The seventh annual Libertyville Wrestling Alumni Night provided quite a showcase for the Wildcats program Thursday night.
Starting the dual meet at 170 pounds, three early pins helped stake Libertyville to a comfortable 25-0 lead before the Wildcats posted an impressive 52-9 North Suburban Conference Lake Division victory over Mundelein.
Sixth-ranked Libertyville (6-0, 2-0) got rolling right away with a pin by Diego Rojas at 170 before teammate Austin Koziol added an 11-5 decision over Esteban Guzman at 182.
Mundelein (3-5, 0-2) could not stop the early onslaught as 195-pounder Joey Nield followed with a 12-4 major decision over Matt Spitzer before pins by 220-pounder Kevin Barbian and 285-pounder Chris McDermand made the score 25-0.
Despite the loss for the Mustangs, this alumni night was a special one as first-year Mundelein coach Vince Jiuditta (1989 state qualifier) returned to face his old coach, Dale Eggert.
Mundelein's coaching staff also features assistant coach Roy Seeger, who was an assistant coach at Libertyville for 13 years. Libertyville graduates Kirk Christensen (1988 and 1989 state qualifier), and Reed Christensen (1993 and 1994 state qualifier) are also assistant coaches for the Mustangs.
"We work hard, we're getting better all the time, and a lot of the credit goes to coach Seeger -- he's a great coach and he's got them doing all of the right stuff," said Jiuditta. "I'm proud of the kids, they wrestled hard and you have all tough matches when they (Libertyville) are ranked sixth in the state and coach Eggert does a great job."
Mundelein was very solid at the lower weights as 106-pounder Alec Riportella got the Mustangs on the scoreboard with a 4-1 decision over Joey Locascio.
Then in a real see-saw battle, Mundelein's Ray Ceniceros outlasted Dan Schilling 8-6 at 113 to cut the Wildcats' lead to 25-6.
At 120, Noah Strong got Libertyville back in the win column with a 6-2 decision over Anthony Wick before sixth-ranked Steve Polakowski got a pin at 126 for a 34-6 advantage.
Mundelein's Matt Hutchinson followed with a 1-0 decision over Danny Trinkleback in a dogfight at 132 before Libertyville's Tyler Brooks shutout Joey Laurie 3-0 at 138.
Joey Gunther's 8-1 decision over Javier Dominguez at 145 set the stage for a showdown between Libertyville's Austin Pettinato and Mundelein's Jake Long at 152.
Pettinato and Long went toe to toe for three periods tied at 4-4 before Pettinato ultimately managed to get a pin with just 11.3 seconds left in overtime in the grueling 7:49 match.
"I dug deep, I heard my team cheering me on, and that gave me the motivation to do what I had to do to win," said Pettinato. "Last year we were really young and inexperienced, but this year we're learning things every day and we're coming together as one."
Fifth-ranked Kayne MacCallum closed out the meet with a pin at 160.
Eggert was very happy with Pettinato's effort and his squad's performance.
"Those are two really good guys (Pettinato and Long) that really get fired up, it was very exciting, and the fans loved it," said Eggert. "It could have gone either way and Long had some really good shots in the third period especially and I thought Pettinato had some tremendous counters."
"We're not worried about rankings, we're worried about getting better every week and I think our guys will tell you the same thing," added Eggert.