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Making rounds to see the best wrestlers in the area

Published: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

So, it was quite the whirlwind week for me as I hit the area wrestling scene pretty hard. I started with Coal City, Seneca, Lisle and Plano up in Reaperland on Tuesday then stayed in town to watch Morris and Wilmington on Wednesday. I had previously seen Yorkville and Dwight, so I’ve already seen about every team in a 30-mile radius around Morris by now.

On Tuesday, Coal City and Seneca squared off with the Coalers winning, 35-33. The big match of the day was a 138-pound bout between Sage Friese of Seneca and Casey Brown of Coal City. Both finished as Class 1A state runners-up last winter. Friese edged Brown 4-2 in overtime. Also winning for Seneca that day (nonforfeits) were Kyle Sigmon at 132 pounds (fall 2:39); Lucas Altobella at 152 (8-5) and Tommy Lovett (11-5). Nonforfeit wins by Coal City came from Cody Minnick at 113 pounds (fall :55); Matt Girot at 120 (fall 1:35); Riley Kauzlaric (tech fall 19-3) and Dakota Gagnon (fall 2:26).

After that bout, Plano beat Coal City 58-21 with the Coalers getting contested wins from: Joey Rivera (fall 3:35); Minnick (fall 1:21); Brown (5-3) and Kauzlaric (fall :26). Seneca lost to Lisle 45-30 despite contested wins from: Friese (fall :49); Bryce Coyle (fall 3:03) and Lovett (fall 1:27).

As you’d imagine, the usual suspects looked good including Friese, Brown, Minnick, Lovett and, I thought, Kauzlaric from Coal City also looked impressive. He is off to a solid, under-the-radar start and one that could bear watching at regional time. I did miss out on seeing Coal City’s Corey Jurzak wrestle, however, as he is still recovering from an upper-body injury he sustained during football.

On Wednesday I was pleasantly surprised by how good Morris looked. This after the Redskins were absolutely pounded by Yorkville (68-6) last week.

“Ever since Yorkville, we’ve been practicing harder and working on getting our conditioning in,” Morris 138-pounder A.J. Vota said. “Coach has been teaching us about everything we did wrong against Yorkville and we’re obviously improved from that.”

Morris and Wilmington actually wrestled to a 36-all deadlock before the match went to the Redskins based on the ninth criteria – most near falls (2-1). On Thursday, Morris beat Rochelle at Rochelle 47-28 and are now 3-1 on the season.

“The kids came through,” Morris coach Jon Lanning said on Tuesday after beating Wilmington. “We’re definitely the underdog in this meet every year. Hopefully our program will get to the point that this is a good and competitive meet every year. They can beat anybody … but they are always on our schedule and we like wrestling them.”

It is thought to be the first time that the Redskins have beaten Wilmington in the post-George Dergo era.

Up next is Minooka wrestling – that is if the timing is right and my car doesn’t act up along the way.

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