LA SALLE – Princeton freshman Anthony Vujanov had a tough start to his 170-pound match against La Salle-Peru’s Jace Wallgren on Thursday.
Vujanov got taken down twice in the first period and trailed, 6-1, after another takedown in the second.
“I thought to myself, ‘I should be winning this right now. I can do this,’” Vujanov said. “I had to have confidence in myself.”
Vujanov did turn the match around, scoring a reverse before recording a pin with 27.4 seconds left in the second period.
“At first, it wasn’t going in my favor,” Vujanov said. “I got put on my back. Toward the start of the second, I kind of knew what I was doing. I grabbed his arm, twisted it then I pinned him.”
Vujanov’s pin was part of a dominating 59-18 nonconference victory for the Tigers.
“We wrestled pretty well,” Princeton coach Steve Amy said. “The guys were aggressive and taking advantage of being in good positions and them not being in good positions at certain times. Overall, we were doing things we were working on in practice [Wednesday], so it was good.”
Steven Benavidez started the Tigers strong with a pin at 113 pounds.
Ace Christiansen (120) followed with a pin, Matthew Harris (126) won by technical fall, the Tigers received a forfeit at 132, Preston Arkles (138) won by pin and Augie Christiansen (145) won by pin as the Tigers built a 35-0 lead.
The Cavaliers finally got on the board with a pin by Connor Sines at 152.
Carson Etheridge got the Tigers back on track with a pin at 160 while Payne Miller capped the win with a pin at 285.
“Preston Arkles had a real nice match,” Amy said. “He did a good job on his feet then transitioning right into a turn. Carson Etheridge did the same thing. Anthony Vujanov is a freshman who’s taken his lumps this year, but he did a good job battling in that match and coming from behind to win.”
The Tigers head to the LeRoy tournament this weekend.
“Hopefully, our guys go out, compete, wrestle hard, learn something from it and not get hurt this close to regionals,” Amy said. “It’s always a tournament we look forward to.”
Along with Sines’ pin, L-P also received a forfeit at 195 and a pin from Connor Lorden, who wrestled up at 220 on Thursday.
“Sines wrestled real well,” L-P coach Matt Rebholz said. “Lorden wrestled better that match than he did the first time around. I was happy with that.”
Rebholz said Lorden will wrestle at 195 in the postseason but bumped up Thursday in order to get matches after L-P’s COVID-19 pause.
“We wanted to get him some mat time,” Rebholz said. “We had 10 days of no wrestling. We missed two tournaments. It’s rough on all of us not to be able to come into school and get on the mats. I’m hoping this settles down and we can have the rest of then season without any more interruptions. After going 10 days without getting any cardio or mat time, it makes for a tough return.”
The Cavs had a tough start to the night as they lost, 74-0, to Rochelle in an Interstate Eight Conference dual.
“It was rough against Rochelle,” Rebholz said. “We did not wrestle our best, but we are a young team and we’re working on getting better.”
L-P competes in the Interstate Eight Conference Tournament on Saturday at Kaneland.