DIXON – For those who like their wrestling matches short and sweet, The Pit at Dixon High School was the place to be on Tuesday night.
Dixon and Oregon took to the mat for just three varsity matches, and the Hawks won all three on their way to a 45-30 victory.
Coaches Chris Bishop of Dixon and Mike Guzman of Oregon had a pre-match pow wow to discuss their squads, and discovered they didn’t match up the best as far as having quality varsity matches.
The Dukes’ strength lies in the lower weights, where the Hawks are weakest. Oregon is stronger in the upper weights, where Dixon is more vulnerable.
Rather than have overmatched wrestlers compete, each team gave up five forfeits, and there was a double-forfeit at 106 pounds.
“We just did not match up as far as getting a lot of varsity matches tonight,” Bishop said.
The most compelling bout was at 285 pounds, in which Oregon’s Colby Dace gutted out a 5-3 decision over Josh Musgrove. Dace scored a takedown midway through the second period and another at the end of the period to take a 4-1 lead.
Musgrove fought back with a takedown midway through the third period to get to within 4-3, but was unable to secure any back points the next 50 seconds. With 8 seconds remaining, Musgrove was instructed to let Dace escape and try for a bout-tying takedown.
That didn’t materialize.
“For me, it was kind of work on the standup and try to do the best I could with it,” Dace said, “but also don’t do something stupid and blow the match. I just tried to be aware of the surroundings and know what’s going on.”
Guzman was pleased that his heavyweight did what he had to do to hang on for the win.
“The nice thing with Colby is when you’re yelling something on the sidelines, you know he’s listening to it and trying to apply it to the match,” Guzman said. “He’s going to be a great anchor and a great leader for us this year.”
The other two bouts were one-sided in favor of the Hawks. Ashton Rutherford built up a big lead on Brenan Chacon before winning by pin at the 5:43 mark of the 145-pound bout.
John Brink needed just 51 seconds to finish off the Dukes’ Trent Scott at 195 pounds.
It was a small sample size in the Hawks’ season opener, but Guzman liked what he saw and thinks his team is capable of some big things.
“I have high expectations for them this year,” Guzman said. “They’ve put a lot of work into it. Based on tonight, we can expect to work a little bit harder on our conditioning and some basic techniques.”
For Dixon (0-7), the emphasis will be on teaching, learning and preparing for the future. Bishop has just 17 wrestlers in his entire program, and some are simply not ready for varsity competition.
“Our guys that can wrestle at that level are going to wrestle,” Bishop said. “The young guys, we’ve got to develop them, and we knew that coming into this year. You hate to say it, but sometimes with team scores, sometimes we’re just going to take it on the chin.
“The big thing is development. I’m going to take whatever kids we have and get them to be the best wrestlers they can be. Whether that’s a JV guy or varsity guy, that’s what I’m doing. That’s the goal for this year, to progress everybody as far as we can.”
Star of the match: John Brink, Oregon, pin in 51 seconds
Up next: Harvard, North Boone, Lutheran at Oregon; Ottawa, Sandwich at Dixon, both 5:30 p.m. Thursday