Wrestling: Record-setting season rolls on for Hubs

Sophomore Robert Stoffel works to turn over Harvard's Yair Morales during the Rochelle Hub varsity wrestling match against the Hornets on Wednesday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Rochelle downs Harvard 57-14 to reach 24-1 overall

ROCHELLE — Rochelle Township High School’s winningest varsity wrestling team wants even more victories on its record-setting resume as the Hubs continue their march toward the Interstate 8 Conference Championship and the start of the IHSA Individual State Series.

Six Rochelle wrestlers scored bout wins and five others received forfeits as the Hubs cruised over the Harvard Hornets 57-18 in nonconference action Wednesday evening. The victory came after Rochelle (24-1, 5-0 Interstate 8) went on the road and defeated Freeport for its 23rd dual win of the season, breaking the school record set during the 1984-85 season and tied during the 2015-16 season. The Hubs have four dual-meet opponents remaining in the regular season.

“Breaking the school record is a motivator and it helps us continue to push for more,” freshman Roman Villalobos said. “We have the record now and we want to keep adding onto that record. We’re always filling in spots throughout our lineup and even though it’s been a scramble, we’ve found ways to make it work and I think that’s what’s been so great about our team this season.”

Junior Tommy Tourdot and sophomore Xavier Villalobos received forfeits for the 113-pound and 120-pound bouts to start the dual on Wednesday. Rochelle took an 18-0 lead after sophomore Joseph Nadig controlled the 126-pound bout against Oscar Villegas, surging ahead 6-0 on a takedown, a near fall and a reversal before securing the fall during the second period.

Harvard earned its first points of the dual during the 132-pound bout, where Marques Merida defeated sophomore Weylin Nay with a 15-0 technical fall. Freshmen Frank Nasca and Brenden Voight took forfeits for the 138-pound and 145-pound bouts, while sophomore Erich Metzger received a forfeit for the 160-pound bout. Between freebies, sophomore Grant Gensler notched three near falls before recording a first-period fall over Jose Cardenas in the 152-pound bout.

With the Hubs leading the Hornets 42-5, Roman Villalobos entered the circle against Charly Tolentino, scoring a takedown and a near fall to hold a 4-0 advantage after the first period. After a second-period reversal made the score 6-0, Villalobos escaped early in the third period before notching another takedown and near fall to surge ahead 11-0, Villalobos pinned Tolentino with 14 seconds remaining in the match to seal the 170-pound bout and put Rochelle ahead 48-5.

“Our strengths are that we work hard in the wrestling room and when we lose our matches, we figure out what went wrong so we can correct our mistakes,” Villalobos said. “Our goals are to win a conference championship and make it down to the dual state tournament. We have to keep working hard during practice and we have to continue pushing ourselves and each other.”

Harvard’s Gabriel Sanchez erased a 3-2 deficit in the 182-pound bout, where a cradle attempt from junior Brock Metzger resulted in a self-pin and six points for the Hornets. Harvard added another win during the 195-pound bout, where Edgar Hernandez overcame a 3-0 deficit with a takedown and a near fall during the third period to earn a victory over senior Jorge Driggs.

Rochelle won the final three contests of the dual against the Hornets. Sophomore Kaiden Morris totaled three takedowns in a 9-4 decision over Riley Vest in the 220-pound bout and sophomore Robert Stoffel rode out Yair Morales for a 1-0 decision in the 285-pound bout. Freshman Keagan Albers brought the dual victory home for the Hubs, taking an early lead with a takedown and overcoming a third-period penalty for a 3-2 decision over Owen Vail in the 106-pound bout.