Downers Grove South gaining steam

 
By D.J. Wanberg
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/11/2019 11:02 PM
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  • John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comReferees watch Willowbrook's Elijah Brockie, right, and Downers Grove South's Cole Gantner between periods of their 182-pound bout in a wrestling meet in Downers Grove Friday.

    John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comReferees watch Willowbrook's Elijah Brockie, right, and Downers Grove South's Cole Gantner between periods of their 182-pound bout in a wrestling meet in Downers Grove Friday.

  • John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comDowners Grove South's Will Schuessler drives into Willowbrook's Anthony Biancalana in their 152-pound bout in a wrestling meet in Downers Grove Friday.

    John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comDowners Grove South's Will Schuessler drives into Willowbrook's Anthony Biancalana in their 152-pound bout in a wrestling meet in Downers Grove Friday.

  • John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comDowners Grove South High School Athletic Director Randy Konstans untangles balloons before the Mustang's Senior Night ceremony at a wrestling meet against Willowbrook in Downers Grove Friday.

    John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comDowners Grove South High School Athletic Director Randy Konstans untangles balloons before the Mustang's Senior Night ceremony at a wrestling meet against Willowbrook in Downers Grove Friday.

  • John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comDowners Grove South's Brendan Richarson comes through a lighted banner as he is introduced for his 195-pound bout against Willowbrook's John Peterson in a wrestling meet in Downers Grove Friday. Richarson won the fight.

    John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comDowners Grove South's Brendan Richarson comes through a lighted banner as he is introduced for his 195-pound bout against Willowbrook's John Peterson in a wrestling meet in Downers Grove Friday. Richarson won the fight.

  • John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comDowners Grove South's Jairo Huerta and Willowbrook's Gabe You battle in the 113-pound bout in a wrestling meet in Downers Grove Friday.

    John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comDowners Grove South's Jairo Huerta and Willowbrook's Gabe You battle in the 113-pound bout in a wrestling meet in Downers Grove Friday.

  • John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comDowners Grove South's Robert Major controls Willowbrook's Ethan Pieniazek in their 145-pound bout in a wrestling meet in Downers Grove Friday.

    John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comDowners Grove South's Robert Major controls Willowbrook's Ethan Pieniazek in their 145-pound bout in a wrestling meet in Downers Grove Friday.

With just three weeks remaining until regionals, the Downers Grove South wrestling team is finding its groove at the right time.

After winning the Sycamore Invitational last week to start 2019, the Mustangs made the most of their senior night on Friday by dominating visiting Willowbrook 64-6.

"We had people out at the beginning (of the season). People have been working their way back the last couple of weeks," said Mustangs coach Sean Lovelace. "We had a big group of seniors in the lineup and that was good tonight. Some of them have been in the lineup two or three years."

Downers South won 12 of the 14 weight classes, eight by fall.

The West Suburban Gold meet started at 138 pounds with the Mustangs earning four straight falls led by Dylan Knoch, Robert Major (145 pounds), Will Schuessler (152) and Jeff Nugent (160).

Major, a sophomore, improved his record to 29-1 and he is ranked fourth at 145 pounds in the latest illinoismatmen.com poll.

"Robert does whatever he needs to do to be a successful wrestler. He wrestles with intensity and does the little things," Lovelace said.

Major gave credit to the seniors for the success the team has had this season and with helping him improve as a wrestler.

"It was senior night. The energy was really incredible. Our senior class is great and I owe them a lot. I think I can speak for everyone about what they mean to the team," he said.

One of those seniors is Jairo Huerta, who showed that a wrestling match is never over until time runs out or a fall takes place.

He trailed 7-0 at the end of the first period at 113 and was down 7-3 in the second when he prevailed by fall at 3:32.

"I was looking at the team. They were pushing me to go. I flipped a switch and went all out," Huerta said.

The victories kept coming for Downers South, with a major decision from Mike Garza (170), a fall from Brandon Richardson (195), Andres Lopez (220) won by forfeit and Nick Newell (285) won by decision.

Jimmy Nugent earned a fall at 106 as did Matt Straus (120). Griffin Casella ended the evening at 132 with a win by decision.

Willowbrook's lone victories came from decisions thanks to Richie Scheelk (126) and Elijah Brockie (182).

"Elijah got revenge on his opponent who beat him at the Sycamore tournament. His game plan is to be aggressive and stingy and make his opponent earn everything," said Willowbrook coach Tim Ortiz. "Richie has been wrestling pretty tough all season. He's one of our leaders and you know it's going to be a battle with him."

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