The Highland wrestling Bulldogs hit the mat with a roar to open the season, getting stronger with each match en route to thrashing three opponents to win a quadrangle match Tuesday night at Highland High School.
First, Highland spanked the Centralia Orphans 53-24. The Bulldogs went on to beat up on the Pinkneyville Panthers 64-15 and then mauled the Effingham Flaming Hearts 76-5.
Winning all three matches for Highland were Trent Rakers, Jacob Mitchell, Devin Wills, Mason Geiger, Brett Brown, Colton Brown, Caleb Machuca and Joe Gallo.
After receiving a forfeit at 170 pounds against Centralia, Rakers, a state qualifer one year ago, went on to pin Grant Murphy of Pinckneyville in 47 seconds at 170 before finishing up with a pin of Effingham’s Griffin Paige in 1:49 at 182.
At 126 pounds, Mitchell, also a state qualifier last year, started with a 17-0 technical fall over Orphan Blake Justin. Next, scored an 8-0 major decision over Panther Jordan Koester. Finally, Mitchell pinned Flaming Heart Brody Beck in 3:11.
At 145, Wills sandwiched two pins around a forfeit versus Pincknevyille.Wills first scored a fall over Andrew Nashed in 2:52 and then finished with a pin of Effingham’s Tristen Rhodes in 3:40.
After first receiving a forfeit at 138 against Centralia, Geiger pinned Pinckneyville’s Jordan Koester in 2:41 and followed that up with a 14-4 major decision over Zane Thilker of Effingham.
At 195, Brett Brown opened with a pin of Mario Bevins of Centralia in 42 seconds and then went on to receive a forfeit versus the Panthers before wrapping up with a pin of Braden Lawrence of the Flaming Hearts in 3:40.
At 120, Colton Brown received a forfeit against the Orphans and Pinckneyville, while he pinned Effingham’s Zach Keitel in 59 seconds.
Machuca received forfeits in his first two matches at 113 before finishing with a pin of Michael Cross of the Flaming Hearts in 1:30.
Gallo won all three matches via a forfeit at 106.
Scoring two victories were Brody Kirsch, Austin Hickam, Anthony Gallo and Colten Knebel.
At 182, Kirsch overcame a pin in his first match to score his two wins via a pin, sticking Panther Peyton Emling in 3:42 and then pinning Jarrett Jones of Effingham in 1:18.
At 152, Hickam sandwiched two pins around being pinned. He first pinned Centralia’s Damien Hill in 20 seconds and then closed out with a pin of Flaming Heart Zane Thilker in 3:49.
At 160, Anthony Gallo pinned Pinckneyville’s Sid Srance and finished with a forfeit victory against Effingham.
Colten Knebel overcame a loss in his first match to pin Sean Allgire of the Panthers in 4:39 and then closed with a forfeit win versus the Flaming Hearts.
Finally, Christian Zuccarelli received a forget at 220 against Effingham.
Next on tap for the Bulldogs is the Civic Memorial Tournament on Dec. 5 at Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto.