Face-off: OPRF's Sam Brooks (left), who won a state wrestling title last season at 160 pounds, prepares to go head-to-head against Willowbrook's Steve Congenie in the title bout of the 171-pound weight division at the Class 3A State Meet on Saturday.Photo by ED PYNE

Defending Class 3A State champ Sam Brooks was forced to settle for second place at the IHSA Individual State Wrestling Meet held at Assembly Hall in Champaign on Saturday.

Brooks, who won a state title at 160 pounds as a sophomore last year, fell to Willowbrook’s Steve Congenie 15-8 in the 171-pound weight bout this time around. Last season, Congenie (34-1) won the state title at 152 pounds.

Brooks (28-4) was favored to win the bout after St. Rita’s Jahwon Akui was suspended from competing at state due to violating school rules earlier in the week. Akui had defeated Brooks twice earlier in the season.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...