Three area wrestling teams were humbled by the firepower of DeKalb on Saturday as the Barbs overpowered Maine West, Antioch and Rolling Meadows by a combined 169-31 overall score at the annual triple dual hosted by Meadows.
Dave Froehlich's injury-depleted squad went 0-3 on the day, while Antioch won a pair of close duals to finish 2-1, with Maine West going 1-2 after routing the Mustangs 54-19 in the finale for both clubs.
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"We knew DeKalb would be a tough opponent, but I would have liked to have seen us come out with a little more fire than we did in our dual with them," said Maine West coach Lance Weber. "But it was good to see us come back and wrestle better against Antioch, then finish strong with a big win over Rolling Meadows."
Fresh off sweeping a quartet of teams just before the holiday break, the Warriors (10-4-0) quickly found themselves in a whole lot of trouble against DeKalb, which allowed West just 1 victory, that coming from Joey Vogeny. He finished the day with a trio of falls at 170 pounds, including one of four for Maine West against Antioch in a 37-36 defeat.
"Joey has put a lot of time in, and he's become a real gritty wrestler, and one who has surprised us with his strength," said Weber.
The Warriors used a pair of forfeits and pins from Adeel Afshar (120), Ian Hillard (132) and John Manicke (152) to get themselves a 15-point advantage (24-9) before coach Wilbur Borrero's lads drew even at 24 following the second of three pins on the day from heavyweight Kyle Nichols.
"We gave up far too many pins during our duals with Maine West and Rolling Meadows, and combined with giving away another (12) points with forfeits, both of those matches proved to be much closer than they should have been," said Borrero. "When we're a little shorthanded like we are right now, it's important that the guys wrestle to stay away from tech-falls and pins, and obviously we'll have to continue to work on that."
Antioch still was able to outlast Maine West with the help of Jerry Gross (106), Nathan Blugopolski (113) and Chris Ruth (126), who helped put 13 points on the scoreboard to allow the Sequoits to put some distance between themselves and the Warriors.
Against Rolling Meadows (5-10-0), Ruth, a sophomore, would decide the final outcome when he broke a 36-36 tie with a pin at 4:26 in the final bout to give his side a 42-36 victory.
"Our lineup has been in a constant flux because of injuries and sickness, but we're still such a young team with just three seniors and a bunch of freshmen and sophomores, so I really feel when we get everyone back and healthy we could even better than we were last season," said Borrero, who guided his club to its first state trophy in program history last year when the Sequoits finished fourth in Class 2A.
Antioch's injury woes are nothing compared to what Froehlich has watched his club deal with.
No less than a half of a dozen starters have been lost to various injuries for the year, with a total of 17 hit with a variety of aches and pains which have helped keep them out of the lineup so far.
"I don't think in two decades of coaching did I have as many injuries combined as I have had this year," figures Froehlich. "In some cases, such as heavyweight, we've gone to a fourth guy in the lineup. It's been tough, but the guys continue to work hard, and in some ways, it's been a blessing in disguise because many of those young wrestlers have gained important experience both in the room and during competition, and that will only help us in the future."
Froehlich praised his top man, senior Zach Schultz. He had a pair of major decisions plus a fall, all at 145 pounds, as the Mustangs' captain continues to gather momentum toward the postseason.
The marquee match of the day came when DeKalb star Doug Johnson took on Antioch's Mike Gussarson in a 138-pound battle between the No. 4 rated 3A Johnson, and Gussarson, who entered the weekend No. 7 in 2A state polls.
Gussarson opened with a 2-1 lead after one period, but Johnson, third last season at the Class 2A state tournament, eventually went ahead for good with a late deuce near the edge before riding out the second period with a 7-5 lead.
Off the opening whistle of the final period, Johnson scrambled free from the bottom to record a 2-point reversal, then finished things off with a fall at 4:49.