Wrestling: Hubs score dual win over ranked Dixon

Junior Brock Metzger cradles Burlington Central's Brandon Mancera during the Rochelle Hub varsity wrestling match against the Rockets and Dixon Dukes on Tuesday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Rochelle cruises over Burlington Central to start season 2-0

ROCHELLE — A battle of state-ranked teams capped off an exciting evening of wrestling at Rochelle Township High School on Tuesday, when the Hubs hosted their season-opening varsity triangular meet with the Burlington Central Rockets and Dixon Dukes. 

Currently ranked No. 10 in Class 2A, Rochelle recorded five falls in its first dual match of the evening, cruising over Burlington Central 65-9 before squaring off against Dixon, who begins the season ranked No. 7 in Class 1A. Both teams traded blows throughout the match, but a full lineup allowed the Hubs to score five forfeits and knock off the Dukes 51-25. Rochelle (2-0, 0-0 Interstate 8) will host Rock Falls and Erie-Prophetstown on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m.


Freshman Tony Milburn wrestled the first match of the season for the Hubs, erasing a 5-2 deficit with a first-period reversal and fall with seven seconds remaining on the clock to beat Henry Deering in the 113-pound bout. Sophomore Xavier Villalobos extended Rochelle’s lead in the 120-pound bout, recording two takedowns and a near fall for a 7-0 decision over Austin Lee.

“I think this team has a chance to go really far this season,” Villalobos said. “Our dream will be to win the state championship and we’re excited to start the season with a 2-0 record. We’re young and a lot of these guys have known each other for a long time. We have a strong bond and we’re a really tight group. We know when to be serious and we always push each other.”

Sophomore Joseph Nadig and senior Wesley Brown received forfeits in the 126-pound and 138-pound bouts Tuesday. Sophomore Weylin Nay earned a hard-fought fall over Cole McGuire in the second period, coming back from a 2-0 deficit with a takedown-to-fall combination. After freshman Brenden Voight took a forfeit for the 145-pound bout, sophomore Grant Gensler hit a reversal-to-fall combo in the second period to take the 152-pound bout over Zayn Afeef.

Trailing 39-0, Burlington Central avoided the shutout in the 160-pound bout, where Jonah Chavez won by fall over junior Leo Stoffel. Freshman Roman Villalobos brought the Hubs right back in the 170-pound bout, totaling two takedowns before snatching a second-period fall over Alan Perez. Junior Brock Metzger continued Rochelle’s scoring stretch in the 182-pound bout, compiling three near falls and two takedowns in a 17-0 technical fall over Brandon Mancera.

Senior Jorge Driggs outlasted Christian Walikonis in the 195-pound bout, rallying for an 11-10 decision that saw multiple third-period lead changes. Sophomore Kaiden Morris made quick work of the 220-pound bout, taking down Sammy Winstrom and earning a 44-second fall. The dual concluded with senior Jaden Cook receiving a forfeit for the 285-pound bout and freshman Freddie Hernandez coming just short in a 10-8 overtime loss against David Wyruchowski.

“We really wanted to come in here and wrestle well,” Morris said. “We have a strong brotherhood and we all want to win. We love each other and we’re going to work hard for each other and earn as many bonus points as we can. Coach [Alphonso] Vruno and coach [Nelson] Baker talked with us about making it to the dual state meet and that’s something that has been in my head since the season started. Being there would be an amazing experience.”


Rochelle claimed the first two matches against the Dukes, with freshman Deegan Schabacker receiving a forfeit for the 126-pound bout before Joseph Nadig edged James Simpson for an 8-3 decision in the 132-pound bout. Dixon ended a 9-0 Hub run in the 138-pound bout, where Cade Hey scored a 15-0 technical fall over senior Wesley Brown. Freshman Brenden Voight beat the buzzer and brought Rochelle right back during the 145-pound bout, holding a 2-0 over Austin Hey entering the second period, where Voight earned the fall with five seconds left on the clock.

“It’s a major confidence boost to win over Dixon and I think it should make our guys really happy,” Villalobos said. “We’re proud of this win but we’re going to continue to work.”

Grant Gensler gave the Hubs a 21-5 lead in the 152-pound bout, scoring a takedown and a first-period fall over Konner Kohler. The Dukes won the next three matches, however, with Jayce Kastner earning a 16-1 technical fall over Leo Stoffel before Steven Kitzman and Roman Villalobos fought to the finish in the 170-pound bout, where a takedown near the end of the overtime period allowed the Duke wrestler to emerge with a 3-1 sudden victory. Owen Brooks won by fall over Brock Metzger during the second period to claim the 182-pound bout.

Dixon took its first lead of the match in the 195-pound bout, where Ethan Mick won by fall over Jorge Driggs to make the score 27-25 in favor of the Dukes. After Kaiden Morris took a forfeit for the 220-pound bout, however, Jaden Cook stepped into the ring and bull-rushed Sean Devries in the 285-pound bout, scoring a takedown and first-period fall to put Rochelle back on top.

“We lost against Dixon last season and we didn’t wrestle really well,” Morris said. “We were really motivated to beat Dixon tonight. I thought we beat them by a good margin tonight and that gives us some confidence as we prepare to wrestle other teams. I think we have a good team.”

The dual ended with three consecutive forfeits, as Freddie Hernandez, Tony Milburn and Xavier Villalobos earned freebies in the 106-pound, 113-pound and 120-pound bouts for the Hubs.