Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2012, 11:56 pm

Mercer County wrestling handles business trip

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By Daniel Makarewicz,

PORT BYRON -- Basically guaranteed two dual victories before reaching the mat, the Mercer County wrestling team still approached Tuesday night as a working trip.

In the process, the Golden Eagles handled their business.

Despite receiving eight forfeit victories, Mercer County treated each match with noticeable importance. The Golden Eagles used that edge to earn comfortable wins over Riverdale (57-10) and Davenport North (60-10) at the Riverdale triangular, ensuring this trip was not a waste.

"We wanted to get two (wins) tonight. That was our goal," Mercer County coach Jeremy Finch said. "Then, we wanted to get on the road and get home. But I liked the way we wrestled. We're getting there. We're seeing improvements."

In extending their winning streak to five duals, the Golden Eagles (8-1), ranked second in the Illinois Best Weekly Class 1A poll, lost six bouts and surrendered two bonus points. On the other end, they had 24 bonus points on eight pins.

"We looked pretty good," said Mercer County 145-pound senior Logan Snyder, who earned two first-period falls. "In the last couple weeks, we're getting into the swing of things. We're improving and our technique is getting better. We're finally getting there."

Trae Blaser (106 pounds), Drake Stirn (113), Tristen Finch (138), Zach Nelson (152), Matt Weeks (170) and Alex Kisner (285) each recorded two wins.

Finch had a pair of pins on the night.

"We're starting to use the technique we're working on," Jeremy Finch said. "We're hitting the elbow passes, getting front headlocks and our underhooks. I'm seeing a lot of improvement."

Each time the Golden Eagles took the mat, they did so with a purpose of improving and dominating.

"That shows a lot of character," Snyder said. "We have a lot of heart on our team. We've always got to push hard."

Mercer County did that on a night where it would have been easy to coast.

"We did what we thought we'd do," Snyder said. "We came out big."

Riverdale splits: The Rams reached the .500 mark after a 48-15 win over North in the triangular finale. Riverdale (4-4) won four of the eight contested bouts, with each by fall.

Joe Tanner (132), Terry White (182) and Logan Sherman (220) ended the night with two victories.

"Mercer County is Mercer County," Riverdale coach Lance Sherman said. "But for our guys to rally and come back and wrestle like that against North, it says something about them."