ROCHELLE — A power outage may have forced the Rochelle Hub varsity wrestling team to compete against Rockford East and Genoa-Kingston outdoors, but there was no shortage of electricity Wednesday evening, when the Hubs took down both nonconference opponents and extended their winning streak to nine straight duals. Rochelle is now 11-1 on the season.
“Looking at our numbers at the start of the season and trying to compete with all of the other summer sports, I didn’t know how we would look as a team,” head coach Alphonso Vruno said. “A lot of our kids are fortunately at different weight classes and they’re wrestling at a very high level right now… We talk to the kids about ‘BMO’ or ‘Big Moves Only’ and we’ve tried turning our team into a team of pinners because we need all of our kids to score points for us.”
The Hubs defeated the E-Rabs 48-31 in their first dual of the evening. After a close 113-pound bout went for the E-Rabs, Rochelle took a 6-3 lead when senior Ivan Pineda scored a second-period pin against Tito Leggett in the 120-pound matchup. Sophomores Josey Weber and Weldon Nay received forfeits at 126 and 132 pounds, respectively, making it an 18-3 match before Rockford East’s Sam Young recorded a first-period pin in the 138-pound bout.
Senior Grant Thompson helped the Hubs bounce back in the 145-pound bout, taking down and pinning Marshawn Spates before junior Caleb Nadig totaled three takedowns and two near falls in his pin against Alex Ayala at 152 pounds. The E-Rabs took a forfeit at 160 pounds and pinned to win the 170-pound bout, but freshman Leo Stoffel and senior Ben Harvey followed with forfeit wins at 182 pounds and 195 pounds. Rockford East’s Xander Guttridge earned a 14-5 major decision at 220 pounds and heavyweight Joey Pineda pinned to win at 285 pounds.
Freshman Riley Damask closed the match out at 106 pounds, receiving a forfeit for Rochelle.
“The kids have bought in this year and they’ve been really successful,” Vruno said. “We need to keep working on our fundamentals. We’ve only been going for a few weeks and some of our kids haven’t had a lot of mat time because of injuries. But we see opportunities for areas we can work on and we talk with the kids all the time about what we can show them in the room.”
Rochelle finished the three-team meet with a 52-24 victory over the Cogs. The Hubs scored 30 straight points to open the match, with Ivan Pineda and Josey Weber receiving forfeits at 120 pounds and 126 pounds before Weldon Nay outlasted Joan Moreno for an 11-10 decision at 132 pounds. Sophomore Wesley Brown earned a forfeit at 138 pounds and Grant Thompson continued his dominant day at 145 pounds, pinning Brady Brewick in only 30 seconds.
Caleb Nadig battled to win a tough matchup against Jesse Torres at 152 pounds, recording four takedowns and a near fall in his 12-5 decision. After Genoa-Kingston scored back-to-back pins at 160 pounds and 170 pounds, Ben Harvey took the mat against 182-pounder Mike Sauber, shutting him down for a 9-0 major decision. The Cogs received a forfeit at 195 pounds.
Senior Noah Messer fought from the brink of losing his 220-pound bout against Cody Peterson, erasing a 3-2 deficit to take down and pin his opponent for the win. Genoa-Kingston pinned to claim the 285-pound matchup, but the Hubs took forfeits at 106 pounds and 113 pounds, with Damask and freshman Tommy Tourdot each earning the free victories to close out the dual.