Herald-Whig

Going for broke: Yohn's aggressive start not enough to avoid title match loss

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February 16, 2019 - Champaign, IL - Quincy's Hunter Yohn tries to avoid a takedown by Lockport's Baylor Fernandes during their 160-pound title match at the IHSA Individual Wrestling State Finals. (Photo: PhotoNews/Clark Brooks)
Clark Brooks
By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
Posted: Feb. 16, 2019 10:40 pm

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Only a handful of seconds had elapsed in the 160-pound title match in the Class 3A state wrestling tournament before Quincy High School's Hunter Yohn lifted Lockport's Baylor Fernandes and put him on his back.

He was there only a second or two.

Fernandes escaped the dangerous situation, hit Yohn with a reversal and ultimately pinned the QHS senior in 1 minute, 10 seconds Saturday night.

For a fleeting second, though, Yohn had the capacity crowd in State Farm Center captivated.

"I felt the arena go crazy," Yohn said. "And then it was all over."

QHS coach Phil Neally said everyone could feel the crowd sort of gasp at Yohn's aggressive mood.

"The place for about two seconds was ready to go nuts," Neally said. "He put his back on the mat, and his effort was tremendous. Give the Fernandes kid credit. He turned it just as quick, and it was over."

The go-for-broke mentality out of the gate was done by choice to potentially catch Fernandes napping.

"I knew he was a tough opponent on top," said Yohn, who was pinned by Fernandes in 2:24 in last week's Joliet Central Sectional championship match. "I knew I needed to avoid getting on my back, so I tried to catch him off guard."

Once Fernandes got his bearings, Yohn was in trouble.

After the reversal tied the match at 2, Fernandes got Yohn on his back twice. The first time, Yohn fought off the pin, giving up three near-fall points in the process.

The second time, Yohn was stuck.

"I almost had him," Yohn said. "Almost."

Yohn became the fifth wrestler in QHS history to wrestle for a state title and is the 12th to win a state medal. He finishes his season with a 44-4 record and more than 100 career victories.

"It's just amazing to have gotten this far," Yohn said. "I stepped up this weekend and wrestled my hardest."

Neally said he couldn't ask for anything else.

"He's opened some doors for himself with how hard he wrestled and how much he fought," Neally said. "I'm so proud of his effort and his growth. It's been amazing to watch."

Yohn wasn't the only area wrestler to bring home a medal.

Pittsfield senior Elliott Fox finished sixth at 195 pounds in the Class 1A tournament. Fox (37-14) beat Monticello's Matt Kerr 6-2 on Saturday morning to get into the medal rounds. He lost in the consolation semifinals 2-0 to Byron's Colton Ingram, then lost an 8-4 decision to Princeton's Dallas Hill in the fifth-place bout.

At 138 pounds, Central senior Chayse Houston had his run end one match shy of the medal rounds. He lost to Auburn's Cam Lee 2-0 to finish with a 22-5 record.