MICHIGAN CITY — Twice during this past football season, Michigan City beat La Porte with the latter matchup involving the coveted sectional title.
The Slicers haven’t forgotten.
One of the players on their football team was Matt Neff, who helped atone at least somewhat for those setbacks, as he guided La Porte’s wrestling team to a convincing 65-6 victory over their county rival at the Wolves Den Tuesday night.
“For us, we see it sort of as revenge from football season when they beat us,” Neff said. “We came in here and we wanted to show them they aren’t going to walk on us like they did in football. And we really wanted to show them what we were made of.”
It was the Slicers’ first DAC victory of the campaign in their third conference meet.
Posting pins for La Porte (9-7, 1-2 Duneland Athletic Conference) were Jaden Browder (195), Jacob Dewes (132), Tyson Nisley (138, technical fall), Skyler Querry (170) and Noah Perez (182) over the Wolves (2-5, 0-2 DAC).
“Michigan City’s always on the hunt,” La Porte coach Louie Kuzdas said. “They want to try to battle. They want to try and do everything they can to improve. At the same time, we’re going to try and stop them. We try and do things ‘Slicer style’ and keep the pressure on and things happen, and today things happened for us.”
The Wolves, meanwhile, had a different sentiment.
“We are in the infancy stages of trying to develop a program, trying to develop some fundamental skills,” City coach Tony Lombardi said. “Anytime you go through that transition, it’s all about building a culture.
“Different kids in our lineup really did some good things. But La Porte’s got a great team.”
The Slicers capitalized on four forfeits by the Wolves at 106, 120, 126 and 152 pounds. That gave the visitors 18 points and a 28-6 lead halfway through the meet. The match at 113 pounds was a double forfeit.
Browder pinned City’s Da’Vion Anderson in the first period to start the night at 195 pounds and Dewes tallied a pin in the opening period over Ben Merrion in the 132-pound weight class. La Porte’s Nisley rolled by technical fall, 18-2, at 138 pounds against Trae Anderson, while Querry pinned Brian Walker in the second period in the 170-pound weight division. Perez closed the night for the Slicers by recording a first-period pin over Michael Shanks at 182 pounds. La Porte’s Neff cruised by decision over Troy Powell in the 160-pound weight class.
“Matt Neff had probably the best all-around match,” Kuzdas said. “On his feet, on top, he was pretty dominant. And then underneath, he wasn’t underneath very long. He just kept pushing. Their kid was a big, strong kid.”
At the same time, Kuzdas added Querry performed well.
“He was working some stuff,” he said. “And both Matt and Skyler are at 160 right now. Matt went down to 160 and Skyler’s on his way down to 152. So moving Skyler up, I always ask him if he’s ready to go and he gave me the thumbs up. He went back to some of the basics we needed to work on. His takedowns were sharp. His top moves were overwhelming.”
Also notching wins for the Slicers were Nico Torres (285) and Josh Henrich (145).
A bright spot for City was John Wilcher, who built a big lead and pinned Will Stone at 220 pounds early in the meet. That tied it at 6-6.
“He wrestles well on his feet,” Lombardi said of Wilcher. “And that’s a weight class that most of the match is spent on your feet. Because those guys have a hard time breaking each other down. He’s learning how to hold his body position very well to where he’s a tough out defensively. And because of that, he had a nice offensive shot today. He had an up-and-under hook. He had a low single. That was very nice.”
La Porte’s JV won 15-3 in the four matches.