Uppinghouse builds mark to 44-0, leads QHS to third place at 32nd QND Wrestling Invitational

QND wrestling invite 2-e

Palmyra's Tyler Spicknall picks up Quincy Notre Dame's Cale Hilbing during their semifinal match in the 132-pound weight class during the QND Wrestling Invitational on Saturday at the Pit. Spicknall won the match and eventually placed second. | David Adam

QUINCY — Quincy High School’s Owen Uppinghouse had every right to be exhausted.

And make no mistake about it, he most certainly was.

Uppinghouse wrapped up the 165-pound championship Saturday in the 32nd annual Quincy Notre Dame Wrestling Invitational, and what followed was not so much a raised fist in the air signifying another win — he’s now 44-0 this season — but a well-earned sigh of relief.

That sigh of relief was more of a reflection on the weekend as a whole than any specific accomplishment along the way. Uppinghouse and his QHS teammates won the Western Big 6 title Friday night in Moline, made the long haul back to Quincy and then started competing all over again Saturday morning at the Pit.

“We got back from Moline about 12:30 (a.m.), and I was back up at 5:45 to get ready for the QND tournament,” Uppinghouse said.

QHS coach Phil Neally had nothing but praise for Uppinghouse and his teammates.

“Friday night was amazing in winning the Western Big Six, but not many people realize all the work these kids do and all they go through,” Neally said. “We want our kids to get all of the matches they can.”

Uppinghouse was one of four Blue Devils to win titles at QND. Cooper Kamm (132), Bryor Newbold (175) and Todd Smith (285) were the others, helping lead QHS to a third-place finish. 

Jacksonville (160), Kirkwood (154) and QHS (152) had the top three point totals in the 19-school event. Other top local finishers were Camp Point Central (118.5) in fifth, QND (102.5) in sixth, West Hancock (93) in eighth, Palmyra (86) in ninth and Pittsfield (78) in 11th.

“We used six of our varsity wrestlers for this tournament, with the rest of the kids jayvees,” Neally said. “Usually, we send a junior varsity team to the QND tournament because the Western Big 6 had always been on the same Saturday, but the conference tourney was moved to Friday this year.”

Uppinghouse was at the center of much of Saturday’s tournament interest because of his perfect record and knack of dispatching opponents in rapid-fire fashion, and he did not disappoint. The senior dominated all three opponents, capping off his day with a 37-second pin of Conner Griffin (26-8) of Central. His victory total already matches his junior season output when he finished 44-2. 

Despite the pursuit of an undefeated record, Uppinghouse is more relaxed than at any previous point in his career.

“I have learned over the years not to panic,” he said. “I used to be afraid to lose. I owe a lot to my parents and coaches, and I just want to make them proud.”

Kamm’s championship at QND was the only title won by a freshman, an accomplishment he considers another part of the process of becoming a successful varsity wrestler.

“The biggest difference from being a junior high wrestler to becoming a varsity wrestler is that every little thing makes a difference,” said Kamm (19-12), who pinned Tyler Spicknall (20-5) of Palmyra in the finals at 2:49. “On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m probably at about a 3 or 4 right now. I hope to get to be about a 9 by the time I’m a senior.”

Newbold (39-5) pinned Shawn Watkins (29-7) of Illini West in 1:36 in their title match, while Smith (35-7) edged Alden Surratt (35-5) of Jacksonville in their championship bout 3-2.

QND’s lone champion was junior Ryan Darnell (190), who earned a 9-3 decision over Tucker Cook of Pittsfield in the finals. Darnell is now 32-5, and Cook is 31-9.

“This was really cool. This was my first tournament championship,” said Darnell, whose dad, Sam, is a 1996 QND graduate and former wrestler for the Raiders. “My dad has always wanted me to wrestle, and I think I’ve been able to improve on a lot of things over the past year. I hope to keep improving for (my senior season).”

The other two local champs were Palmyra’s Luke Lawson (106) and Brayden Pillars (157).

Lawson (26-8), who was second in the same weight class a year ago, pinned King Wallace of Chatham Glenwood in 1:37 in the finals. Pillars (24-7) recorded a 3-minute pin of Jack Thompson (17-4) of Central in the championship round.

Champion Jacksonville produced three gold medalists in Oliver Cooley (40-3) at 215, Joe Reif (38-5) at 150 and Deshawn Armstrong (27-5) at 120. Illini Bluffs also had three champs in Hunter Robbins (41-0) at 113, Ian O’Connor (39-5) at 138 and Jackson Carroll (40-2) at 144.

Owen Ottino (29-10) of Chatham Glenwood won the 132-pound bracket. Glenwood won the 2023 team title, but finished fourth Saturday.

Other local runners-up were Bradi Lahr (31-5) of QND at 144, Evan Carel (25-5) of West Hancock at 150 and Taylin Scott (38-3) of QND at 215.

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