OTTAWA – It may be five months later than usual, but it’s good to be back on the mats.
The Ottawa Pirates hosted Rock Island and Sycamore for a season-opening triangular Saturday morning, with the Rocks defeating first Sycamore (40-39) then Ottawa (67-12) after the Spartans opened this COVID-delayed but finally here spring campaign with a hard-fought, 48-30 triumph over the host Pirates here in Kingman Gym.
“I’m glad I got my senior season,” said Pirates standout Hunter Duffy, starting his year with a pair of victories Saturday. “That’s probably what’s most important here. I got to see a lot of old friends and got two wins. Sycamore was a nice win, the one team that beat me last year in conference.”
In the opening matchup of Interstate Eight Conference rivals, Ottawa received wins at 106 courtesy of Alberto Villareal (forfeit), 120 from Casey Kammerer (forfeit), 126 from Tristan Simmons (7-6 decision), 132 from Grason Johnson (4-1 decision), 182 from Duffy (pinfall) and 195 thanks to Charles Medrow (forfeit).
On the other side, Sycamore’s wins came courtesy of Lincoln Cooley (pinfall) at 285, Dylan Shuman (pinfall) at 220, Colton Berg (pinfall) at 170, Zach Crawford (forfeit) at 160, Jack Cambier (pinfall) at 152, Brayden Peet (pinfall) at 145, Syler Larson (pinfall) at 138 and Jonathan Buckheister (forfeit) at 113.
The Spartans then went toe-to-toe with Rock Island — victories coming at 145 from Peet (pinfall, 3:59), 152 from Cambier (pinfall, 1:16), Crawford (pinfall, 3:26), Berg (pinfall, 3:35), Gable Carrick (pinfall, 1:22), Shuman (pinfall, 1:14) and Cooley (4-0 decision) — to finish the day 1-1.
“Brayden Peet stepped up for us today, Jack Cambier, Dylan Shuman, Lincoln Cooley. I could go on and on with guys like Colton Berg,” Sycamore coach Alex Nelson. “We were down quite a bit the second dual (against Rock Island), and the kids fought back to bring it to within one. …
“We’re still young in a lot of spots, but the kids are wrestling hard, and they’re buying into what we’re doing. In this short season we have to continue to get better, and we don’t have a lot of time to do it … but at this point, we’re just embracing the moment and not taking any matches for granted, because we don’t know what next week brings.”
The Pirates then returned to their home mats to battle the Rocks. Christian Land at 152 scored Ottawa the first of its two pinfall victories, controlling things for 1:09 before catching Rock Island’s Gavin Casper on the edge of the circle for the fall. Three bouts later at 182, Duffy completed his 2-for-2 day with a taking-care-of-business, 39-second pin of Doniere McNeal.
Tate Spicer at 170 and Jeremiah Gaylen at 285 in second-period pinfall defeats, Hunter Wilson at 145 in a 15-6 major decision loss and especially Medrow at 195 in a physical bout that ended in an 11-6 decision in favor of Rock Island’s Steven Marquez also finished their day with strong showings against the Rocks.
“It’s nice to have a season, and first matches are done, which is always a nice thing,” said Ottawa coach Pete Marx. “We’ve got some things to work on, as we saw today. We’re young, but we’re going to improve, and it’s going to be a fine year. We’ve got five weeks left to make it happen.
“We went right into the fire with Sycamore and Rock Island, two top programs in the state … but we’re going to go our and compete, get the kids matches and have a good time. The biggest thing is, the kids are back on the mat. They’re wrestling again, and they’re having a season.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle