Focused Naperville Central gets win it wanted
The Naperville Central wrestlers had talked for some time about how much they wanted to knock off their cross-town rivals. On Thursday night they got their chance and they proved they were more than ready.
Winning 10 of the 14 weight classes, the Redhawks used four pins and several tight victories to spoil the Huskies senior night with a 43-19 victory that left both schools with 3-3 dual meet records in the DuPage Valley Conference.
The meet started off at 195 pounds and Naperville Central (10-11) took a quick 9-0 lead after Ryan Berg edged Kijuan Walker 6-4 to improve to 22-4 on the year and Luke Roth stayed perfect on the year with a pin at 220 pounds that has Roth now 21-0 this season.
The Huskies (10-7) then got on the scoreboard when Patrick Mulhair outlasted Joe Saleh 8-6 in overtime in the heavyweight bout with a takedown 35 seconds into the extra session.
But Naperville Central preceded to claim eight of the final 11 bouts, with Justin Tardy's pin at 182 pounds closing his team's dominating performance.
"Everyone just walked into the room today ready to go," said Tardy, who is 11-8 on the year. "No one was talking on the bus. We knew we weren't going to lose this dual. We worked the whole break specifically for this meet."
The work sure paid off as the Redhawks not only pulled out a number of tight matches but seemed to win most of the "swing" bouts that both coaches knew were up for grabs and might determine the outcome.
"It was big for us, especially our seniors," said Redhawks coach Rob Porter. "Every one of those seniors stepped up. They battled out there, really wanted it and showed a lot of heart."
Huskies coach Tom Champion had nothing but good things to say about his rivals on this night.
"They were flat-out the better team," he said. "They got after it and I was impressed with their aggressiveness. I thought our kids let them be aggressive against us, and we've got to change that."
Naperville Central also got pins from Shuji Mizoguchi at 106 pounds, Matt Chobak at 132 and Hunter Stephens at 145. John Needham defeated Naperville North's Chris Junior 3-2 at 152, and Ben Williamson is now 22-6 on the year after a 6-5 defeat of Huskies 138-pounder Blake Bougadis. Those two matches could have gone either way but on this night the Redhawks seemed to have just enough in the tank to prevail in the tight battles.
"I think this dual is way closer than what the score says," Porter said. "We just got some momentum and that made the difference."
Naperville North did win by fall when Wayne Yuan picked up a pin at 113 pounds and Chase Llannes did the same at 132.
"I felt happy I got the pin for my team," Llannes said. "Overall we just had too many simple mistakes. If we can clean those up and if we went after them more I think we could have come out on top."
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