Wrestling: Hubs outmuscle Ottawa for conference win

Junior Weldon Nay works for the pin against Ottawa's Malachi Snyder during the Rochelle Hub varsity wrestling match against the Pirates on Wednesday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Rochelle scores seven pins in 72-9 victory over Pirates

ROCHELLE — Freshman Kaiden Morris has been an anchor in the 220-pound weight class for the Rochelle Hub varsity wrestling team this season. Morris was asked to move up and wrestle the 285-pound bout during Wednesday evening’s Interstate 8 Conference matchup against the Ottawa Pirates, but the first-year varsity standout showed no fear at the heavyweight class.

With the dual victory already secured, Morris looked to fire up the home crowd one more time during the 285-pound bout against Ottawa’s Ryan Wilson. The talented freshman overcame a near takedown from Wilson to dominate the first period, emerging with a 7-1 lead behind two takedowns and one near-fall. After a quick reversal to start the second period, Morris put the finishing touch on the dual with a pin at the 1:40 mark to seal a 72-9 win over the Pirates.

“We already had the team win in the bag so I just wanted to go out there and wrestle my match,” Morris said. “I know when I move up to the 285-pound match that my opponent’s going to be much heavier than me. I have to approach those matches differently, but I want to do whatever I can for my team at the end of the day. I think we match up well with a lot of the team in our conference, but we just have to stay healthy and make sure we have a full roster.”

Ottawa secured the first win of the dual, with Ivan Munoz outlasting Rochelle sophomore Tommy Tourdot by 5-2 decision in the 106-pound bout. The Hubs (17-6, 6-1 Interstate 8) took the lead during the 113-pound bout, where freshman Xavier Villalobos scored three takedowns before pinning Kailee Lane in the first period. Freshman Joseph Nadig followed with two reversals and two takedowns before pinning Landon Marx to win the 120-pound bout.

Rochelle led the Pirates 18-3 entering the 126-pound bout, where junior Weldon Nay recovered from a 2-0 deficit against Malachi Snyder, using his somersault maneuver to reverse and quickly pin his opponent to extend the Hub advantage. Ottawa’s final victory of the dual came in the 132-pound bout, where Nico Stanfill recorded a third-period pin to win for the Pirates.

“It felt great to get that win,” Nay said. “The somersault usually works out pretty well for me because I feel like my opponents don’t really expect that move from me. I feel like I can hit that move pretty consistently and when I did that tonight, I was able to get on my opponent and turn him over. We’ve been wrestling really well, but I definitely feel like we can do a lot better. We just have to continue to push each other harder in practice and on the mat.”

Sophomore Alex Burke received a forfeit in the 138-pound bout for the Hubs, who surged ahead even further when freshman Grant Gensler took down and pinned Wyatt Wheeler to win the 145-pound bout. Senior Caleb Nadig followed with a first-period pin against Merek Duffy in the 152-pound bout before freshman Brandyn Metzger, sophomore Brock Metzger and junior Troy Papke each took forfeits for the Hubs in the 160-pound, 170-pound and 182-pound bouts.

Leading 54-9, Rochelle sent junior Jorge Driggs into the circle against Matt Finley, who Driggs pinned during the second period to win the 195-pound bout. Freshman Damon Cagle received a forfeit in the 220-pound bout before Morris’ victory in the 285-pound bout ended the dual.