It was a familiar face when Dan Rodriguez jumped up two weight classes to compete in the cross-town clash between Brookfield Central and Brookfield East on Jan. 10, but that didn't necessarily favor the Central 152-pounder wrestling at 170.
"That was one I was really questioning at the last minute," Central coach Chris Demos said. "Danny actually beat him last year, but he's also giving up 14 pounds this year, so I was really proud of Danny going out there. That kid is just tough as nails, so I'm really proud of him stepping up and filling into the varsity lineup."
Rodriguez defeated East's Connor Sera at 170, 9-2, a win in a battle between sophomores that proved crucial in Central's 39-36 victory at home.
Bouncing back from year ago
Benefitting from three forfeit victories and crucial pins by seniors Mike Egan and Elliott Yanasak, the Lancers atoned for a one-point loss in a dual against the Spartans one year earlier.
East sacrificed six points at 106 pounds, 132 and heavyweight, which loomed particularly large after John LeClaire (195) and P.J. LeClaire (220) closed the match with pins to give East a three-point edge. After granting heavyweight and 106 via forfeit, Central conceded 113 to bring the match to its final score.
It was an anticlimactic conclusion, but no less satisfying for Central.
"Some of our younger guys and first-year wrestlers (did particularly well)," Demos said, pointing to wrestlers such as Alex Espada-Hernandez and Ben Olson. "These are some of their first varsity matches, so they were a little timid but they still went out there and didn't lay an egg; I was proud of them."
Julien Selby's pun at 152 also proved huge, as Central only needed to win four contested matches to take the dual, and both teams were wrestling without a full lineup of regulars.
"They just outperformed us and we have to come together as a team and be stronger for future matches," East coach John Veal said. "The key tonight is we did not perform in certain situations and didn't get pins when we had to, and they got all the pins we needed. They concentrated and came through with the pins, and that cost us the match. We're going to be coming back stronger. We have people coming back (over the weekend) and can see what we do when we have our lineup and see if we come together."
Aside from the LeClaires, East picked up wins from Carsten Balke (120) and Josh Dempsey (145) by pin, with Drew Hepperla bumping up a class to 160 to grab a win after breaking a 4-4 tie in the third period. Ben Lingeman took a decision victory at 126.
"It was a fun match, a great spectator match with lots of highs and lows," Demos said. "You never knew which way the match was going to go. It was a great win for the guys, and I'm proud of them."
Central second at Belcher
Competing that the Belcher Invite at Milwaukee Hamilton on Saturday, Central tied for second place with 160 points. Johnson Creek won the meet with 185 points.
Joshua Peltier took first place at 132 pounds, improving to 18-4 with five victories. A litany of wrestlers took third, including Yanasak, Rodriguez, Selby, Egan and Espada.
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