DeKALB – DeKalb wrestling coach Mike Pater knows Brad Green has all the tools to succeed in the 138-pound weight class.
But after a few tough losses, including one against Sycamore 132-pounder Colton Burns on Thursday, Green was down on himself, and Pater could tell.
“Brad just needs to believe in himself,” Pater said. “We really didn't fix technique or anything like that, we just worked on him mentally, trying to get him to believe in himself.”
Green regained some of his swagger in Saturday's home quadrangular meet. Wrestling two classes up from his normal weight, Green won three matches and the Barbs beat Lyons Township, 44-23, after beating Conant, 31-28, and losing to Libertyville, 47-17.
“It boosts [my confidence],” Green said. “In the last couple of meets and duals, I haven't been doing too well. I've been losing a lot lately. To come back and get three wins is a big moral boost. Hopefully this will make me even better in the future.”
After the Barbs lost dual meets to Yorkville and Sycamore over the last two weeks, the confidence boost was welcome across the board.
Doug Johnson also swept his opponents at 132 pounds, winning by technical fall all three times, and freshman 106-pounder Parker Stratton won all three of his bouts, winning twice by pin.
Stratton is heading into his first high school postseason after a successful finish to the regular season, so what's coming in the next few weeks is a relative unknown. If he can continue the large progression he's made this season, a deep run is likely.
“Parker has really impressed me because he's been improving every week,” Pater said. “Most of these guys, they kind of hit a plateau or they kind of hit a rut or stay where they're at. Parker continues to impress me because he's improving.”
Stratton's knows he'll have to raise his game to another level if he wants to make a run this post-season.
“It's way tougher than our regular season and we have to work way harder to get to where you want to be,” he said.
The purpose of Saturday's meet was to help the Barbs become acclimated to post-season wrestling, which begins next weekend at the Northern Illinois Big 12 meet. Pater hopes Saturday's success can carry over in the weeks to come.
“It was good to beat two traditionally powerhouse programs traditionally in Lyons Township and Conant. That was really nice to come away with wins,” Pater said. “The good thing about these [quadragular meets] is that every match is going to be tough and it kind of prepares you for the regional tournament and the conference tournament because really, there's not going to be any easy matches at those things.”