Lincoln-Way Central rolls past Lockport
By Curt Herron
After seeing his young squad take their lumps against some tough competition this season, Lincoln-Way Central coach Jason DePolo enjoyed his squad's final dual meet.
The Knights came out and wrestled hard in each match during Friday's SouthWest Suburban Blue Conference meet against a Lockport team that was missing several regulars.
When all was said and done, Central claimed 11 wins and rolled to an easy 41-13 victory over the 12th-ranked Porters in Lockport.
The tone was quickly set by the visitors after they posted three major decisions to open the meet and then added a decision to grab a quick 15-0 advantage.
Lockport took two of the next three matches to close to within 18-10 but the Knights responded by claiming the next six matches to win going away.
"We knew that Lockport was missing some of its better kids, but they're still more than competitive with their backup kids in there," DePolo said.
"For our guys, it was good to them come in here and get another win under their belts and not only look good but also feel good about how we did.
"We weren't hesitant today. It was nice to see our guys out and take ownership on the mat, even for some guys who haven't had that, was good to see."
It would have been easy for Porters coach Joe Williams to make excuses considering how many of his key individuals weren't able to compete.
That group included three of the five seniors honored at the start of the evening, Jameson Oster, Shaquille McMurtry and his son, Emeric Williams.
Brad Johnson, the state's top-ranked 189-pounder, also sat out the meet. It's hoped that all four will be competing at the Lockport Regional.
"Lincoln-Way's kids could have let up since we had some people out but they wrestled hard and well," Joe Williams said. "It's obvious their coaches are doing a good job.
"I've known some coaches who've lost a lot of guys for a season, so I count my blessings, even though we might be taking our lumps while some guys miss a few dual meets."
While the Porters utilized yet another different lineup in their injury-filled season, the Knights were pretty close to being at full strength.
Central was able to capitalize on that fact at the start of the meet and it wasn't until late in the event that there were any real nail-biters.
Joey Nelson kicked things off for the Knights by claiming an 11-3 victory over Tony Rossi in the opening match at 119.
Rossi led 2-0 after one period but Nelson moved in front for good at 5-2 after getting a five-point move late in the second period.
"We're feeling more confident as a team," Nelson said. "We're starting to hit the moves that we're working on in practice, and we're not just using a bunch of junk.
"This was a good dual for us and I'm really happy that we got the win tonight. We beat Wilmington the other day and I knew that we had a strong lineup for this meet.
"I like how our coaches can really relate to us. They're good at picking out the stuff that we need to work on. Things were rough early but we've gotten a lot better."
At 125, tenth-ranked Robbie Mikenis jumped out to a 9-2 advantage after one period and claimed a 19-7 victory over Vince Dietz.
Mick Korte led 7-2 after two minutes and gradually worked toward a 14-3 victory over Anthony Storcz that gave his team a 12-0 lead.
Tyler Schneider made it four in a row for the Knights when he posted a 7-1 triumph over Dante Reese in the following match at 135.
"I'm happy with how we're moving forward," Schneider said. "We were rusty at the start of the season but we're getting better and hitting our moves when we need to.
"We've improved so much because of all of the top teams that we've faced. Our coaches are also making practices harder and we're doing the things that we need to do."
The Porters finally collected their first win when eighth-ranked Chris Tragos, a senior, pinned Austin Seliga in 3:32 at 140.
Logan Doyle answered for the Knights in the next match when he took the early lead and claimed an 11-5 win over Dillon McCarthy.
Lockport added a win at 152 when fourth-ranked Shaun'Qae McMurtry opened things up in the final period in a 16-3 victory over Matt Schneider.
At 160, eighth-ranked Tom Gross posted a 17-4 win over Alex Theoharis before Brett Ditchman pinned Eric Dietz in 3:14 in the next match.
There was finally some drama in the matches at 189 and 215, which both went down to the wire before the Knights claimed victories.
Chris Attaway prevailed 9-8 over Luis Montoya in a back-and-forth affair at 189 before Luke Fisher edged senior Alex Mares 3-1 at 215.
Brett Allpow defeated Ryan Tetlow 6-2 in the heavyweight match before Tyler Price posted a 9-0 victory over Haley Augello at 103.
The Porters finally picked up another win in the final match of the night when Dan Radcliffe posted a 16-11 victory over Dan Krzeczowski.
Both teams are back in action today with Central competing in the Batavia Invite and Lockport hosting an eight-team Mega Duals.