BURLINGTON — The Rochelle Hub varsity wrestling team saw several underclassmen deliver stellar performances during Tuesday’s triangular meet against Dixon and Burlington Central.
With over half of the team’s varsity lineup consisting of freshmen and sophomores, Rochelle hung tough against a talented Dixon unit, falling 50-30 before bouncing back to take down Burlington Central 57-15. The Hubs moved to 1-1 on the season after Tuesday’s meet.
“Our kids should be happy with their performance,” head coach Alphonso Vruno said. “It’s always hard when the kids have three weeks of practice without any competitions, but I thought our kids bounced back tonight. We had a good performance tonight and they can take that into the holiday on Thursday before we come back to work on Friday later this week.”
Senior Caleb Nadig scored Rochelle’s first points of the season, earning two first-period takedowns before reversing and pinning Dixon’s Jayce Kastner at 152 pounds. The Dukes surged ahead of the Hubs 38-6 after winning seven of the first eight bouts in the dual.
“I don’t think what we need to work on is pointed out until competitions like this,” Vruno said. “I’m excited to get back into the room with our kids. I don’t think many of the things we need to work on are very big things. I’m hoping we’ll see some improvements next week.”
Freshman Kaiden Morris took down and pinned Ethan Mick at 285 pounds to start a string of four straight Hub wins that brought Rochelle back in the match. Sophomore Tommy Tourdot scored two near-falls and a takedown before pinning Jacob Benkes at 106 pounds, while freshman Xavier Villalobos followed with a 27-second pin against Gabe Buelvos at 113 pounds.
Down 38-24, Rochelle moved closer after freshman Joseph Nadig scored a second-period pin against Gavin Kramer at 120 pounds. The Dukes won the final two bouts by fall to seal the win.
Caleb Nadig started the Hubs off with a dominant outing against Martin Garcia at 152 pounds, totaling five takedowns and three near-falls before scoring a second-period pin. Burlington Central claimed the next three bouts to move ahead 15-6 before Rochelle took forfeits at 195 pounds (Alex McBride), 220 pounds (Damon Cagle) and 285 pounds (Kaiden Morris).
Tommy Tourdot kept the Hub win streak moving at 106 pounds, earning a takedown and a near fall before pinning Jack Aguirre. After Xavier Villalobos took a forfeit at 113 pounds, Joseph Nadig outlasted his opponent for a 6-2 decision at 120 pounds. Junior Weldon Nay erased a 2-0 deficit in his 126-pound bout, scoring a takedown and near fall before earning the pin.
Junior Wesley Brown followed with a first-period pin at 132 pounds before freshman Grant Gensler closed out the Rochelle win with a second-period pin over Sayf Afeef at 145 pounds.
“I thought the difference between the Dixon match and the Burlington Central match was that our kids were much more aggressive,” Vruno said. “They were taking it to their opponents and they were doing things that we work on in practice, which was really exciting to see.”