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Just 13 seconds into the 171-pound title match at Saturday?s individual wrestling Class 3A Leyden Sectional, St. Rita?s Jahwon Akui (No. 3 @ 171) made a loud and clear statement.

The top-ranked defending state champion grabbed the leg of Oak Park?s Sam Brooks (H.M. @ 171), hooked his other leg and loudly dropped the defending 160-pound champ to the mat for an early takedown on his way to a 7-5 win.* Akui improved to 26-0, while Brooks fell to 25-3, including two losses to the St. Rita senior.

?(Brooks) comes out strong.* He comes out heavy with his left, and I wanted to set up one of my best takedowns and I did it on my first shot,? said Akui, who hyperextended his right elbow in practice this week and wore an arm wrap through the first two periods.* ?This was the match up a lot of people have been waiting to see live in a big-time tournament.* Sammy?s a great wrestler, a state champion like me.* I wanted to send a message that I?m ready to challenge for another state championship.?

?We had planned to keep the match a little lower scoring, maybe 0-0 at the end of the first,? Brooks said. ?But he?s so explosive. He gets that little space for the takedown, and it changed the whole match. When you wrestle someone like that, you should be ready for everything.?

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