BYRON – All Lucas Newburgh needs is a few more offensive moves. And a dietician. Maybe a bodyguard, too.
Let me explain. In order, of course, to avoid confusion.
The Rock Falls senior had the dubious honor of being the central focus of his team's last moment in a season chock full of memorable moments. It was also appropriate he was on the mat when the Rockets' dying embers finally succumbed. More on that in a few.
With Dakota in complete control of the teams' Class 1A team dual sectional, Newburgh went to overtime with Drew Zellmer. A lengthy struggle went to the Dakota 182-pounder on a takedown with 3.4 seconds left.
There was a victory for Newburgh: not tossing his cookies during those 6 minutes and 56.6 seconds.
"I ate too much before my match, and I was on the verge of throwing up the whole way," he said.
We're talking Power Bars, right?
"Doritos, a 2-liter of this Fuze stuff, and I had some Sugar Extremes, or something like that," Newburgh admitted. "I've never felt this bad in my life. I wish we could've wrapped it up better than that."
Despite the gastro-agony he was in, Newburgh almost won his 28th match of the season.
"If we can develop some offense with him, he'll be extremely dangerous," second-year Rockets coach Derick Cox said.
That's gotta be a scary thought for Cox. Just over a year ago, Newburgh tore 182-pounder Roman Luevano's MCL just before regionals, ending his season. The grim reaper of grappling again flashed his scyth by tearing Cox's LCL and PCL while sparring leading up to a Jan. 10 triangular in Byron.
Two weeks later, Cox's 3-year-old son, Cullen, was sitting alongside the practice mat when Newburgh, wrestling Matt Mammosser, tumbled out of bounds and onto the toddler's leg, breaking his tibia and fibula.
"I had his wife [Bobbi Jo] incredibly mad at me," Newburgh said. "I thought I'd have to get a restraining order, or she'd kill me."
"She wanted to take out one of his knees and asked which one she could have," Cox said. "She was just joking around. And the person who felt the worst about it was Lucas."
Tuesday night, Newburgh was stuck on how bad he felt for the seniors who spearheaded a historic season, featuring a school record-tying 22 dual wins. Newburgh took a moment to reflect on how neat it was for both he and the team to be ranked by Illinois Matmen.
"I'm always on there," he said.
Now he's excited to take the seniors' leadership and Goonie-esque never-say-die attitude into next season. He says he's bound and determined to place at state individually after narrowly missing getting through sectionals this season.
As for Cox, he had a hard time picking his favorite moments from the season, although one was readily available. He marveled at sophomore Gage Butler's guts in his 120-pound bout with three-time state champion and still-undefeated Dakota senior Josh Alber.
"Him almost going to the third period from him and fighting?" Cox said. "That's the kind of thing I want to see from all my guys. No matter who you're lining up across from, go at them."
Unless you're Newburgh. Then you might want to stay away from any future tangles with the Cox clan. Hell hath no fury like a woman when you keep hurting her family members.