The Pekin wrestling team's sixth-place finish among seven teams Saturday at the Mid-Illini Conference tournament should have an asterisk attached to it.
"We were missing two of our big guns," said Dragons coach John Jacobs.
Pekin's Tyler Haynes (160) and Jared Dowell (195) each won by a bye in the quarterfinals, but lost his two matches by injury default. Each has a bad shoulder.
Haynes is now 16-11 and Dowell is 25-4. With two weeks between the conference tournament and regionals, Jacobs shut down Haynes and Dowell, hoping they'll be healthy for the postseason.
The Dragons did have some healthy finishes at the conference tournament, which was hosted by Washington in Torry Gym. The powerful Panthers won the tournament and their 10th straight Mid-Illini title.
Pekin's Ryan Haynes (126) and Chase Roepenack (138) each finished second. Drake Hawkins (132) and Karson Lamb (182) of the Dragons each ended the tournament on a winning note, placing third, and Devin Tovrea (145) was fourth.
Ryan Haynes (23-5) lost 9-1 to Washington's Brody Norman in the finals. East Peoria's Tristen Westbay (23-3) pinned Roepenack (16-15) in 3:16 in the finals.
"Chase (Roepenack) was seeded third and wrestled lights out (winning two matches) until he got to the finals," Jacobs said.
Hawkins (25-7) was seeded third and finished third.
Lamb (14-17), seeded fourth, pinned Washington's Steven Apgar (3-6) in 4:53 for third place after beating East Peoria's Jonah Ziegler-Harris 8-4 in the consolation semifinals, avenging a loss to Ziegler-Harris (5-8) earlier this season.
Tovrea (9-21), in his first year of wrestling, was unseeded.
He pinned Metamora's Austin Zalar in 5:37 in the consolation semifinals, avenging a loss to Zalar (15-13) earlier this season. Canton's Anthony Becker (18-7) beat Tovrea 3-1 to earn third place.
"Devin (Tovrea) is making a name for himself," Jacobs said. "He's working hard, paying attention, and doing the right things."
Pekin went 2-4 in conference duals. So did Canton, but the Little Giants finished second behind three-time defending Class 2A state champion Washington in the conference tournament and tied for second place with Metamora in the overall Mid-Illini standings.
Metamora went 5-1 in conference duals, finishing second to Washington (6-0), but was fourth in the conference tournament.
Washington won the conference tournament with 240.5 points. Canton had 129.5, Morton had 108 and Metamora had 107. East Peoria (90), Pekin (68.5) and Limestone (51.5) rounded out the standings.
"There was a lot of parity behind Washington this season, which was good to see," Jacobs said.
Metamora (5-1), East Peoria (4-2), Canton (2-4), Morton (2-4), Pekin (2-4) and Limestone (0-6) trailed the Panthers in the conference dual meet standings.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.