UTICA — Day 1 of Sectionals at Utica High School on Friday evening was full of good signs for area wrestlers.
There were no surprises for Utica coach Mike Garven, who had several wrestlers go 2-0 for the day, including 103-pound Dylan Fletcher, Pete Hughes (125) and Dylan Wheeler (now 34-1 for the year at 130 pounds).
“(Wheeler) hasn’t had a good match yet,” said Garven. “He’ll have a good one against the West Jeff kid (Dillon Harper) tomorrow. Pete wrestled a really, really good West Jeff kid (Tyler Riechle) who was a state qualifier.”
Thomas Thatcher pinned Tyler Snyder of Garaway as part of a good showing by the Centerburg Trojans. Earlier, he defeated Dominic DeVito of Newark Catholic.
“I almost pinned (DeVito) but time ran out on me,” said the 119-pound Thatcher, who will be in Saturday’s semifinal round. “After that, I just tried to score points off him and see if I could tech him. (Snyder) put me in a head-in-arm. Then, I waited for him to get offset and I turned him over into a pin. You automatically have to be more aggressive just to make it through so you just warm up and prepare yourself and be as aggressive as you can to make it to the finals.”
Alex Hudson (189) of Centerburg is also undefeated through Day 1.
“It is quite a bit of a change,” said Hudson. “There is a lot of intensity here. We’re trying to get to the State Tournament and it’s do or die. You’ve got to come out and wrestle hard and wrestle smart.”
The recent snows robbed all the teams of practice days, but that seemed top make little difference to the Fredericktown Freddies.
“I’ve got a few guys who won both matches and made it to the semi-finals.” said Fredericktown coach Steve Herbst. “It’s tough when school is canceled and they don’t let you practice but that’s the rules. Some days they don’t let you practice but, at least we were able to get in there in the past day or two and get some work done.”
“It affected us a lot because you’re not supposed to practice when they close the school,” said Garven. “We just say that, if you can make it safely, come. If not, then don’t. We never had more than six kids in practice for the last two weeks and always different kids.”
Northridge coach Bill Perry brought along an excited, young group of kids. He even has 125-pound Thomas Wiggens standing at 2-0 after Day 1.
“I expected some of them to have a rough first round,” said Perry. “(Wiggens) is still in it. The rest of them are going to have to back in the loser’s bracket but they had some pretty tough draws.”