For the Hammond wrestling team, yesterday was nearly perfect. For Liberty, however, it was something less than that.
Hammond, in a tri-meet at Liberty, dominated in a 42-13 victory over Chopticon and a 49-13 triumph over Liberty. The Lions, however, struggled, falling to Chopticon, 56-17, in addition to their loss to the Golden Bears.
The Golden Bears exacted a measure of revenge in the two victories. Liberty edged Hammond, 30-27, earlier this season, and Chopticon handed the Golden Bears (4-1) their lone defeat in a 13-1 season last year.
"I'm very happy with today," said Hammond coach Bill Smith. "There were two good teams we wrestled. I was real proud of our kids."
Nine Hammond wrestlers walked off the mat with two victories. Mike Chang (112, 7-4), Danny Proulx (119, 9-3), John Motley (130, Nakia White (135, 7-4), Josh Stokes (145, 8-2), Erin Woodward (152, 10-1), Mac Goudy (171, 10-2), Pat Brennan (189, 9-1) and heavyweight Toke Barbosa (2-1) all scored victories in both of their matches.
Smith said that, for whatever reason, the Golden Bears seemed to turn a corner last week. That's one reason this match against Liberty (3-4) was so much different than the earlier one.
"This seems like a different team to me," said Stokes of Hammond."We're starting to get like last year. It's sweet."
The December match saw Liberty use a pin from heavyweight Pat Quinn to pull out the victory. This match ended fairly quickly, as the Lions needed to forfeit three matches due to injuries and other problems. Add to that the five Hammond wins in the first six matches, and it was a rout.
Hammond had a harder time against Chopticon (5-1). The
Golden Bears won 10 matches, but eight came by decisions, several close.The first Hammond pin didn't come until Goudy scored it at 171.
Little went right for Liberty. The Lions and Chopticon started the day, and the Braves got rid of the Lions fairly quickly.
Chopticon began the match with five pins in the first six matches. The Braves jumped to a 33-0 lead and finished with seven pins in the rout.
The Hammond match was not much better. Injuries and other problems are taking their toll on Liberty.
"We're now in the heart of the season," said Liberty coach Jeff Hash. "They have to pick themselves up and wrestle with a lot of intensity."
The Lions did have a few bright spots yesterday. Phil Youssi and Mike Durgin each came away with two victories for Liberty.
Youssi (140) gave the Lions their first points in the Chopticon match when he pinned Brian Capps at the 2:54 mark. Youssi upped his record to 9-2 when he pinned Bill Dakis in the Hammond match at 2:51.
Durgin (160) won by technical fall in his first match, a 17-2 rout of Clarke Guy from Chopticon. The second match was tough for Durgin (6-4), who got into some third period period trouble and hung on for an 8-6 victory over Brian Traintafillos of Hammond.
Overall, despite the problems, Hash did not like the way his team looked.
"I was upset with their performance against Chopticon," said Hash. "It comes back to wrestling with intensity."
Chopticon, which made the two-hour trek to Liberty, made a good showing. Its rout of the Lions took barely an hour, and the Braves looked good at times in the loss to Hammond.
"Part of it was the conditioning," said Chopticon coach Dane Kramer. "Our conditioning is really hurting. It's a real learning