DIXON – There was no whip or chair involved, but the Dixon wrestling team played the role of Tiger tamers on Tuesday night.
The Dukes continued their strong early-season showing by doubling up Byron, 42-21, in a showdown of Big Northern Conference powers at The Pit. It also avenged the only regular-season defeat Dixon suffered last year.
“In the wrestling room, we were hyping each other up the entire time,” sophomore 160-pounder Sebastian Quintana said. “We knew it was our turn.”
“We know from a conference standpoint, Byron’s the guys to beat,” Dixon coach Chris Bishop added. “They’ve won it the last 6 years in a row, so you’ve got to go through them. This week, leading up to this, it was, ‘Hey, one of our goals is to win conference.’ The guys came out, executed well and were very aggressive. We’ve been working on our lungs, and I think it showed tonight. They really wanted it.”
Both squads fielded full lineups, and Dixon (15-0) won nine of the 14 bouts. Leading the way were Hakeem Banks (106 pounds), Gable Hale (120), Tyler Lowry (126) and Quintana (160), who each won by pin to either get momentum on their team’s side or sustain it.
When Banks took to the mat, the Dukes were in a 9-0 hole after wins by Byron 220-pounder Peyton Lind and heavyweight Tyler Elsbury. Banks, however, needed just 1 minute, 14 seconds to polish off the Tigers’ Logan Remhof by pin.
Hale’s pin at the 2:59 mark against Gabe Bauer broke a 9-9 tie. The finisher came on a move he calls a “jukebox.”
“It’s kind of me and my dad’s move,” Hale said. “We’ve worked on it a lot. I don’t use it too much, but I used it there, and it worked out good.”
Lowry was in control the whole way against Jackson Shewey before winning by pin at the 5:37 mark.
Byron’s Ayden Whaley stemmed the tide briefly with a pin of Dixon’s Michael Ullrich at 132, but it was only a speedbump. Elijah Ankney was a winner by technical fall against Ethan Bonnell at 138 pounds, Bryce Christiansen won a 10-0 major decision against Evan Walters at 145, and Matt Lohse took a 4-0 decision from Carson Wilsie at 152 to move Dixon’s lead to 33-15 only four bouts left.
The clincher came from Quintana, who needed just 2:57 to finish off the Tigers’ Josh Johnson and up the margin to 39-15.
“I looked at the score and I knew they wouldn’t come back if I beat him,” Quintana said, “so I left everything out on the mat.”
Byron (6-4) did win two of the last three bouts. At 170 pounds, Ricky Messling survived two third-period takedowns by Hunter Pate to win a 10-7 decision.
The Tigers’ Jonah Pearson scored a takedown 7 seconds into overtime to pull out a 6-4 decision against Clint Schielein. The back-and-forth 182-pound bout saw Pearson score a takedown with 10 seconds left in the third period to take a 4-3 lead, only to see Schielein escape with 2 seconds to go and force OT.
In the last bout, Dixon 195-pounder Finn Brandon held off a late takedown attempt by Byron’s Matt Wombacher to win 4-3.
Despite the loss, Tigers coach Mike Elsbury looked at the match as something his team could build on.
“Two years ago, it was the same deal,” Elsbury said. “We had our freshmen come out and win it for us. [Last year], Dixon was in our house, and we were able to sneak one out. This year, we knew Dixon has a great team, a nice, young team. We’ve got some kids that have to step up.
“We’ve got nine sophomores in the lineup, and we gained some valuable experience. A lot of our kids haven’t been in this situation or this environment, but I’ll tell you what, it doesn’t get much better than this. We love coming to Dixon and we love wrestling at The Pit. It’s a full crowd, it’s real violent, and that’s a lot of fun when you’re a wrestling coach.”
Dixon 42, Byron 21
Stars of the match: Dixon’s Hakeem Banks (106), Gable Hale (120), Tyler Lowry (126), Sebastian Quintana (160), all won by pin
Up next: Dixon at Ed Ewoldt Classic, Friday, Dec. 29