Senior Will Beiersdorf continued his strong early start to the wrestling season with a pair of impressive victories Tuesday night to help St. Viator go 1-1 on the evening in duals with Gordon Tech and Guerin Prep on its home mats in Arlington Heights.
Beiersdorf needed little time to dispatch his 182-pound counterparts, taking 51 seconds to finish off Gordon Tech's Eric Morales and recording a 14-4 major decison over Guerin's Sheldon Hall in the final bout of the night.
"It's really been about having more confidence so far this season," said Beiersdorf, who will attend Winona State next fall, where he will run cross country. "I feel like I had a good tournament last weekend (at Guerin), and although I lost two very close matches during the day, I was able to go back in the room and work on a few things and come out and have a pretty good night."
"Will has come out this year and finished first at Elmwood Park, then (fourth) last weekend, and his hard work in the off-season has really shown thus far," said Lions coach Jeff Kramarczyk, now in his fifth year. "We're still so young, but we're filling out our lineup much better than last year and not giving away so many points to forfeits.
"It was good to see us go out and pretty much wrestle both teams straight up tonight and come out with a win to end the night after a close match with (Gordon Tech) in our opener."
Gordon Tech, which fell just short last season in a team regional against Ida Crown, returned just one of its five sectional qualifiers from last season. Marc Rodriguez (120) who showed why he won 33 bouts last season en route to a spot in the 1A state finals by overwhelming both of his opponents on the night with a pair of quick pins.
Against the Lions, Rodriguez and Eric Estrada got the Rams off to a 12-0 start. Freshman Joe McIntrye (170) and Biersdorf helped pull their club within 3 at 27-24 with back-to-back pins before forfeits ended St. Viator's hopes in a 33-24 defeat.
The Lions fell behind early against Guerin Prep and steadily pulled away with Brandon Suchyta (138) earning a hard-fought 6-3 decision, and McIntyre and Biersdorf fueling a strong run.
The most exciting match of the night was at 160 pounds, with Shamon Johnson going six thrilling minutes with Guerin's Andy Glebiv.
Johnson appeared to be in trouble after falling behind 6-1 after the first period, but the sophomore staged a marvelous comeback, ending the second period with a near fall just before the whistle to grab a 7-6 lead.
A see-saw final period kept the crowd on the edge, with Glebiv going out to what looked like a comfortable 13-9 advantage with 30 seconds left in regulation until Johnson roared back to draw even at the buzzer with a takedown to sent the bout into OT at 13-13.
Then, 13 seconds into the first extra session, Glebiv ended things with a takedown.
"We gave away a lot of points last year when we couldn't fill or lineup, but this year is so much better in that regard, and we should have another 2-3 guys back soon to help fill in a few more of the holes we have," said Biersdorf. "I was at (180) tonight, but I'll drop down to (72) and hopefully have a good chance of reaching the sectionals, which is one of the goals I've set for myself this season."
"It's a great group we have this year, and if we can get our six-pounder (106) ready to go soon, and a couple of other spots, I think we'll have something positive to build from for the future with all of the young guys we have on the team right now," said Kramarczyk.