OSWEGO — Right before before weigh-in at the Oswego East Class 3A Wrestling Sectional, Minooka freshman heavyweight David Neuman heard he would be the first to have his named called.
Fighting through understandable nervousness, Neuman came up big for the Indians in recording a fall in 1:22 to give the locals their first six points. Thirteen weights later, the Minooka grapplers put the wraps on what turned out to be a 48-9 win over Waubonsie Valley. The win assures a fifth straight trip to the State finals by the Indians.
"I was really nervous before the match," Neuman confessed. "Especially for it being my first time in a sectional dual meet."
Neuman defeated Joey Rodriguez, but it was long before he got the stick that the butterflies found him at the thought of being the leadoff man for the Indians.
"I found out about three minutes before weigh-ins," Neuman said. "I wasn't really nervous at first, but then about 20 minutes afterwards, I started getting really nervous."
Then he hit Rodriguez with a crusher.
"I slipped under his chest, came underneath and threw him to his back," Neuman said.
"That was a great way to start things out," Minooka senior Mike McNulty said. "He came up big."
First-year Minooka head coach Jeff Charlebois said that it was good to see Neuman's hard work pay off.
"David's been working hard for the past two weeks after the regional," he said. "He stuck to the basics tonight and that helped jump start us. He and K.J. (Minor) gave us some momentum there."
Minor followed Neuman by pinning Willie Hampton in 3:12. More bonus points followed for the Indians when Andrew Potts beat Patrick Amor 10-0, Shane Mart beat Matt Pugliese 17-6 and Danny Ruettiger beat Isiah Ray 10-2 to make the score 24-0.
"At that point, I was thinking, let's keep this going and get to the state championship," Neuman said.
"Shane and Potts and Danny kept things going for us right there, and even though we lost at 32, we had built a nice lead by then and I was not too worried," McNulty said.
McNulty's match proved to be the next big one. At 138 McNulty beat Howard Beatty 4-1, in the process getting revenge for a loss to Beatty at the Moline Sectional.
"He wrestled fantastic," Charlebois said. "We knew what he was focusing on coming in and he wrestled fantastic. He was focused for all six minutes."
Carson Oughton followed that with a 1-0 win over Cesar Salinas and Corbett won by technical fall (18-2) over Sean Sarkauskas and the score hit 35-6. Minooka then officially clinched the match when Jeff Klank beat Mitch Kroening 5-2. Instead of forfeiting out the rest of the match as so many coaches do at this time of the season, Charlebois filled out the remaining four weights with the Indians winning three of them.
"I definitely though about it, but those guys needed some matches," Charlebois explained. "Some of them guys haven't had matches, other than in the wrestling room, in weeks. I thought it would be a good thing to give them a match before we get down to Bloomington."
Minooka (14-7) finished the meet with wins from Chris Hiscock at 170 (2-0), Nathan Gunn at 182 (14-4), Josh Bouie at 195 (7-3) and a loss at 220.
Waubonsie Valley ends the season at 20-10.
The Indians will now wrestle at 11 a.m. on Saturday against Marmion in the opening round of the 3A State Competition. The event is held at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.
"My senior class is the second in a row now who is going to the State tournament for all four years in school," McNulty said. "It's great. It would have been better if we would have finished better last year, but hopefully that will change this year. We'll see how it goes, but it would be great for us to place again."