Things looked pretty bleak for Reservoir heading into this season after junior Seth Rowell, a 2010 county champion, transferred to Mount St. Joseph, and Donovan Peek, a 2010 county finalist, moved to Nevada where his father, Darrell, took a job with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, ROTC.
But after Tuesday night's 40-24 win at perennial contender Hammond, things aren't looking quite so bad after all.
"It was a good win. Hammond always has a good team and they're just going to keep getting better and hopefully we will too," coach Andrew McIntyre said. "We had our guys get the bonus points where we needed them and we didn't give up a lot of bonus points."
Freshmen Troy Kilcarr (106, first-period pin) and Trent Kilcarr (113, win by forfeit), and sophomore Mason Kilcarr (120, first-period pin) staked Reservoir to an 18-0 lead to start the match.
"We've got the swarm of Kilcarrs and we've got some competition in the room too, so every varsity guy is getting pushed somewhere which is good, you need that," McIntyre said. "In our whole line-up, nobody has more than one year of varsity experience."
After the Kilcarr clan did its thing, Hans Wicklein (126, major decision) and Michael Ponton (132, first-period pin) followed suit to stretch Reservoir's lead to 28-0.
It wasn't until Wilson Low's 9-3 decision at 138 that Hammond finally got on the scoreboard. But with the heart of Hammond's line-up coming up — Raven Coleman-Brooks (145), Jonathan Goodwin (152) and Bryan Overton (160) — Reservoir's lead was far from safe.
However, after Sam Rowell, Seth's younger brother and a junior league standout, defeated Coleman-Brooks, a 28-match winner last year as a sophomore, the lead was a little bit safer.
"Sam came out real tough, he doesn't make a lot of freshman mistakes which works to our advantage. He wrestles like an upperclassmen which is really good," McIntyre said. "He's just going to keep getting better, he has a huge upside."
Hammond did manage to make the match close, going on a five-match win streak after that by getting wins from Goodwin (major), Overton (major), Josh Thibodeaux (170, pin), Michael Waters (182, decision) and Humphrey Anuh (195, major) to cut Reservoir's lead to only seven at 31-24.
At 220, though, Reservoir sophomore Michael Sullivan earned a hardfought 5-1 decision over Hammond's Melvin Iwukuoa to clinch the team victory before Andrew Bailey's second-period pin at 285 accounted for the final score.
"We bumped everyone up this week and (Sullivan's) come a long way, he did a lot of work in the offseason from being a JV wrestler last year," said McIntyre, who was also impressed by some of his first-year wrestlers who avoided being pinned.Reservoir 40, Hammond 24
106: Troy Kilcarr (Re) pin John Lowe (Ha), :25. [6-0]
113: Trent Kilcarr (Re) wbf. [12-0]
120: Mason Kilcarr (Re) pin Joey McKinney (Ha), 1:09. [18-0]
126: Hans Wicklein (Re) maj. Evan Nuss (Ha), 11-0. [22-0]
132: Michael Ponton (Re) pin Anthony Dimeo (Ha), 1:47. [28-0]
138: Wilson Low (Ha) dec. Paul Quattrone (Re), 9-0. [28-3]
145: Sam Rowell (Re) dec. Raven Coleman-Brooks (Ha), 11-5. [31-3]