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Wrestling: Brother Rice’s Yates continues perfect career at Catholic League Tournament

Brother Rice's Rudy Yates (front) beats St. Rita's Jake Silzer w113-pound title Chicago Catholic League wrestling championship. | Vincent D.

Brother Rice's Rudy Yates, (front) beats St. Rita's Jake Silzer, to win the 113-pound title at the Chicago Catholic League wrestling championship. | Vincent D. Johnson/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 27, 2014 6:52AM



Rudy Yates doesn’t worry about losing anymore, not that he’s too familiar with the feeling.

The Brother Rice sophomore just keeps winning and winning, the latest victories coming Saturday in the Catholic League Tournament at Mount Carmel.

Yates rode out St. Rita’s Jake Silzer in the fourth overtime period for a 2-1 ultimate tiebreaker victory in the 113-pound final. That makes Yates, who won the Class 3A 106-pound title a year ago, 27-0 this season and 69-0 in his high school career.

Keeping that zero in his record weighed on his mind last season.

“It definitely did,” Yates said. “This year, my dad told me I’m just going out there to have fun.”

He found a worthy opponent Saturday in Silzer (32-5), a returning state placer who lost 3-0 to Yates in the 106-pound Catholic League final last year.

“He surprised me a little bit,” Yates said. “He was smart. He changed up his game plan. ... He wasn’t really giving me his elbows at all.”

Yates got a second-period escape for a 1-0 lead, but gave up a point for locked hands in the third. The pair then went scoreless through three overtime periods before Yates chose to be up for the tiebreaker.

“I remember last year with the Peter Andreotti and Nuntrae Jackson match, there was no stalling in triple overtime,” Yates said. “I even checked with my coach, (asking), ‘Do I have a stalling call?’ And when they said, ‘No,’ I had nothing to lose by picking top.”

It was a savvy decision for a sophomore, and it didn’t surprise Brother Rice coach Bill Weick.

“He’s got the poise. He’s got the moves,” Weick said.

Yates was one of four unbeaten champs in the tournament, which was won by the host Caravan for the fourth straight season, 258-192 over St. Rita.

Mount Carmel 152-pounder Bryce Brill (36-0), the Lawless Award winner as the conference’s top senior, pinned three opponents on his way to his third Catholic League title. Jake Tucker (32-7 at 132), David Riojas (27-13 at 160), Jimmy Mickens (29-6 at 182), Aaron Davis (23-10 at 220) and Matt Reyes (31-9 at 285) also won titles for the Caravan.

“It’s pretty big,” Tucker said of the conference four-peat. “It’s just building the tradition.”

Other unbeaten winners were Bishop McNamara sophomore 170-pounder Kyle Betourne, who was named the meet’s Outstanding Wrestler, and St. Laurence 138-pounder Johnny Gahagan (30-0).

Gahagan, ranked fourth in Class 2A by IllinoisMatmen.com, edged 3A fifth-ranked Mike Falco (31-11) of St. Rita 8-6. Gahagan, whose father Jim is St. Laurence’s first-year coach, has led the resurgence at a school that was shut out twice at the Catholic League meet in the last nine seasons. The Vikings were fourth Saturday with 99.5 points, their best point total since 1999.

“It’s been a great turnaround for the school as a whole,” said Johnny Gahagan, who transferred from Oak Park-River Forest before this season. “It’s nice for these kids to finally find success here. I mean, they were so OK with defeat, they didn’t know what success was at the beginning of the year. We finally got a taste of it and we just kept it rolling.”

Another program on the rise is St. Ignatius, which had its first two champions since 1999: Mick Shanahan (26-6 at 145) and Pat Mulkerin (22-6 at 195).

Also winning titles were St. Rita’s Austin O’Connor (34-3 at 106) and Colton Kielbasa (29-13 at 120) and Providence’s Jake Polka (27-10 at 126).



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