MAPLE PARK – Luis Garcia hasn’t had the most action this year, but he made the most of an opportunity against Kaneland on Thursday.
The Sycamore 170-pounder picked up a second-period pin against Ryan Jordano, one of seven wins in a row to close out the Interstate 8 match for the Spartans in a 50-28 win.
“It was a great opportunity and the perfect guy to wrestle against,” Garcia said. “He was wrestling a little high, and I like to wrestle low. It was a great opportunity to practice everything my dad has been teaching me. Stay low, take shots, keep on moving.”
The Spartans (14-6, 5-0 I-8) stayed perfect in the conference in what was supposed to be the finale ahead of next week’s conference tournament. But the team had matches with Plano and Ottawa postponed, and only the match against the Pirates will be made up.
Garcia notched the fall 22 seconds into the second period. He said he’s been working with his dad, Luis Garcia, to improve his game.
“I train with my dad a lot, and I have a lot of bad habits,” Garcia said. “It’s been coming to me a lot better. I’m always one to play it safe, and I’ve been trying to risk more. I’ve been more risky just to get points. That’s what holds me back, I’m too safe in my mind.”
Kaneland won the first four matches, all on the mat and all by either tech fall or pin. Alex Gochis opened with a tech fall at 106, Cam Phillips followed with a pin at 113, Kamron Scholl had a tech at 120, and Cade Grabowski scored a pin at 126.
But the Knights would pick up just one more win against the Spartans, coming from Cole Olsen at 145 pounds.
Kaneland coach Kenneth Paoli said he was impressed with Olsen’s pin, which came in only 44 seconds. He also said he liked what he saw from Gochis taking over at 106 for Phillips.
“I wanted to get him more of a challenge there,” Paoli said. “It was nice because we got our freshman Alex a match there. He teched the kid at 106, so our future is bright even for our backup 106-pounder.”
Sycamore coach Austin Culton, taking over duties for an absent Alex Nelson, said he was glad Garcia got some varsity mat time in. The original plan was to shuffle some things around, moving Crawford and Carrick up a weight to maximize matchups. But Kaneland was missing their wrestlers in that stretch.
Both Christian Duffing (160) and Diego Serritieno wrestled at a tournament Saturday in Sycamore but were out Thursday with injuries and/or illness.
“I’m really proud of my lower weights,” Paoli said. “Obviously we’ve got some work to do at those upper weights. ... We have a lot of kids out right now. My starting 60-pounder is out. My 70-pounder just quit, and my 82 went down with a rolled ankle. Wish we could have had those matches in there and give Sycamore some matches too.”
The meet was a triangular, with both teams facing Rockford East. The Spartans were 47-25 winners over the E-Rabs.
Greg Degand had a pair of pins for the Spartans at 132. Brayden Peet and Gable Carrick also had two on-the-mat wins for the Spartans.
Next up for the Spartans is a match Friday against rival DeKalb.
“Obviously DeKalb is always a big match for us. Sycamore-DeKalb is a big rivalry,” Culton said. “They’re really tough this year, and we’re going to go out and wrestle the best we can. I hope the guys bring it, especially against DeKalb.”
Garcia, although he may not see the varsity mat against the Barbs, said the team is ready.
“We didn’t do too good at the beginning, but at the same time we really pulled through at the end,” Garcia said. “It leaves me with some big hope we can pull through tomorrow. Of course you never know how things are going to go, but seeing the pins at the end there it’s a glimmer of hope for us, I see.”