ALEDO -- Once January reaches its midway point, the Mercer County wrestling team wants to inch closer to its best.|
A few steps toward that goal were taken on Tuesday night.
Three first-period falls in the first three contested matches set the tone for the fifth-ranked Golden Eagles during their 54-14 victory over Orion. On the night, Mercer County won six of the nine contested bouts as it reached the 20-win mark for the fourth consecutive season.
"We're definitely getting to our peak," top-ranked Mercer County 152-pound senior Zach Nelson said. "This is the best time of year to do it. We're getting there and making huge strides compared to the beginning of the season."
Those strides were noticeable, with Nelson's 45-second pin in the opening bout starting a string of dominance. Jesse Snyder (170 pounds) and Jon Ricke (182) followed with 90-second falls that increased the Mercer County lead to 24-0.
Mason Weeks finished the opening run with a 195-pound decision win. Included in the six-bout win streak that gave the Golden Eagles a 33-0 advantage were forfeit wins for Devin Morford (160) and Bobby Lincoln (220).
"We competed fairly well tonight," Mercer County coach Jeremy Finch said. "I like the way we're wrestling right now."
A more intense practice regimen was evident in Mercer County's ability to get the pin when it needed and wrestle six-minute matches as well. Tristen Finch (138) gave the Golden Eagles their fourth first-period pin, but Preston Adams (120) also scored a 12-7 victory.
"They have a solid team," said Orion coach Dan Diamond, who received a fall from Marcus Crawford (285), technical fall from Jacob DeVolder (132) and a decision by Joe DeVolder (145). "We don't have the horses to run with it. ... They're ranked high for a reason."
Plus, the Golden Eagles feel they are getting better each day. So far this month, they have won all three of their duals.
"This is the time to do your best wrestling," Finch said. "We've got to have that confidence."