The spotlight was on Pekin freshman Tyler Haynes. Literally.
Facing Morton’s Tristan Parker in a key match, Haynes won 9-4 and sent the host Dragons off to a 42-29 victory Thursday in a Mid-Illini Conference wrestling dual held under the spotlight in Custer-Stoudt Gym.
“Tyler’s win swung the momentum in our favor,” said Pekin coach John Jacobs.
Haynes’ victory at 160 pounds was one of five straight Pekin wins to end the dual.
The Dragons’ Logan Bailliez won by forfeit at 170, Karson Lamb pinned Owen Gray in 1:12 at 182, and Jared Dowell blanked Alexander Ford 7-0 at 195.
Earlier, Pekin’s Kanon Clark won by forfeit at 152.
The match started at 220. Morton’s Ethan Gray pinned Pekin’s Dillon Sieh in 1:44.
Neither team had a wrestler at 285, then Morton (8-8, 2-4) got three straight pins from Zane Ely (106), Tyler Timmons (113) and Cory Hoyle (120).
Pins by Pekin’s Ryan Haynes (126), Drake Hawkins (132) and Chase Roepenack (138) was followed by a pin by Morton’s Drew Greenwood (145).
“We could have been deflated after falling behind early,” Jacobs said. “I knew we’d have trouble in the lower weights because Morton has some strong wrestlers there. We needed to weather the storm, and we did.”
Morton has completed its conference dual match schedule. Pekin is 1-1.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.