RICHMOND – When Johnsburg senior Matt Tobin won the championship match of the 152-pound weight class at Saturday's Tom DuBois Wrestling Classic with a 14-1 major decision, it was symbolic of his team's dominance all afternoon.
Johnsburg also took home first-place honors at the 13-team meet by scoring 151 points. The Skyhawks were 20 points better than runner-up and host Richmond-Burton, which staged a strong late rally that fell short. Marengo and Woodstock (128 points each) tied for fourth, while Huntley (112) and Hampshire (75) were sixth and seventh.
It was an eye-opening victory for the Skyhawks, considering they posted a 9-15 record last season. First-year coach Mike Miller praised his team's hard work for the sudden turnaround.
"These kids are buying in to what we're teaching," Miller said. "We've got a good structure in place, and some of our sophomores have really stepped up. It also helps we've got a great group of seniors who set a solid example for our younger guys."
One of those seniors, Austin Butler, breezed through the 170-pound title match with a 7-1 decision over Lake Forest's Chase Waggoner. Butler hopes to make a run at state again, a feat he accomplished previously as a sophomore.
"That's something that really motivates me, fires me up," Butler said.
Johnsburg sophomore Dan Calhoun (138), senior Joey Calhoun (160) and senior Marko Miserda (195) also helped the Skyhawks rack up valuable points by reaching – but losing – title matches in their respective weight classes.
During his 152-pound semifinal, Tobin faced his younger brother, junior Christian Tobin. It was the first time the pair had wrestled against each other competitively.
Matt playfully joked that he taught Christian a lesson by pinning him early in the third two-minute period, after taking a 12-2 lead.
"Prior to our match, Christian was sitting in the stands, and I was trying to mess with him by tapping on his head, or doing whatever I could to get under his skin," Matt Tobin said with a laugh. "At home, we get in scuffles all the time, so to get him on the mat was quite an experience."
Christian took it all in stride.
"He may be my older brother, but he makes me a better wrestler," Christian Tobin said. "We're very competitive, but it's all brotherly love."
Back in Action
Huntley sophomore Matthew Burba took the 220-pound title in an 8-2 decision over Richmond-Burton junior Josh Dumont.
After losing his first varsity match at a meet in Barrington, he has won six straight.
"I didn't wrestle as a freshman after wrestling all through middle school," Burba said. "Training ahead of time and lifting to prepare for wrestling season got me a starting spot on our football team's defensive line. When I lost my first varsity match, I just pushed it aside. I wasn't going to let it discourage me."
Burba's teammate, freshman Andrew Lira, nabbed the 113-pound championship match against Marengo's Joe Recediz.
Best of the Rest
Marengo's Landon Pfeiffer (106) and James Mier (195), Hampshire's Christian Rivero (120) and Casey Allen (160) along with Woodstock's Javi Villalobos (285 captured individual titles Saturday. R-B's Joe Kaht (145) and Anthony Glauser (182) also earned titles, making it 11 individual championships for McHenry County athletes Saturday.