Last year didn’t go out like a lamb for one Pekin wrestler.
Noah Lamb finished second in the 285-pound weight division in the Railer Holiday Tournament at Lincoln, perhaps providing a glimpse of what 2018 will bring for him.
“Noah’s confidence has turned the corner,” said Pekin coach John Jacobs. “He seems more comfortable during matches. He’s not so tentative.”
Lamb wrestled six matches Thursday and Friday at the Lincoln tournament and won four of them, all by pins. The senior pinned Lincoln’s Tyson Opel in 19 seconds in the semifinals.
It was Lamb’s best finish in an invitational.
The Dragons placed eighth of 24 teams at Lincoln despite having four starters out because of illness and injuries.
“To be missing that many guys and finish in the top third in that tournament is a nice accomplishment,” Jacobs said.
Cahokia (384), Normal Community (353), Antioch (349), Canton (298), Marengo (294.5), Quincy (282.5) and Carbondale (263.5) finished in front of Pekin (259). Lincoln (256) and Springfield (247) rounded out the top 10.
Three other Pekin wrestlers in addition to Lamb earned medals for top-4 finishes.
Tyler Siddles placed third at 195 pounds, and Ryan Haynes and Drake Hawkins were fourth at 113 and 120, respectively.
Siddles continues his comeback from a serious knee injury he suffered in the 2016 Lincoln tournament.
“Tyler is a tough kid. He’s a trooper,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said Haynes and Hawkins did well against tough competition.
Pekin’s Evan Garland was sixth at 126, Brody Haynes was seventh at 145 and Andrew Krahn was eighth at 220.
Logan Bailliez (138), Kurtis Clark (152) and Dillon Sieh (195) also competed for the Dragons. Bailliez won three matches. Clark and Sieh were brought up from the junior varsity team to get some varsity experience.
Pekin has only two home dates this season. The first is Thursday, when the Dragons will face Mid-Illini Conference rivals Limestone and Metamora in Custer-Stoudt Gym.
Matches will begin at 5 p.m., most likely with Limestone vs. Metamora.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.