Barrington's youthful team delivered a striking statement of intent by defeating Mid-Suburban West rival Schaumburg with a 30-23 wrestling victory late Friday night before a big crowd.
From the time the first match at 160 pounds opened the night until the final whistle brought an end to the proceedings, the cozy surroundings of the Saxons small gym roared its approval as the hosts hoped to draw first blood in an effort to end the Broncos' three-year reign in the division.
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"I know we lost five state qualifiers from last year's team, but we feel we have a very good team this year as well, and one that has a chance to win conference and get downstate later on," said Barrington sophomore Matt Stathakis.
"Barrington is a very good team, and we needed to come out and wrestle well -- and we really didn't," said Saxons coach Mike Levanti. "We're a (bonus) points kind of team, and we didn't go out there and get ourselves majors or pins. Barrington did when it really counted, and that was the story of tonight."
The Saxons opened with back-to-back decisions from Luke Gruszka (152) and Sadarriss Patterson (160) to take an early 6-0 lead, but Colin Thomson answered with a sterling 9-0 major over Mike Bruno at 182 pounds to pull the visitors back into it.
"That was one of Colin's best efforts since being with the varsity," said Barrington coach Ken Hoving. "He's put the work in to get himself better, he's finally growing into his big tall frame, and I think he's ready to turn the corner this season."
Sophomore Mark Barnhofer turned in a solid six minutes to earn a second straight major decision for Hoving at 195 pounds to put the Broncos in front at 7-6. But Matt Stopka, who bumped up to 220 to defeat Jack Barnhofer 5-2, combined with Matt Zolper's 5-3 victory at heavyweight helped the Saxons to a 12-7 advantage.
That helped set up some heroics from the Broncos' 1-2 punch at 106 and 113.
"What Jake (Cyzewski), a freshmen at 113, and the sophomore Stathakis did for us was huge," beamed Hoving.
The run continued two matches later when Charlie Erdman's convincing 12-3 major at 126 pounds extended the Broncos' lead to 6 at 21-15.
Stathakis opened up a close match with Hazen Rice with a big second period, which was fueled by a late near fall to push his lead to 10-1, and that's how it ended.
Cyzewski was leading 5-2 after four minutes before putting himself into the scorebook with a fall at 4:24.
"We kind of motivated each other, and it proved to be a turnaround in the match for the night," said Stathakis, who earned a second-place finish at the Moore-Prettyman tournament hosted by Barrington last weekend.
After Matt Conrad (132) took 6 points on a forfeit, Saxons super-soph Logan Gruszka, whom Levanti bumped up to 138, drew his club closer (27-19) with a 12-4 major decision.
But another Barrington varsity newcomer, Connor Boundy, dashed Schaumburg's hopes with a dominant performance to win his 145-pound bout 10-3.
"We executed our plan almost perfectly tonight, which was to stay away from majors and pins and use our strength at 106 and 113 to our advantage," said Hoving.
"Our M.O. has been to take one step forward, then two back," said Levanti. "That's not good, and it's obviously something we need to fix as soon as we can."