All the DeKalb wrestling team had to do was beat Lincoln Way-West – albeit, the fourth-ranked team in Class 3A – to claim a Don Flavin Invitational Championship.
The Warriors had a different idea, rolling to a 35-21 win over the Barbs to claim the title on Saturday.
Lincoln-Way West, Wheaton North and the Barbs all finished 2-1 in the Platinum Pool, but the Warriors won on point differential. The Falcons were second even though the Barbs beat them.
"It was a great weekend," said DeKalb coach Sam Hiatt, whose Barbs went 5-1 in the tourney and claimed third. "It was a bummer there at the end. We had a three-way tie and we beat the team that got second and lost to the team that go first. It sucks that we don't get any hardware but I'm proud of these guys. I mean this was tough. This was one of the toughest dual team tournaments in hate state. We put together one of the hardest tournament we could find and we got third place. We got out after it and I'm proud of these guys. They fought like hell and we came up short."
Lincoln-Way West stormed to an 18-0 lead in the last match of the day against the Barbs, knowing they would need a win and help to defeat Wheaton North. The round before, the Falcons beat the Warriors.
Even though the Falcons rolled past Lincoln-Way East in the other pool game, it wasn't by enough to make up the point differential and the Warriors were the champs.
"It feels real good," Lincoln-Way West coach Brian Glynn said. "I mean this is by far the best dual team tournament in the state, it's got 32 teams and all are real good. And the last round was what I expected it to be with three competitive duals."
Glynn said his team remained focused after a 28-22 loss to Wheaton North in the second round of pool play. The Barbs had opened pool play with a 27-21 win over the Falcons.
"I told my guys after we lost in the second round, I said 'Hey we could still win this,'" Glynn said. "I said we've got to look to finish matches and you have to win the close ones so I think they responded exactly how I wanted them to."
Fabian Lopez was the only Barb to go 6-0 over the two days. He won by a pin four times and had a win by forfeit.
His toughest match came against Wheaton North, beating Jaime Suarez 7-4. He never trailed in the win.
"I'm used to wrestling tall skinny guys," Lopez said. "I wasn't used to short and stocky. But he was tough. I did what I had to do."
Hiatt said he's been preaching to the Barbs that the are one of the best teams in the state, and he said he hopes the team go the message after Saturday.
Lopez said the team was hyped up after starting 2-0 in the final leg of pool play, but lost some of that energy against the Warriors.
"Last year we were 0-3 on the last day of wrestling, and today we were 2-1," Lopez said. "But sometimes I think we forget about the team we were and how far we've come. You have to remember your roots when you're out there."