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Rock Falls drops quarterfinal dual

Rockets can’t keep up after strong start

BLOOMINGTON – Rock Falls built up a head of steam for half of its quarterfinal match against Stanford
Olympia at the IHSA Class 1A Dual Team State
Wrestling Tournament.

Then the Rockets got steamrolled.

Olympia won the final seven bouts between the squads and rolled to a 43-21 victory on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.

The Spartans went on to finish third, while Rock Falls finished its season 21-8. It was the Rockets’ first trip to state.

Rock Falls looked to be in great shape, as it won four of the first six bouts. Adam Meenen (132 pounds), Noah Schueler (152), Tyler Meyers (170) and Brody Mulvaney (182) racked up 21 points with those four wins, and the Rockets held a 21-11 win after Mulvaney’s win.

“It was kind of interesting how it went,” Mulvaney said. “I was thinking we could do it, but then it was like, ‘Oh, this isn’t going to go over too well.’”

Starting at 195 pounds, the tide turned in Olympia’s
favor. The Rockets’ Browdie Benti held a 2-0 lead after the first period on
Olympia’s Mason Moore, only to see Morre win by pin in 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

In the marquee bout, the Rockets’ Niles Ager dropped a 7-6 decision against the Spartans’ Keaton Fogler at 220 pounds. Ager (43-1) won a Class 1A title at 195 pounds last weekend, while Fogler was fifth at 220.

“It was a good win for me,” Fogler said, “but at the end of the day, he’s still got the state championship. He wrestled a good match, and so did I, and I came out and won it.”

Rock Falls still led 21-20 after Ager’s loss, but the slide continued for the Rockets. First, Reise Arduini was pinned in 3:52 by Olympia heavyweight Jesse Behm, then Rock Falls 106-pounder Dawson Smith was pinned in 1:14 by the Spartans’ Austin Weaver.

At 113 pounds, Olympia clinched the match as Wesly Litwiller earned a 4-0 decision against Reiley Dowd to make the team score 35-21 with only two bouts to go. The Spartans won those as well to cap off the comeback.

“We’ve got a lot of studs,” Fogler said. “Starting at 195, 220, heavyweight, 106, we’ve got a lot of good kids. Once we got there and it was close, I thought we would win.”

Rock Falls coach Derick Cox juggled his lineup a bit to get what he thought were favorable matchups. Wresters at 126 through 160 pounds were moved up a weight class, Mulvaney was inserted into the lineup at 182, and the 195- and 220-pounders also went up a class.

“I expected to win that match, and that’s how we were going to wrestle it,” Cox said.

The Rockets graduate just five seniors, and even though four of them are regulars in the lineup, expectations will still be high for the the 2017-18 season.

“Our goal is to medal at state,” Cox said. “Sixteen of our 21 kids will be back, and we expect to be back here.”

“I’m pretty sure we can get here again next year,” Mulvaney said, “if we just keep doing what we’re doing. We need to practice hard and train.”

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