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Carmel High School's Jake Cochrane stops a shooting Lavontay Cobb during 285-pound 2A matchup at the IHSA State wrestling tournament at Assembly Hall in Champaign on Saturday, February 16, 2013. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
CHAMPAIGN — There may be no second acts in life, but there are in wrestling.
And they turned out as well as possible for a quartet of Lake County wrestlers Saturday at Assembly Hall.
After they lost semifinal bouts Friday night, their ceiling in the state tournament was third place. All of them achieved that level and four more local wrestlers also earned medals.
This was a time to consider the glass as half full, tough as that was.
“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Carmel 285-pounder Jake Cochrane said of going back on the mat after getting pinned on Friday by Springfield Southeast’s Copache Tyler.
“You can say people give up [after a semifinal loss],” he added. “I didn’t give up, I came back. But I would have liked to have done better.”
Indeed, Cochrane came downstate with the goal of becoming Carmel’s first state champ and also being the second straight Lake County heavyweight to win 2A after Vernon Hills’ Jeremy Brazil took first a year ago.
Cochrane did become the Corsairs’ second two-time state placer and first since Derrick Noble in 1992-93. The senior, who was fourth at 285 last season, won twice Saturday to finish 44-2. He edged King’s Lavontay Cobb 1-0 in the Class 2A third-place match.
Stevenson 145-pounder Justin Weber, cheered on by a crowd of fans wearing lime-green T-shirts with “Leave No Doubt” on the front, also took care of business on Saturday after losing 22-9 to unbeaten and nationally-ranked Bryce Brill of Mount Carmel in Friday’s Class 3A semifinals.
“My mindset going into the [semifinal] match, I really believed I could win, because that’s the attitude you’ve got to have,” Weber said. “Obviously, Brill is a little too much for me right now. He’s one hell of a wrestler. He’s the best kid here, between him and [Glenbard North 126-pounder Jered] Cortez. ... Bouncing back wasn’t too tough because the better wrestler won.”
Weber (44-4) won twice Saturday, beating Lake Park’s Austin Schoen 3-1 for third place.
“I’m a senior, I want to leave on a good note — I want to leave on a win,” Weber said. “I came down here wanting to win. I wrestled my best. If my best isn’t better than Brill’s, then what can I do?
“Sometimes you’re just not as good as the other guy.”
Also taking thirds in 2A were Vernon Hills 106-pounder Jordan Reich (46-6) and Wauconda 132-pounder Devin Tortorice (41-5).
Reich refocused after losing in the semis to Oak Forest’s Danny Swan, whom he defeated 3-1 in overtime earlier this season.
“After that, you have to let it go,” said Reich, who pinned Montini’s Jimmy Pawelski in 1:53 for third place. “You have to move on. ... I knew I had the potential to place. My goal was to win it. I didn’t reach my goal, but I still wrestled pretty good. I will be even more motivated for next year.”
Tortorice edged Antioch’s Mike Gussarson 5-4 in the wrestleback semifinals and then beat Lincoln-Way West’s Kyle Rodriguez 4-2 for third place. Gussarson (40-12) rebounded to beat Mattoon’s Creed Janes 9-4 for fifth place.
Grant had two placers in Class 3A. Tony Cashmore (33-3) was fourth at 182, falling 3-1 in overtime to Joliet Central’s Sharod Wilson in the third-place match. Nick Koch (38-12) finished sixth at 106, dropping a 10-7 decision to St. Rita’s Jake Silzer in the fifth-place match.
Nate Magiera (36-3) joined Tortorice on the medal stand for Wauconda, taking fifth at 220 in 2A with a 2:31 pin of Nazareth’s Dan DeSimone.