It was a battle of the defending champions when Warren met Grant Friday night in Fox Lake.
The defending North Suburban Lake Division champion Blue Devils did build a 14-4 early lead over the Prairie Division champion Bulldogs in a dual meet that started at 145 pounds.
But that was the end of the line for Warren as Grant (3-0) rolled off 37 unanswered points with eight straight wins after that point before cruising to an impressive 41-21 divisional crossover victory.
The Blue Devils (3-1) fell behind 4-0 when Grant’s Tom Kouvelis opened the meet with a 10-1 major decision. But Warren’s Emery Parker got those 4 team points right back with a 10-2 major decision at 152.
The visitors looked like they were going to be tough to beat early on as they had a business-like attitude led by 160-pounder Jeremy Andrews’ 9-0 major decision, and 170-pounder Eric Shurson’s pin in 2:26 staking them to that 10-point lead.
The 182-pound match was a real show-stopper as Warren state qualifier Danny Hicks moved up a weight class to face Grant state qualifier Tony Cashmore. Hicks weighed in at 170 to 180 for Cashmore.
Cashmore (6-0) got the job done as he led 6-0 in the second period before posting a 6-2 decision to get the Bulldogs going in the right direction.
“182 could have gone either way, and once we beat their big gun (Hicks) we got a lot of momentum,” said Grant coach Ryan Geist. “I think the home crowd kind of gave us the mental edge to win some of those matches.”
Grant’s huge 37-point run continued with the senior trio of Jared Lalanda (6-2) getting a pin on the edge of the mat at 195, Connor Haran (5-2) getting a 12-3 major decision at 220, and Dan Haeffele getting a hard-fought 1-0 decision over Sawyer McCaffery at 285.
“I think it was a good performance, and a lot of our young guys are stepping up now,” said Haran. “I don’t think we’ve wrestled as well as we could, and I think we can do a lot better.”
Junior Nick Koch’s pin in 30 seconds at 106 boosted the Bulldogs’ lead to 26-14 before teammates Gage Datlovsky (113) and junior Troy Parent (120) also pinned their opponents to extend the lead to 38-14 with with three bouts remaining.
Then came the most competitive match of the meet as Grant sophomore Noah Drabek outlasted Warren senior Craig Mason 5-3 in overtime to make the score 41-14.
Warren did finally end its drought when T.J. Kuhn posted a 15-5 major decision over Cristian Coronado at 132, but it was much too late to make a difference in the team outcome.
Warren’s Israel Santiago (2011 state qualifier) moved up to 138 where he captured a 13-6 decision over Grant’s Mike Kouvelis to end the meet.
“I was hoping to get out of the upper weights how we did and I was glad Hicks went up (to 182) and took that match because that was some good competition for him,” said Warren coach Jim Ouimette. “I thought we were going to do a little better at 120 and 126 and it just didn’t work out in overtime. Craig (Mason) got a little anxious, but we’ll work on that.”
The Bulldogs still have a busy weekend ahead of them as they will host Barrington, Stevenson and Waukegan in a triple-dual meet beginning Saturday at 9 a.m.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.