By Todd Rohde~CORRESPONDENT
It has been kind of a strange setup this season for the Richmond-Burton wrestling team as due to the lack of numbers out for the program, they have been forced to compete short-handed all year long. Although this has not deterred or dampened the spirits of the wrestlers who are taking to the mat on a consistent basis, it’s just been difficult to judge their success based on overall team scores following meets as they can be a little deceiving.
In fact despite all of the individual success that the Rockets have had at various weight classes this year, they have finally attained their first victory as a team this week. They accomplished just that Jan. 5, as they participated in the Grayslake North Quad Meet.
“Our goal every year is to get as many kids to sectionals from the regional, and as many kids out of the sectional and downstate,” Rocket head coach Bret Wojcik said. “Cameron, Garrett and Grant all have great chances of making it to State as long as they keep wrestling the way they have been. We also have a couple of other wrestlers who have a shot at making it to sectionals if they keep working hard in practice and gain some positive momentum toward the end of the year.”
After being defeated by the host Knights by a 63-13 difference in the opening round, the Rockets went on to return the favor by getting the best of Roosevelt by a 27-18 margin in the next round bout. Richmond’s success stemmed from the fact that they had three different wrestlers post victories in both of the matches at the event.
They came from the likes of senior Huber Herrera at 113 pounds, sophomore Grant Sutton at 120 pounds and senior Cameron Kennedy within the 132-weight class, all going 2-0 on the day. Kennedy is now an impressive 28-0 overall on the season, as he recorded both of his wins at the meet by way of falls in 2:54 and 1:35.
Sutton also boosted his mark on the year to 25-1, as he won by a 15-4 decision against Grayslake North and followed it up with a pin in 44 seconds in his match against Roosevelt. Herrera’s victories both came from decisions, as he first posted a 7-1 win and then rounded things out by doubling up his Roosevelt opponent by a 4-2 difference.
After both suffering defeats in their opening rounds against Grayslake, Richmond junior Raymond Heppner and junior Vincent Battaglia both rebounded with wins versus Roosevelt. Heppner was the recipient of a forfeit win at 195 pounds, as Battaglia pinned his foe in 54 seconds at the heavyweight position.
Just two days earlier in the week, the Rockets hosted their own Triangular Meet Jan. 3 at Richmond. Also taking part in the meet and providing the Rockets with some competition included the likes of Woodstock North and North Boone.
The Rockets were on the losing end of a 49-15 defeat by Woodstock, while they also dropped a low-scoring 11-3 showing to the Vikings. It proved to be a quick night of wrestling, as only nine matches took place between the schools, including six against Woodstock and only three with North Boone due to numerous forfeits.
Rockets winning their matches against Woodstock consisted of Herrera at 113, Sutton at 126 and Kennedy at 138, while Heppner was the only victor against North Boone.