Intensity will be high on Thursday when the Barbs head to Yorkville.
The dual shapes up as a de facto Northern Illinois Big 12 East title meet. The Barbs have had all of winter break off and haven't wrestled since the Flavin Tournament. They've had time to spend with their families, let any nagging injuries heal and worked out any kinks in their games in the mat room.
Even with a younger lineup, DeKalb coach Mike Pater doesn't expect rust to have gathered or an emotional disconnect to take place due to the week off.
"We try and schedule a very tough tournament schedule so that when we face a good team like Yorkville we've already seen some very skilled competition," Pater said. "We've spent the last week just getting ready for Yorkville. I expect it to be a great dual between two great teams."
Knights dialed up: Monty Jahns found the intensity he wanted.
The Kaneland coach had asked the Knights to attack from the start of every match. In a 30-29 win at Plano the Knights did just that with four pins in a thrilling win. Nick Mish, Adam Mish, Matthew Redman and Tom Price all recorded pins.
"Plano was an awesome dual," Jahns said. "It was the most exciting dual all year. Everyone came out fired up. It's tough to do that all year in every match. But at Plano everyone went out and went hard for the full six minutes. The fans were really rumbling.
"We've talked about being intense all year from the start. We think we've got our warmup figured out where we do some live work before the meet. That seems to get us in a good position to go full throttle when we hit the mat."
VIEWS: Wrestlers will get plenty of experience at Sycamore Saturday
The Sycamore Tournament on Saturday is a great opportunity to grow the game.
Yes, there's ultura-competitive matches and there will be several state-placers on the mat and a few future state champions. But, perhaps most importantly, every wrestler gets time on the mat.
"Every wrestler gets five matches," Spartans coach Alex Nelson said. "There's good teams that offer great competition. It's not a tournament where there are kids sitting in the stands watching what is going on. They are out there on the mats getting in experience."
Experience Nelson hopes the Spartans can take advantage of to avoid late-match rallies.
"We've got to get out of the start-slow mode," Nelson said. "We just dig ourselves into a hole. It's hard to slide back into a match when you are down 4-0."
Matt Macaras (152) senior, DeKalb
The Barbs' lower weight divisions are loaded with talent. When they head into Thursday's dual at Yorkville it's possible first place in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East dual season will be at stake. The leadership and tenacity of Macaras will be needed against the deep Foxes.
What to watch for
DeKalb at Yorkville, 6 p.m., Thursday
Talent and experience should be on the Barbs' side against the Foxes. But, Yorkville will be on its home mats and boasts a deep freshmen class. DeKalb also has a young lineup that became familiar with varsity competition last winter.
DeKalb coach Mike Pater expects the dual to be a grind.
"They have a good freshmen class with a lot of intensity that goes out and fights hard every match," Pater said. "They mix in a few experienced guys that are real good, too. We have to go out and be determined to accomplish our goals. We know it will be a good challenge and need to go out and scratch and claw for every point in every match."
Power Rankings: Pound for Pound
1. Kyle Akins (125) senior, Sycamore, 24-0
2. Tyler Barton (195) senior, Sycamore, 22-2
3. Alex Roach (285) senior, DeKalb, 16-2
4. Matt Macaras (152) senior, DeKalb, 16-4
5. Brenden McGee (113) sophomore, DeKalb, 12-4
6. Austin Armstrong (170) senior, Sycamore, 16-1
7. Parker Stratton (113) sophomore, DeKalb, 16-2
8. Chris Malone (182) junior, Sycamore, 19-3
9. Jackson Mongomery junior (132), DeKalb, 16-4
10. Austin Parks (160) sophomore, Kaneland, 14-6