DARIEN — First impressions aren't everything.
When Hinsdale Central's wrestling team faced Sandburg Tuesday in the Class 3A Hinsdale South dual team sectional, the Eagles won 43-20. While the final might not show it, the Red Devils performed well, even as their season came to a close.
"That's all we asked of our guys, to go out and compete hard," Central coach Jason Hayes said. "We know Sandburg has a tough team. They're probably one of the teams that could end up being state champions, so that's a tough draw."
Sandburg's lineup included three individual state champs and another finalist, but aside from Ricky Robertson's second-period pin, all of the bouts pitting Central wrestlers against Sandburg state finalists were close.
At 120, George Tolbert at one point led 3-1 against state runner-up Sebastian Pique before Pique came back for a 10-6 win.
C.J. Brucki, the 160 state champ, needed a late takedown to finalize a 5-1 win over Tim Glavin, and 171 state champ Colin Holler was limited to a 12-6 decision by Keith Schmidt.
"I thought our kids wrestled tough," Hayes said. "We wrestled Sebastian Pique down to the wire, C.J. Brucki down to the wire. You can't ask for much more than good effort, and for them to go out and compete hard."
Starting at 113 pounds, Sandburg won the first four matches of the dual. Juwan Edmund and Tom Ward had back-to-back third-period pins to steal back some momentum for Central, but the Eagles won the next fives matches to take control.
Matt Allen (7-3 decision) and Brian Allen (25-10 technical fall) had back-to-back wins, but Sandburg's 37-12 lead prior to the Allen wins was too much to overcome.
"I think we performed all right. We wrestled our best and did what we could do, but in the end I think they were just the better team," Brian Allen said. "We just have to keep working and hopefully we can be like them soon. They're a pretty tough team and they're going to be right there until the end."
Hinsdale Central winners
Juwan Edmund 138 Fall, 5:30
Tom Ward 145 Fall, 5:42
Matt Allen 220 7-3 decision
Brian Allen 285 25-10 tech fall