STERLING – The Sterling wrestling team’s second season can now begin.
The Golden Warriors will have 8 days of rest before competing at the 2A Rock Falls Regional on Feb. 3, after closing out their regular season against Sycamore on Senior Night.
Sycamore came away with a close 37-34 win Thursday at Musgrove Fieldhouse, but all of Sterling’s focus from here on out will be on the individual mindsets.
“We consider the [regular] season as more of a preseason,” said Turner Garcia, one of three Sterling seniors honored. “You can go 0-24 and still make it past regionals, sectionals, and to state. All of this before regionals has just been practice, basically.”
Garcia’s final home bout concluded with a pin of Sycamore’s Zak Kozumplik at 160 pounds. Leading 5-0 as the first period drew to a close, Garcia wrapped up Kozumplik on a second-chance try and held him down with 2 seconds remaining.
Noah Garcia (no relation) at 132 also scored a pin in his final home bout. He scored a takedown in the first 30 seconds after struggling to control the legs of Sycamore’s Will Delmer, and cruised to a pin in 1:43.
“Senior Night getting a pin, it was for the team, and for myself, and for the crowd,” Noah Garcia said. “I had a lot of people come here to support me and my other seniors. I just went out there and wrestled my match to prepare for regionals.”
Sterling (11-10) started out in a 28-0 hole until Brayden Porter scored a 10-2 major decision at 120 pounds against Nicholas Lockhart. Porter’s takedown 40 seconds into the match were the the first bout points for the Golden Warriors after three contested matches.
Chad Schap’s 7-4 decision over Mauricio Garcia at 126 gave the Spartans a 31-4 lead, but Noah Garcia’s pin started a comeback which lasted until Turner Garcia’s pin and tied the dual at 31.
Isaiah Figueroa won a 9-2 decision at 138, and Michael Jackley came from down 4-0 to pin Syler Larson 25 seconds into overtime at 145.
Sycamore’s Colton Berg led Ethan Edmondson 5-0 in the first period at 152, but rolled an ankle and couldn’t continue. Edmondson won by injury default, and the six points inched the Warriors closer to the lead.
Jaden Johns clinched the match for the Spartans at 170, pinning Todd Ennels with just 1 second left in the second period.
“Our kids wrestled well,” Sycamore coach Alex Nelson said. “They came out and did something you want them to do, they came out hard leading us into regionals next week.”
Pedro Rodriguez was the other Sterling senior, but he dropped his bout at 285 to Joey Beaudoin in 3:46.
“He was long, and I’m a little bit short for a heavyweight,” Rodriguez said. “Every time I was down on the bottom, he would just cradle me while I was just trying to stand up.”
Before the seniors were honored prior to the meet, Noah Garcia was recognized for earning his 100th win recently.
“Our real season starts when regionals is here,” Noah Garcia said. “I just really want to get on that podium and do something down at state this year.”
“I think a lot of teams are going to underestimate us because we’re so young, but we like having that chip on our shoulders,” Turner Garcia added. “We like to sneak in.”
Sycamore 37, Sterling 34
Stars of the match: Noah Garcia (132) and Turner Garcia (160), Sterling, pins in final home matches
Up next: 2A Rock Falls Regional, Saturday, Feb. 3