense match briefly fell away from Tourdot, who was unable to escape during the first tiebreaker.
Conceding one point to begin the second tiebreaker in the neutral position, Tourdot forced Strohmeyer into two stalling penalties, with the second coming right before the buzzer to send the bout into a 30-second ultimate tiebreaker at 7-7. From the down position, Tourdot pulled off the move of the evening, reversing Strohmeyer near the edge of the circle to score two points and win the bout 9-7. The victory also meant Rochelle defeated Sterling 38-33.
“My coaches told me before the match that I needed to do something big,” Tourdot said. “I had shots earlier in the match, but I wasn’t able to finish them… I told myself I couldn’t let go and I had to keep driving at the end. I went down in the ultimate tiebreaker, but I hit a stand-up and when he tried to return, I walked my hips over and got my two points before pushing him out. It was really nice to win the match and we’ve been performing really well as a team.”
Senior Ivan Pineda opened the match for the Hubs (14-3), taking down and pinning William Howard at 120 pounds before sophomore Josey Weber received a forfeit at 126 pounds. The Golden Warriors answered with pins at 132 and 138 pounds, while Rochelle received a one-point deduction for unsportsmanlike conduct to give Sterling a 12-11 lead. At 145 pounds, Sterling’s Mauricio Garcia outlasted Hub junior Caleb Nadig, earning an 8-0 major decision.
A double forfeit preceded another Golden Warrior pin from Drew Kested at 160 pounds. Sterling’s Drew Howard added a pin at 170 pounds before Hub sophomore Troy Papke took a forfeit at 182 pounds. With the Hubs trailing 28-17, senior Ben Harvey bumped up to 195 pounds, scoring three takedowns and a pin against Chase Ullrich in the second period. Senior Noah Messer followed with a dominant 29-second pin against Javier Luna at 220 pounds.
After Sterling’s Jason Farnham Jr. scored a 13-second pin at 285 pounds, Hub freshman Riley Damask received a forfeit at 106 pounds, setting up Tourdot’s match-clincher at 113 pounds.
“It feels nice to be a part of this team,” Tourdot said. “We just need to stick together.”
Rochelle opened the nonconference meet on Wednesday with a dual match against Lena-Winslow/Stockton, falling 43-30 against the Class 1A powerhouse. Tommy Tourdot and Ivan Pineda started the dual with back-to-back pins at 113 pounds and 120 pounds for the Hubs, putting Rochelle up 12-0 before LWS’s Garret Luke and Carson McPeek responded with pins at 126 and 132 pounds. Senior Grant Thompson earned a 9-5 decision at 138 pounds.
“I thought the kids were awesome today,” head coach Alphonso Vruno said. “We had a discussion over the weekend about where we want to be as a team and we talked about crawling out of a hole. We talked about how we could either stay down in the hole or we could climb out, and I thought the kids climbed out of the hole with that performance today.”
Caleb Nadig added to the Hub lead at 145 pounds, holding off Simon Rillie for a 6-4 decision. LWS earned a forfeit at 152 pounds before scoring two pins and a major decision at 160, 170 and 182 pounds to surge ahead 34-18. LWS’s Jaden Rice edged Ben Harvey with a 5-2 decision at 195 pounds, but Noah Messer brought the Hubs back with a 41-second pin at 220 pounds.
LWS sealed the win at 285 pounds, scoring one final pin before Riley Damask took a forfeit at 106 pounds. Rochelle will host Kaneland and Machensey Park (Harlem) on Thursday.