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Baldridge, Redskins start fast vs. Dwight

Morris 120-pounder Kenny Baldridge, top, won by a 26-11 technical fall in his first bout of the season Tuesday.
Morris 120-pounder Kenny Baldridge, top, won by a 26-11 technical fall in his first bout of the season Tuesday.

Morris 120-pounder Kenny Baldridge looks to be in midseason form. While it is just the opening meet for the Redskins, Baldridge came out and recorded a 26-11 technical fall win to lead the locals to a 56-21 win over Dwight Tuesday.

"I started getting ready for the season about four months ago," Baldridge said. "Going double time at practice and lifting weights."

Baldridge said that he has also been active in the sport at the national level, which also has helped him be ready for the season.

"I went and got third in Milwaukee and I also wrestled in Iowa, though I didn't place there. They are national tournaments. It's where I go to get my U.S.A. rating," he said. "At 126 I think I'm fourth right now, though I am going to wrestle 120 this year."

Morris got wins from Baldridge, a 3-1 decision from Cody Decker at 145 and a win by Nick Lerma (fall, 1:45) at 220 while also getting seven wins by forfeit. Those getting forfeit wins for the Redskins included Ian Bernard (106), Jake Crowther (113), A.J. Vota (126), Justin Barkley (132), Drake Dryfhout (138), Lemar Griffin (152) and Ryan Kowalczyk (182).

"Lerma is just getting back into the sport since his freshman year, so it was his first match back in two years," Morris coach Jon Lanning said. "And this is Decker's first year where he has not played football. He was able to squeak out a win tonight."

Then there is Baldridge. Baldridge said that he has been committed early in the weight room to certain disciplines.

"I've been working on technique and fixing some of my mistakes," he said. "I've also been staying in shape and going to a lot of clinics."

Baldridge also thinks the Redskins can be more competitive this year than they were last winter.

"I think we could be competitive this year," he said. "The key is to get everyone into wrestling shape — the whole lineup."

Morris junior wrestler John Guistat is returning to the Redskins this year but was out of the lineup because of football. He thinks Morris will also be better this year.

"I think we're going to have a good season," he said. "We have a lot of experience coming back and we are also filling out all of our weight classes this year. I think we're going to be a lot better."

One of those key returning starters this year is Allbert. Like some of his other teammate, however, he came right off the football field and went right to the mats to compete, literally.

"You look at a guy like Trevor Allbert. He just certified today, then he comes in here tonight and then bumps up a class to get the better match," Lanning said. "He lost 9-3, but he showed a couple of good moves for only having one day of practice."

Allbert said that he felt he owed it to himself to get back into the sport right away.

"I wanted to jump right back into it. I need to get back into wrestling shape. Wrestling shape is so much more different than football shape," Allbert said. "When I wrestle, I expect to  always be at my best. Even though I was wrestling up a weight class like today, I feel I should have won. It just didn't happen and he beat me."

One other football player turned wrestler that has a chance to make an impact on the team this year is senior Craig Claire.

"We're excited that Craig is coming out. It will be his first year in the sport, but he has good form, very good strength and balance," Lanning said. "The key is to work with him on learning three or four moves and get him to be able to execute them on a consistent basis."

Claire was a senior captain on the football team and he said that he is eager to learn the sport of wrestling.

"Having no experience with wrestling, I just going to come out and do the best I can," he said. "I have no idea what to expect since I am new to the sport. I plan to get after it and I'm sure I'll pick things up after a couple of meets."

One team that already has a couple of meets under their belts is Yorkville. The ranked Foxes are waiting to wrestle the Redskins on Thursday in the Northern Illinois Big 12 opener for both schools.

"We'll be seeing a full lineup against Yorkville. Not only that, but they are currently ranked No. 2 in 2A at the start of the year," Lanning said. "They will certainly be up to speed at this point because they have been practicing since October to get ready. For us, we're going out and we'd like to be hitting our peak sometime in mid to late January and February."

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