STERLING – Newman had plenty of quality in its wrestling matches against Erie-Prophetstown and Dakota on Wednesday, but was lacking in quantity.
The Comets won a majority of contested bouts on the night, but giving up a total of 13 forfeits resulted in a pair of losses. Newman fell 49-28 to Erie-Prophetstown and 54-20 to Dakota. The Indians topped the Panthers 39-24 in the other dual.
Against E-P, Newman (3-20) won five of seven matches, with Kyle Tunink (120 pounds), Dylan Schmall (138), Brody Ivey (145) and Nick Eddinger (285) each winning by pin. Cael Sanders (152) won by major decision.
Tunink, Ivey and Eddinger made quick work of their foes, but Schmall nearly went the distance. He needed 5 minutes, 22 seconds before finally taking care of E-P’s Caleb Swearingen.
“I just used my front headlock and put him on his back,” Schmall said. “Then I got his arm and put it over his face, and that usually puts them away.”
Against Dakota, Newman got pins from Tunink (120), Ivey (145) and Eddinger (285), while Sanders (152) won a decision.
Erie-Prophetstown (21-5) got a major decision from Mat Garrison (170) and a decision from Mack Foy (195) against Newman, and seven forfeits put the Panthers over the top.
Against Dakota, Chris Bonnell (120), Garrett Passmore (160) and Garrison (170) won by pin, while Gabe Friedrichsen (182) and Foy (195) won decisions.
Friedrichsen hung on for a 7-6 decision against the Indians’ Grant Gallagher, and resisted the temptation to go for more points.
“I was thinking about reaching for the head and trying to head hunt,” Friedrichsen said, “but then I thought about what happens if I get pinned. I’ve been having shoulder issues all year, so I didn’t want to reach for it and stretch that out.”
The Panthers were coming off a stellar performance last week at the Abe’s Rumble in Springfield, where they won 8 of 9 matches. They’ve had limited practice time since then, however, and were less than crisp.
“I was a little worried about being flat, and I think we were a little flat against Dakota,” E-P coach Tod McCullough said. “We’ve got things that we’ve got to fix and clean up because we’re going to see Dakota at the sectional. I thought we did step up a little bit better against Newman with some good matches.”
Dakota (6-4), meanwhile, was once again a force on the mat. The Indians’ dual losses have been against elite competition, but longtime head coach Pete Alber is always looking for his crew to do better.
“I want to be a little bit further along than where we’re at right now,” Alber said, “but we can make it up. We’ve got to start getting better in the practice room, showing up, getting the right attitudes and just working hard. That’s all it is, is hard work.”
Up next: Kewanee, St. Bede at Erie-Prophetstown, 5:30 p.m. Friday; Newman at Princeton Invitational, 4:30 p.m. Friday