The Warren wrestling team faced some tough competition and conquered it all.
The Blue Devils closed out a 4-0 weekend at their own triple-dual meet Saturday.
Warren (17-2) rolled through its morning meet with a 60-15 victory over Marian Central before facing No. 6-ranked Class 2A squad Richmond-Burton in the second round.
The Rockets (25-3) took a 31-30 lead with one match left, but Warren 130-pounder Tyler Kuhn won by injury default, resulting in a 36-31 Blue Devils victory.
Warren closed out the day with an impressive 47-20 victory over Grayslake Central (14-10).
The Rams fell to Richmond-Burton 53-24 in the first round, before easily toppling Marian Central 67-9 in the second round. R-B beat Marian Central 56-18 in the final round, despite forfeiting three matches in every meet.
After beating Stevenson Friday night and rolling past Marian Central, Warren found itself in a real battle with Richmond-Burton.
Starting at 135 pounds, the Blue Devils took a 21-0 lead with the aid of forfeit wins at 135, 140, and 145 along with a 9-4 decision by Aaron Brewton at 152.
But Richmond-Burton would dominate most of the meet after that point, except for a pin by Warren 215-pounder Shakiem Chapman and a 5-1 decision by 285-pound teammate Jovan Dubose. Those wins gave the hosts a 30-12 lead with five bouts left.
Grant sophomore transfer Cameron Kennedy (7-0) cut R-B's gap to 30-18 with a pin at 103, before his Rockets teammate Garrett Sutton added a 6-1 decision over 112-pounder Israel Santiago to make the score 30-21.
Then 119-pounder Mike Hrdlicka edged Martin Martinez 3-2 and Matt Ellis added a pin at 125 to give the Rockets a 31-30 lead.
Kuhn trailed early in his match against R-B's Joe Ellis at 130. But Kuhn injured his back on an illegal move by Ellis, and when Kuhn could not continue to wrestle, he was awarded an injury-default victory to end the dual meet in favor of Warren.
Kuhn was heading to get X-rays, but he is expected to be OK.
"That was a situation where the referee should have stopped it before it got too bad because our kid (Ellis) was just trying to score points," Richmond-Burton coach Bret Wojcik said. "You hate to see a dual meet end that way,"
After a great freshman season at Grant where he placed sixth in the state at 103, Kennedy just became eligible to wrestle again Jan. 15 with his new program.
"Cameron is a great kid," Wojcik said. "He's been great in our room, and he's gotten along great with our kids."
The Rockets are the favorites to win the Class 2A Grayslake North regional in two weeks.
After slipping past the Rockets, Warren led 3-0 against Grayslake Central when 140-pounder Brandon Tyler posted a 4-3 decision over Dylan Hay.
Tyler went 3-0 on the day for the Blue Devils as did Brewton and Dubose. Kuhn was 2-0 on the day along with 145-pound teammate Josh Bixler.
A pin by Grayslake Central 145-pounder Sean Keever gave the Rams a brief 6-3 edge. But a technical fall by Brewton, a pin by 160-pound senior T.J. Parker (28-3), and a forfeit win by Danny Hicks put the Rams in a 20-6 hole.
Central 189-pounder Kevin Hein (25-6) added a pin before 215-pound junior teammate Joey Valdivia (13-1) posted a 9-3 decision at 215 to pull to within 20-15.
Valdivia is one of four Rams to reach state last year, but he missed a lot of this campaign due to ankle injuries dating back to the football season. Valdivia was the only Central wrestler to go 3-0 Saturday, as Hein dropped a tough 6-4 overtime decision against Richmond-Burton's Joe Dedick.
"It's been kind of a short season, but I'm excited for regionals, sectionals and state," said Valdivia. "I've just got to get in good shape and get better at my key moves."
Warren put Grayslake Central away on 103-pounder Craig Mason's 11-9 decision over Bobby Raines, pins by Santiago and Martinez, a forfeit win by Morgan Drew at 125 and a 7-2 decision by 130-pounder Robert Lee.
Davonta Jennings closed out the meet with a technical fall for Central.
"We wrestled well and we wrestled two very good teams that have very good kids," Grayslake Central coach Dan Catanzaro said. "For some of our (top) guys to have dual meet losses really isn't such a bad thing at this point of the season."
Warren will head into the North Suburban Conference meet next Saturday with heavyweight standout Josh Dust expected to be back in its lineup.
Warren coach Jim Ouimette was pretty happy with his squad's performance overall this weekend.
"(Richmond-Burton) has a really good team," Ouimette said. "They've got a few holes, but the guys they put out are really tough. Jovan (Dubose) came up big for us again at heavyweight and Parker's match could have gone either way (vs. R-B). We're a little banged up, but if we can get everybody back for the conference tournament I'm excited where we can finish up there."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.