Warren Hills' wrestling team came up big in the bonus round in the season opener against Warren County rival Belvidere on Friday.
The Blue Streaks won a total of nine bouts, including seven pins, en route to an impressive 48-26 victory in a Skyland Conference clash before a packed house at Warren Hills Regional High School in Washington.
Coach Jarrett Hosbach was pleased with his team's aggressive nature and penchant for finishing matches. Warren Hills has a tough opening week with Voorhees on Saturday, followed by a road trip to Franklin on Wednesday for a pair of Skyland Conference showdowns.
"It seemed like we got a little momentum going early, and the starting weight [285 pounds] helped us," Hosbach said. "It was a packed house and that's the way it should be. When I wrestled at P'burg you always felt that energy [from the home crowd at The Pit]. It was a great night for the sport of wrestling."
Senior Dan Smith started the night with a key 9-4 decision over Belvidere junior J.B. Lawson at 285 and that helped set the tone for the hosts. Smith, who was a third-place finisher in District 1 last season, scored the opening takedown before getting reversed into a four-point move while riding high with the legs in. But he recovered nicely in the second period, turning Lawson and earning a four-point nearfall as the bout was stopped because of Lawson's bloody nose. Smith nearly had what would have been an eighth pin for the Streaks.
Good-looking freshman Max Nauta decked Matt Hambacher in 42 seconds at 106 to trigger a run of three straight pins that gave Warren Hills a commanding 21-0 lead four bouts into the match.
"We expected to see Lawson [at 285] and we were hoping to get that one," Hosbach said. "That really got the ball rolling."
The Thorsen brothers, Jesse and Dylan, stopped the bleeding temporarily as Belvidere attempted to get back into the match. Jesee Thorsen earned a 6-3 win over Justin Pidoto in a battle of Region 1 qualifiers at 126, while Dylan Thorsen pinned Tom Rush at 132 to make it 21-9.
But junior Joe Kratochvil scored a big 3-2 win over promising Belvidere freshman Ken Kane at 138 to swing the momentum back to Warren Hills. The bout was tied 1-1 late in the third when Kane attempted a Konkrete Special that Kratochvil countered for the winning takedown with 20 seconds left.
"One thing Joe did was he kept the pressure on [Kane]," Hosbach said. "He doesn't do anything flashy. He grinds out wins."
Keith Wanamaker and Nate Detrick followed with back-to-back pins at 145 and 152 to make it a 36-9 lead with five bouts remaining.
In the most entertaining bout of the night, Belvidere senior Nathan Dow overcame a 4-2 deficit after one period to deck Brandon Cruse in 3:26. Dow, a fourth-place finisher in Region 1 last season, surrendered two takedowns in the opening period before getting one of his own in the second to tie things at 4 before scoring the fall.
Sophomore Ryan Ostir sealed the match for Warren Hills by decking Tyler Toth in 2:19 at 170.
Warren Hills 48, Belvidere 26
285 -- Sr. Dan Smith, WH, d. Jr. J.B. Lawson, 9-4.
106 -- Fr. Max Nauta, WH, p. Fr. Matt Hambacher, :42.
113 -- So. Tai Adetula, WH, p. So. Kenny Morgan, 1:20.
120 -- Sr. Chris Greenwald, WH, p. Jr. Aaron Castner, 1:03.
126 -- Jr. Jesse Thorsen, B, d. So. Justin Pidoto, 6-3.
132 -- Sr. Dylan Thorsen, B, p. Jr. Tom Rush, 2:37.
138 -- Jr. Joe Kratochvil, WH, d. Fr. Ken Kane, 3-2.
145 -- Sr. Keith Wanamaker, WH, p. Sr. Kelsey Craig, 5:48.
152 -- So. Nate Detrick, WH, p. Fr. Ryan Stephen, 1:41.
160 -- Sr. Nathan Dow, B, p. Sr. Brandon Cruse, 3:26.
170 -- So. Ryan Ostir, WH, p. Jr. Tyler Toth, 2:19.
182 -- Jr. Evan Bray, B, tf. So. Steve Cleaver, 21-6, 4:00.
195 -- Sr. Ryker Kern, WH, p. So. Mark Wolfe, 1:39.
220 -- Jr. Ryan Appleby, B, p. So. Ryan Witner, 5:08.
Records -- Belvidere 0-1; Warren Hills 1-0.
Official -- Russ Scorese.