By Al Zipsie

Dakota won the 56th annual Lyle King wrestling Invitational this past weekend topping a 34 team field. The PIT (Princeton)  is called the "mini state" for a reason.

The Indians had two champions in freshman Maddux Blakely at 106 and sophomore Andrew Wenzel at 170. Dakota had 170.50 ahead of second place Orion with 158. Dixon was third with 148 and Coal City fourth with 147.50.

Dakota got points from 13 of the 14 weight classes for the team win. And in addition to the two champions, they were aided by Caleb Alber third at 138. Alber after a tough 3-2 loss in the semifinal to the eventual champion, came back strong with an 8-4 win for third. And fourth place efforts from two other sophomores in Lucas Sutherland at 113 and Aiden Nardin at 160.

Wenzel, who took third at the elite Dvorak is now 20-5 on the season with a win over the top seed in the semifinal and a pin in 2:12 over Hunter Pole of Dixon in the title match. The finals at the PIT are not traditional going from weight class to another weight classes at the PIT but are mixed up. And Wenzel and Blakely set the tone winning two of the first three championship matches. Blakely in the final had an 11-4 decision over Coal City's Evan Rivera,

Blakely has been flying under the radar this year, until now. Not state ranked Blakely is only a freshman and whose record like mall Dakota wrestlers is not as eye-grabbing because of the competition they face. The tough schedule only makes them better. Blakely, who was not seeded knocked off the No 1, 2 and 4 seeds to win it and spark Dakota to the team title.

The Alber name is huge in the Dakota wrestling nation rich history. With of course Josh Alber, now at Northern Iowa, the only unbeaten or untied wrestler in Illinois history winning the state title all four years. Other state champions in Josh's dad Tony and his brothers Dakota head coach Pete Alber and Greg Alber. Pete's son Vinny also won a state title. And this year Caleb a senior, the son of the brother Jim who didn't stay with wrestling, is going for a state title. And Blakely is the son of Jen, the daughter of Tony and Sherry Alber and Josh's sister. Those bloodlines keep Dakota strong one generation to the next.

Alex Friddle of Coal City became only the third wrestler in PIT history to win four titles. He won at 132 and was named the tournament's most outstanding wrestler in the lower weights. Riddle joined Josh Alber (2011 to 14) and Coal City's Cody Minnick (12 to 15) as the only champs in all four years.

Also from the Stateline, Byron had a solid showing in the upper weights with a trio of third places from Colton Ingram at 195, Peyton Lind at 220 and Tyler Elsbury at 285.

Also, this past weekend at the Polo Invitational Oregon from the Stateline had a solid runner-up finish with 147.5 points. They were only 1 and a half points behind the champion, Camanche, IA.

Oregon came up with four champions in Andrew Herbst at 106, Jacob Millman 113, Noah Paul 132 and Chase Clark at 145. The Hawks Jokiah Sewell was second at 152.

Other champions from the area came from West Carroll's Ethen Doty a sophomore at 126, who is now unbeaten in 29 matches and Eli Dertz (22-2) at 182 who had a 12-7 decision over Freeport's Matt Chavers in the title match. West Carroll also got a runner-up finish from

Camren Simpson at 170 and a third from Kelden McCombie at 160.

Freeport's Isaiah Batteast had a fall in 5:23 to take the 285-pound title, following up a solid fourth at the Dvorak. The Pretzels also had Tarrone Jackson second at 138 and Markel Baker third at 113. Freeport's Major Dedmond at 170 was sidelined after an injury at the Dvorak.

Host Polo was led by a second-place finishes from Alex Davies at 145 and Camren Simpson at 170 and third Marcus McKenna at 160. Winnebago had third places from Hayden (132) and Mannix (152) Faworski. North Boone's Anthony Mercandale was third at 220. Dakota's JV was led by a third from Adam Thompson at 145 and a fourth from Cody Meade at 195.

Lena-Winslow/Stockton over the Holiday break took a solid second at the 55 team Abe's Rumble in Springfield. They won 8 of 9 matches with the only setback in the championship to Coal City. Going unbeaten on the day at 9-0 were the state's top-ranked Ian Kuehl at 285, Case Harmston at 160 and Colin Dvorak at 170.

The states second-ranked Panther-Hawks and third-ranked Dakota collide in a dual Thursday at Dakota. Then Saturday at home face top-ranked and defending 1A state champion Aurora Christian in a dual.

Stateline Sports Hub. NUIC boys and girls basketball rankings. The state rankings come out this week. And the East Dubuque boys who are unbeaten at 15-0 should be in contention as top-ranked team. In girls, Stockton who was the state runner-up last year is expected to be in the top ten. The balance is outstanding with Stockton 15-2, Dakota 14-2, Ashton/Franklin Center led by Jaynee Prestegaard 15-2 and with a 14 game winning streak. Amboy 17-1, only loss to A/FC. Aquin 14-4, Eastland 17-4 and East Dubuque 14-2.



  1. East Dubuque.
  2. Polo.
  3. River Ridge
  4. Lena-Winslow.
  5. Pearl City.
  6. Forreston.
  7. Milledgeville.
  8. Eastland.
  9. Galena.
  10. Scales Mound.



  1. Stockton.
  2. Dakota.
  3. Ashton/Franklin Center.
  4. Amboy.
  5. East Dubuque.
  6. Eastland.
  7. Aquin.
  8. Galena.
  9. River Ridge/Scales Mound.
  10. Lena-Winslow.


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