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In the six-year history of the Southwest Prairie Conference, only two schools have captured league championships.
Those two programs met on Thursday when five-time titleholder Minooka welcomed reigning champ Plainfield Central to town in a dual match of conference unbeatens.
Central looks poised to go after another conference crown, as the Wildcats rallied for a 36-24 victory.
“Now I think we’re the top competition in the conference, but they were definitely at the top,” Plainfield Central state placer Nick Nasenbeny said after his major decision win at 126 pounds. “This is always a big rivalry for us, so for us to come and get the win on their home court, it’s good.”
After the programs split the first six contests, Minooka took the next three bouts behind decisions from Chris Hiscock (170) and Josh Bouie (195), and a pin from brawny sophomore Nathan Gunn for a 24-11 advantage. Central rallied with five consecutive wins highlighted by pins from Cody England (106 pounds) and Dylan Cramer (113) to seal the win.
Central also received points when Minooka elected to forfeit against top-ranked and undefeated Jordan Ellingwood.
“The team is at a crossroad,” Minooka coach Jeff Charlebois said. “It comes down to competing consistently. (Thursday) some guys wrestled great, other guys wrestled poor. At the next dual, another set of guys are going to wrestle great, and another set of guys will look poor.”
In one of the most closely contested matches, former regional champion Ryan Holzrichter moved up a class (145 pounds) to meet Minooka’s standout freshman Carson Oughton. After two scoreless periods, Holzrichter took a 3-0 decision with an escape and late takedown.
Clayton Ledbetter (120), Jordan Dinoffria (152) and Andrew McAllister (285) rounded out the winners for Central. Minooka took victories on a pin from Danny Ruetigger (132) and decisions from Mike McNulty (138) and Jeff Klank (160).
Minooka state placer Corbett Oughton is still out with an injury, but the senior is expected back sometime next week.