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Local

Good winter for Dukes, Comets, Rockets

The weather outside has been wicked this winter, but it’s been a truly unique one for Dixon, Newman and Rock Falls when it comes to winning.

Boys basketball, girls basketball and wrestling have been quite successful in a special way for the Dukes, Comets and Rockets.

Combine the win totals in the trio of sports for the trio of schools, and records have been set, or are on the verge of being set.

Let’s start with Rock Falls, which set a school and local record Tuesday, and is on the verge of accomplishing something really unique.

Rock Falls’ wrestling squad finished 21-3, one shy of tying a program record, and its boys basketball team came into the day at 27-2.

The Rockets’ girls basketball team improved to 26-8 after they defeated previously unbeaten Sandwich in a 3A Rochelle Sectional semifinal. The 26 wins ties a program record, which can be broken today with a sectional championship game win over Glenbard South – and that would be the program’s first sectional title.

Here’s the big number: at the conclusion of Tuesday’s girls basketball game, the 74 wins breaks the previous school record of 73 set in 2005-06 by the Rockets, who had 30 boys basketball wins, 22 wrestling victories, and 21 girls basketball
triumphs.

About 30 minutes after the girls won their game Tuesday, the Rockets’ boys basketball team came back from Rockford Lutheran with a Big Northern Conference win, and clinched at least a share of that title.

That leads to another unique accomplishment.

Rock Falls won every BNC wrestling dual this season, as well as every conference girls basketball game. The boys are one win away from doing the same, if they beat Mendota on the road Friday.

One more conference win would result in a perfect 30-0 winter sports run in the BNC. That’s never happened in the conference’s 28-year history. It’s icing on the cake to a slightly more common accomplishment of winning conference in each of the three winter sports, also something that hasn’t happened in Rock Falls history.

If the boys basketball team beats Mendota (3-25, 0-9), it will be the school’s fifth conference championship this year. The volleyball team also went unbeaten in 10 matches, and the girls cross country squad won its conference meet. Also, the boys golf team defeated each of their conference opponents in regular-season meets, despite not winning the conference meet itself.

Elise Moeller and Kenzie Olson have yet to lose a Big Northern contest this season in volleyball and basketball.

“Even though the boys had a game, and when the wrestlers have a meet, we’re all supporting each other,” Olson said Tuesday. “We’ll send each other good luck and all, and we know that if we won [Tuesday], they’ll be here to support us Thursday.”

“Seeing all of the success, and knowing everyone is working hard in their sport, it stood out a lot to us, and we just all keep working hard,” Moeller added.

Jalen Bickett, Spencer Schutz and Kody Velazquez haven’t lost a regular-season conference game or dual in basketball and golf. In addition, boys basketball managers Tyler Fauble, Noah Schueler and Brayden Schulz also swung clubs on the golf team.

The winter winnings don’t end there.

Coming into this winter, no other Sauk Valley school outside of Rock Falls had more than 65 combined wins in a winter among these sports.

This year, Newman has 67 wins – and counting, with a shot at 70.

The Comets have 29 boys basketball wins heading into Friday’s 2A Sherrard Regional title game with Erie-Prophetstown. Newman’s wrestling team amassed 20 wins this season, and the girls basketball squad tallied 18.

Saturday’s win over in Princeton the regular-season boys basketball finale broke Newman’s winter sports wins record, which had been 65 in 2010-11 (29 wrestling wins en route to a 1A state championship, 19 in girls basketball and 17 in boys hoops).

Dixon also has more than 60 combined wins this season in winter sports. Last year’s winter trio established the current school record of 62 wins: 24 in girls basketball, 21 on the wrestling mat and 17 in boys hoops.

If the No. 2 Dukes can win their 3A Geneseo Regional semifinal game with either the host Maple Leafs or LaSalle-Peru (who play Monday), the school’s winter trio will sit at 62 wins. Winning a regional title against either No. 3 Galesburg, Kewanee or Mendota would make 63.

Dixon finished 26-4 in BNC contests this winter. Three of losses came against Rock Falls – one in each sport – and the other was the girls’ loss to 2A sectional champion Winnebago.

This is the first year that the Sauk Valley has seen three schools win more than 60 games during a winter season between basketball and wrestling. The only other time the area has seen two schools win more than 60 in one winter was when Sterling won 65 games and Rock Falls won 62 in 2003-04.

Together with a 64-win winter from Rock Falls in 2016-17 – also the year the three Rockets’ winter squads won regional titles, a local first – it’s a string of 3 straight years in which local schools have had 60-win winters.

Sterling had a 4-year string with 64, 61, 65 and 60 wins in consecutive winter seasons from 2001-02 to 2004-05.

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