COAL CITY – If you are going to watch a Coal City wrestling match, make sure you have visited the concession stand or the restroom before the lower weights take the mat.
That’s because, if Tuesday night was any indication, those matches won’t last long.
The Coalers picked up six wins, all by pin and all but one in the first round, in the 103, 113, and 120-pound weight classes as they beat Clifton Central, 64-6, and Pontiac, 53-25.
At 103, freshman Zach Finch scored a pin in 44 seconds against Clifton Central and in 55 seconds against Pontiac. At 113, junior Evan Rivera got his pins in 2:40 against Clifton Central and 1:20 against Pontiac. At 120, senior Trent Akre got a pin in 55 seconds against Clifton Central and in 1:06 against Pontiac.
“We are pretty solid at the lower weights,” Coal City coach Mark Masters said about his team, which finished third in the state in the Class 1A Dual Team Tournament last season. “We’ve got some young guys out there that are doing the job for us. I think we have a lot more balance throughout the lineup this year.”
The Coalers, who went 3-0 at the Shepard Duals last weekend, beating Richards, Marist and Glenbard North, got off to a quick start in the first match of the night against Clifton Central, a team that beat them in the season opener last season. Alex Friddle won by forfeit at 132 for a 6-0 lead. After Lane Kutemeier lost to Clifton Central’s David Thorne, 5-2, at 138, Coal City 145-pounder Brandon Strnad scored a 12-1 major decision to give Coal City a 10-3 lead. Mike McVay dropped a 5-1 decision at 152 before Ashton Harvey won by pin in 57 seconds at 160 for a 16-6 Coaler lead.
Ryan Wasielewski, a state qualifier last year at 138, won by pin in 2:46 at 170. Daniel Jezik, who finished second in the state at 160 last season, won by technical fall, 18-3, at 182 before 195-pounder Gage Leake won by pin in 1:00. Dylan Cronk won a 2-0 decision at 220 before 285-pounder Wills Payton won by fall in 2:31. After the pins by Finch, Rivera and Akre, Coal City’s Connor Huston won a 13-6 decision at 126.
The Pontiac match started with the 145 weight class, and Strnad won by pin in 51 seconds. McVay then pinned Skylar Gibson in :49 to put Coal City ahead 12-0 and Harvey won by pin in 2:40 over
Trey Edinger for an 18-0 advantage. At 170, Asa Cooper lost by pin in 4:42 to Nick Lockwood before Jezik won by pin in 1:03 over Peyton Mays. Leake dropped a tough, 2-1 decision to Tyler Lanning at 195 and Pontiac got pins by Connor Sypult in :46 over Cronk at 220 and by Steven Lewis in :42 over Logan Miller at 285 to pull to within 24-21.
The Coaler mighty mites reeled off three straight pins to push the lead back to 42-21 and Huston scored a 16-0 technical fall over Kristian Willes to put Coal City ahead 47-21. Friddle, who was second in the state at 120 last year, won by pin at 132 in 1:27 over George Smith and Kutemeier dropped a 16-3 major decision to Frank Smith.
“We’re still moving some guys around,” Masters said. “We are not quite where we want to be as a dual team yet. Ryan Wasielewski can wrestle at 152, but we needed him at 170 tonight. It’s nice to have that kind of flexibility with a kid like him.
“I have been realy happy with Michael McVay at 152. He has a lot of fight in him. He goes hard all the time and doesn’t get pinned.”