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The INSIDER: Wrestling

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 9:38 a.m. CDT
Caption
Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com Cary Grove's Sean Cullen (right) wrestles with Kaneland's Matthew Reman in the 126-pound fifth-place match at Saturday's Sycamore Invitational. Cullen won, 3-0.

Spotlight on...

Brad Green (138) junior, DeKalb

It was clear what Brad Green had to do against Yorkville last Thursday; move up a weight class and register a win.

The outcome of the dual was at stake. Green gave up weight, but picked up a win and kept the Barbs on track for a Northern Illinois Big 12 East regular season dual meet title. 

“Brad had to move up a weight class which is never easy,” Barbs coach Mike Pater said. “The win was a total team effort.”

What to watch for

Sycamore at DeKalb, 6 p.m., Thursday

Cross-town rivals engage in a regular-season ending dual where a clean sheet and outright Northern Illinois Big 12 East conference title is on the line for the Barbs. 

Despite a young roster, DeKalb (17-3, 4-0) is on the upswing after a 30-29 win against Yorkville last week. 

“After Yorkville we told the team they need to stay hungry,” DeKalb coach Mike Pater said. “We can’t be satisfied with what we’ve done so far. We’ve got to have a lot of energy this week in the mat room and be ready to go.”

Sycamore coach Alex Nelson understands how important an undefeated mark in the regular season is for a team. 

“I’m sure DeKalb wants a conference title without a blemish on it,” Nelson said. “We know they are the team to beat and it’s a rivalry. We will be ready to go.”

Power Rankings: Pound for Pound

1. Kyle Akins (125) senior, Sycamore (29-0)

2. Alex Roach (285) senior, DeKalb (20-2)

3. Brenden McGee (113) sophomore, DeKalb (16-4)

4. Parker Stratton (113) sophomore, DeKalb (20-2)

5. Chris Malone (182) junior, Sycamore (23-4)

6. Jackson Montgomery (132) junior, DeKalb (20-4)

7. Brad Green (138) junior, DeKalb (20-6)

8. Matt Macarus (152) senior, DeKalb

9. Justin Diddell (285) senior, Kaneland (21-6)

10. Austin Parks (160) sophomore, Kaneland (18-7)

NOTEBOOK

Unsung Barbs: Sam Sommer had wrestled one varsity match before the Northern Illinois Big 12 East dual at Yorkville last Thursday. 

The Barbs sophomore was 0-1. 

Yet, he earned a major decision and vital bonus points in the Barbs' 30-29 win. 

With a tweaked lineup to maximize matchups, Pater made all the right moves and has the Barbs on the verge of an outright regular-season dual meet conference title. 

“That one point made a difference,” DeKalb coach Mike Pater said. “It was a great meet with a lot of exciting matches. It came down to the last match.

“It really was a team effort. We went over the meet and tried to maximize how each guys could contribute. We looked at matchups and the moves we made were able to work out.”

Akins rebounds: Kyle Akins has a state title and numerous tournament titles on his impressive resume. 

But a title at the Spartans’ home tournament had thus far eluded the Buffalo recruit until last week. 

Two years ago Akins was injured. Last year he lost in the finals. 

Akins was named the Sycamore Tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler as he claimed the 120-pound title. 

“The first thing Kyle told me was that he felt relieved,” Sycamore coach Alex Nelson said. “It’s a tournament he’d never won. It’s a grinder of a tournament. If you win all five matches you had to face quality competition. 

“When senior year comes along you start to check off all the accomplishments,” Nelson said. “I’m sure on a piece of paper he wrote down winning our tournament as a goal at some point in time. It’s an achievement he really wanted to add to his resume.”

VIEWS: Lineup maneuverability can be a powerful asset for a wrestling coach. 

The glut of talent in the DeKalb lower weight classes allowed Barbs’ coach Mike Pater to get creative. It has factored into the Barbs perfect Northern Illinois Big 12 East record so far.

Pater found a way for everyone to contribute when wrestlers moved from class to class for their matches. It’s the chess-game portion of an individual sport which gets wrapped into a team scoring system.

It provides unique matches and tests wrestlers against bigger often unfamiliar foes.

And it set up DeKalb for an opportunity to clinch conference in a rivalry dual on Thursday when it hosts Sycamore.

“We want to win the title outright,”Pater said. “But we know we’ve got to take care of business Thursday.”

James Nokes is a freelancer for the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached via e-mail at sports@daily-chronicle.com

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