The La Salle-Peru wrestling team started off slow, warmed up and then went in for the kill in a home quadrangular meet Saturday.
The Cavaliers (13-6) were all over the spectrum in wins and losses as they lost 50-16 to Geneseo, fell in the last match to Bloom Township 37-33 and defeated Normal Community in a dominating 51-22 performance.
Senior 195-pounder Ryan Marlett went 3-0 on the day but said his first result of a 14-1 major decision wasn’t good enough. The desire to better himself spread across the team, as it improved from one dual to the next.
“The first match didn’t end the way I wanted to,” Marlett (20-5) said. “After not doing as good as I wanted to in the first match, it kind of fueled me to do better in my (other two) matches. It kind of made me mad and more aggressive out there.”
Marlett’s fury turned into fast pins of 40 seconds and 46 seconds against Bloom and Normal.
Two weight classes up from Marlett at 285, senior Nolan Keeney finished the meet 2-1 with the only L-P fall against Geneseo and a fall against Normal in 2:17. Keeney’s lone loss came in by 6-1 decision against Bloom.
Keeney (16-11) said his decision loss was because his wrists and ankles were taken away from him.
“On my feet I was trying to work a two-on-one — work a single leg snatch — but sometimes I didn’t have a good grip or good position,” Keeney said. “When I was bottom man, I kind of waited and wanted my signature move, which I like to call the ‘Fatty Roll.’ Every time I try it, I get a pin so it works.”
The heavyweight’s move consists of him hooking his arm above his opponent’s elbow when Keeney is on the bottom. He then rolls him to the same side of the hook, twists his body over and ends up on top for the pin.
Keeney added coach Matt Fletcher likes him to for a knee under to set it up because the other wrestler will think he is going for a standup. However, it leads him right into the “Fatty Roll.”
Junior 138-pound Alec Freschi went 2-1 with pin falls against Bloom (1:47) and Normal (1:05), while falling to Geneseo in a 3-0 decision.
Freshman Collin Groleau earned six points for the Cavaliers in each dual because of forfeits by the other teams at the 145-pound weight class.
Senior Chris Morehouse finished strong in the 170-pound class after a tough start to the meet in the form of a 12-2 major decision loss to Geneseo’s Brandon Mizlo, who is ranked No. 5 in the state at 182.
Morehouse (14-2) started the Cavs’ scoring in the Bloom dual with a pin in 3:06 in the first match, and he closed out the meet for L-P with a forfeit win against Normal.
“I’ve improved a lot actually,” Morehouse said. “I mean, I remember I used to not even be dedicated to this sport. I used to come in here thinking, ‘What am I doing here? I suck. I’m not meant to wrestle.’ Lately, I’ve been buying into the system and it’s taking me far.”
Fletcher’s system didn’t turn out the 3-0 meet he looks for every trip to the mats on Saturdays, but he said he’s happy with the progression of the team.
He knows this season has been up and down to this point, but said his team has the talent.
“It’s kind of all over the place. I think we’re still trying to find ourself as a team,” Fletcher said. “We have some guys with a lot of potential I don’t think are really quite sure where they fit in or how good they can be. It’s just something we’re still trying to figure out.”
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.