STERLING – There's a reason why Sterling is among the ranked wrestling teams in Class 2A, and Dixon found that out Wednesday night.
The Golden Warriors, 18th in the latest Illinois Matmen poll, rolled to a 48-9 victory over the Dukes at Musgrove Fieldhouse. It is the last dual between the squads for the foreseeable future, as Dixon will be moving to the Big Northern next season.
Sterling (12-4) won nine of the 13 contested bouts, and also received a boost from the only forfeit, at 106 pounds.
"We're only starting five upperclassmen," Sterling coach Charlie Bishop said, "so every time we go out there, we're hoping for the best. These young guys are really bucking up. They're fighting hard."
The Golden Warriors recorded the only pins in the match, from Isaac Figueroa at 120 pounds, Tyson Hall at 145, Tanner Massey at 170 and Cariel Beasley at 285.
Beasley had the quickest pin, in just 46 seconds against the Dukes' Bron Hamilton. Hall's pin, in just 49 seconds against Calvin Jensen, was in the first bout of the night.
Jaden Urrutia won by technical fall over Mason Rhodenbaugh at 113 pounds, while 182-pounder Riley Cornwell secured a takedown in the final seconds to gain a 12-3 major decision against Trent Scott.
Picking up wins by decision were 126-pounder Zach Depuy, 6-3 against Jake Johnson; 195-ponder Bryant Lilly, 5-3 against Connor Sperling; and 220-pounder Will Canales, 5-2 in overtime against Ryan Troutman.
Depuy led 6-1 early in the third period against Johnson, but it got interesting down the stretch. Johnson scored a reversal with 30 seconds remaining, and nearly got Depuy to his back after that.
"I just had to keep up the intensity, fight hard and not give up at all," Depuy said.
Lilly scored an escape in the waning seconds of the second period to go up 3-2 against Sperling, then got a reversal at the 1:30 mark of the third to go up 5-2.
Sperling came back with an escape with 37 seconds left in the third period to get to within 5-3, but was unable to do any more damage.
The tightest bout was at 220, where Canales gutted out a 5-2 win over Troutman. Regulation time ended 2-2, and they battled through a scoreless 1-minute overtime period.
In the next OT, Troutman was in the down position, but unable to escape in 30 seconds. Canales then took his turn on the bottom, and with 17 seconds remaining, Troutman was whistled for his second stalling call, resulting in a penalty point.
Canales finished off the bout with a reversal to secure the 5-2 win. Troutman expressed his displeasure to the referee, and Dixon was docked three team points, making the score 22-3 at the time.
The Dukes (3-10) won four bouts, all by decision. Brandon Hey was a 9-4 winner against Bobby Tribble at 132 pounds; 138-pounder Trent Brinkmeier won an 8-5 bout over Andrew Garcia; Kylian Lally handled Nick Terronez 10-4 at 152; and Shane Emry won a 5-3 decision against Jaime Briseno at 160.
Emry trailed 3-0 before scoring a takedown with 7 seconds remaining in the second period. He escaped early in the third to tie things up, then took the lead with another takedown with 23 seconds left in the bout.
"When it comes down to that third period, if he's got a chance, he's going to be scrapping for it," Dixon coach Chris Bishop said. "He's a guy that's getting more experience, and he just hustles all the time."
Emry's bout forged a 6-6 tie at the time for Dixon, but it was all Sterling the rest of the way. The Dukes' coach was hoping his club would put up more of a battle.
"One of the things I talked to the kids about is the last 15, 20 seconds of a period, if you're giving up points, you're going to have a hard time winning matches," Bishop said. "That's what we were doing. We were making mistakes, and they were capitalizing.
"We've got a long ways to go. Now, compared to where we were last season, we're getting better, but we're not even close to where we need to be."
The evening concluded with an exhibition bout between the Bishop brothers, the third consecutive year they've done so. Charlie escaped early in third period to go up 1-0, and finished with a takedown to win 3-0. Charlie now owns a 2-1 advantage overall.
Stars of the match: Cariel Beasley, Sterling, pin in 46 seconds
Up next: Dixon at Princeton Invite, Friday and Saturday; Sterling at Sycamore Invite, Saturday