By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
Conner Emrick was nearly out of energy.
He was almost out of time, too.
Forced to wrestle three matches Friday to reach the semifinals of the Quincy Invitational, the Quincy High School 132-pounder trailed Macomb's Steve Huffman by a point with eight seconds remaining in the third period and needed an escape to extend the match.
So he made a gutsy move. Emrick rolled to escape Huffman's grasp and force overtime, where he earned a 7-5 victory with a takedown and a spot in Saturday's semifinals at the QHS gym.
"I stood up and looked at the clock and I kept trying to do the switch to grab the leg the whole match," Emrick said. "Finally, I decided to roll because there were eight seconds left and I hit it. It worked. I'm not sure what I was thinking."
After that, all he could think about was getting some rest.
Friday's action was the first time Emrick had wrestled in six weeks due to a fractured left wrist. Making matters worse, he dislocated a rib during practice Thursday and had to have it popped back into place Friday.
That did little to slow him down. Emrick rallied to beat Pittsfield's Brenton Noble 9-7 in overtime in the first round and outlasted Burlington's Garrett Grimshaw 5-3 in the second round.
"Right now, I could go to sleep," Emrick said. "It was a long day. You go to school all day, have to do your homework and then wrestle three hard matches."
In the quarterfinals against Huffman, Emrick took a 2-1 lead in the first period, but he was penalized a point for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the first period.
Emrick didn't regain momentum until he rolled out to tie the match at 5.
"I was frustrated because I didn't know what I was doing," Emrick said. "We were going at it the whole time, and we weren't having the best sportsmanship, either of us. I feel we could have done better."
Emrick was one of three Blue Devils -- Trevor Schutte (106) and Dakota Downs (170) were the others -- to advance to the semifinals, which will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. West Hancock also had three wrestlers -- Will Lucie (106), Jack Lucie (126), and Freddy Lopez (195) -- advance.
Jack Lucie, the top seed at 126 who won the 113-pound class last year, was focused on ending matches early to earn some extra rest. In the process, Lucie psyched himself out. His match against Belleville East's Justin Servos made it to the second period.
"Getting top seed the second year in a row was like, ‘Oh man, maybe I am at the next level,'" Lucie said. "I had second thoughts about whether I belonged at the next level or not. When I went out there, I was focusing on that and not on the match. That's really where I had a hiccup in the first period and didn't score any takedowns. In the second period, I woke up, rode him out, set my cradle in and pinned him."
He didn't struggled for long, pinning Servos in 2:57 and Waterloo's Paul Stewart in 1:01.
QND's Gage Stephens (138) and Jeffrey Haley (195), along with Pittsfield's Zach Abney (170) and Linden Rossing (220) also advanced. Abney, the No. 1-ranked wrestler in Class 1A will meet Downs, the sixth-ranked wrestler in 3A, in the semifinals. Downs beat Abney 5-3 earlier in the season.