STERLING – There were six pins and a technical fall among Sterling's nine wins, but it's two decision victories stood out most.
Austin Olalde returned from a heart ailment to earn a win in his first match of the season, and teammate Angel Pereda, in his first season as a wrestler, pulled out a dramatic victory.
Olalde and Pereda jump-started the Golden Warriors (3-8), getting the team's first two wins on the way to a 47-26 Northern Illinois Big 12 West dual victory over Ottawa on Thursday night at Musgrove Fieldhouse.
Olalde, a sophomore, fell behind 2-0 early but rallied for a 7-4 win at 132 pounds, thanks to a three-point near fall with 1:05 left in the third period. It was Sterling's first win after Ottawa opened with a pin at 126.
Olalde has had far bigger issues than simply making weight.
"In eighth grade, I had heart surgery to get rid of this problem," he said. "I have too many electrical impulses going to my heart, and that throws it off, and it could be bad."
Olalde has to wear a heart monitor after he wrestles.
"I put it on after I wrestle so they can keep track of it," he said. "You never know if anything can go wrong. I just try to put that aside and focus on the match."
Pereda had the moment of the match when he scored a reversal with 7 seconds left to earn a 6-5 win at 138.
"All I heard was there was 15 seconds left, and that's when I think I work best," he said. "I just wanted to get out. I thought about just getting the one [escape], but I wanted to get the win."
The meet also marked the return of Sterling's Isaac Anderson, who had been sidelined with a concussion. Anderson dominated his match at 113, cruising to a 16-1 technical fall.
The Warriors' six-pack of pin winners included Jaden Urrutia (106), Nick Terronez (145), Andrew Ingram (152), Bryant Lilly (170), Joshua Villareal (195) and Curtis Lilly (285). Villarreal improved to 11-0, while Curtis Lilly and Urrutia upped their marks to 10-1.
"Three of our pins were by freshmen," Sterling coach Charlie Bishop said. "We got some key guys back. We're slowly piecing ourselves together. By January we'll have a full team and great lineup. It was one thing after the next at the beginning of the season. Now we're finally getting past all that."
Moment of the meet: Angel Pereda, Sterling, reversal with 7 seconds left to win 6-5 decision at 138 pounds
Up next: Sterling hosts DeJarnatt Invitational, 9:30 p.m. Saturday