Shorthanded Metea Valley falls to DeKalb in DVC opener

Moving from heavyweight down to 182 pounds has been a bit of an adjustment for Nate Sauer.

On Wednesday against Metea Valley, the DeKalb senior had little trouble in scoring a second-period pin, one of two pins for the Barbs in a 68-6 win against the short-handed Mustangs in the DuPage Valley Conference opener for both teams.

Sauer said it's a matter of getting accustomed to going against other wrestlers his size and not giving up a big weight advantage.

"It's been pretty hard, actually," Sauer said. "But I've adapted very well. Sometimes I get a little scared to shoot, because last year they would just fall on me. It's going real well for me. I really enjoy it, but it was a little hard at first."

Metea Valley coach Kevin Garbis said a function at the school caused his team to be without 15 wrestlers. There were only five on-the-mat matches Wednesday, with the Barbs (4-0, 1-0 DVC) winning four of them and picking up nine forfeits.

There also were three exhibition matches featuring girls wrestlers. The Barbs are the only program in the DVC to sponsor girls wrestling, and DeKalb coach Sam Hiatt said he hopes the other teams join soon.

DeKalb's Alex Gregorio-Perez won by pin in 3:15 against Ulania Shevtsova at 115. Shevtsova picked up a win later against Reese Zimmer. Izabel Rangel also won at 130 for the Mustangs.

"I wish there were more matches, but it was cool to get the girls wrestling under the spotlight," Hiatt said. "The other DVC teams don't have official girls programs, so hopefully spotlighting it and showing how cool it is will get the other DVC teams to step up and get girls teams, or other teams that don't have girls programs."

Sauer led 4-0 at the time of his pin, notching it in 2:42. Sean Kolkebeck got a pin in 1:36 at 160 pounds. Elvis Mora had a dominating 14-0 win at 170 for DeKalb, and Lamar Bradley picked up a 10-0 win at Sauer's old heavyweight spot.

Both DeKalb teams head to Iowa City, Iowa, for the Dan Gable Donnybrook. The girls start Thursday and the boys begin Friday.

"I think we wrestled all of our matches very hard, very well," Sauer said. "We've been practicing super hard lately. I think it really paid off."

For the Mustangs (0-4, 0-1), Maurice Morrow got a pin at 220 for their only win.

"He moved up to varsity today," Garbis said. "He matched up well, so I let him go at it. He needs to get his conditioning up a little bit, but he did good."

Even though his team is young - and was short-handed Wednesday - Garbis said he's optimistic about the direction the program is heading with one of their largest participation numbers in some time.

"We give it a couple years, and as long as we keep retaining those kids, which is the hardest thing," the first-year coach said. "Wrestling is the hardest sport. You've got Thanksgiving, you've got Christmas, you've got New Year's. It's hard to keep those kids coming out. But as long as we keep them coming out, we'll keep improving. We've got a very positive room right now."

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