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updated: 12/7/2012 9:40 PM

Grant meets Antioch's midpoint challenge in dual victory

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By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent

Only trailing 18-15 after seven matches, visiting Antioch was poised to pull off an upset Friday night at Grant in North Suburban Conference wrestling action.

But the Bulldogs didn't back down during crunch time as they dominated the second half of the dual meet to capture a 53-15 NSC Prairie Division victory in Fox Lake.

Starting at 126 pounds, Grant (6-1, 2-0) went ahead 3-0 on Noah Drabek's 5-1 decision over Chris Ruth.

The Sequoits (11-2, 1-1) bounced back quickly though as two-time state qualifier Mike Gussarson pinned his opponent in 2:45 to give Antioch a 6-3 advantage.

Grant established itself briefly after that point with pins by Mike Kouvelis (138), and Nick Fanella (145) before 160-pound teammate Andrew Vroman added a 9-3 decision over Ken Strohmen to give the Bulldogs an 18-6 lead.

But then came an interesting turn of events as Antioch's Tyler Stephens followed with a 7-4 decision over Ron Torres at 160 before Grant's Haider Khan built an 8-4 lead over Justin Miller at 170.

The big shocker came with only 38 seconds left in the 170-pound bout as several technical infractions resulted in Khan getting disqualified, which ended up cutting Grant's lead to 18-15.

That momentum however did not continue for the Sequoits as third-ranked Grant 182-pounder Tony Cashmore (9-0) pinned his opponent in 1:08 before 195-pound teammate Josh Klumack got a pin in 3:40.

The Bulldogs continued to shine with a forfeit win by Ryan Flores at 220 and a pin by 2012 state qualifier Dan Haeffele at 285, giving Grant a comfortable 42-15 lead with three bouts remaining.

"I knew it could potentially be a close dual meet, but they didn't bring all of their guys," said Grant coach Ryan Geist, whose team is ranked 20th in Class 3A. "We backed off a little bit to get the best matchups possible, but it's always going to be a good match against Antioch."

Grant junior Nick Koch fell behind 4-2 after one period, but he bounced back strongly to post a narrow 6-4 decision over Antioch's Briley Schultz at 106. Koch had been 0-2 against Schultz in his brief career before Friday.

"He's a tough kid and I know he's definitely ranked at the 2A level so it was nice to beat him," said Koch, who improved his record to 7-2. "I know I'll probably see him (Schultz) at the conference meet again and this is a good start to the season."

The Bulldogs closed out the meet very strong with Gage Datlovsky earning a 6-0 decision over Nathan Dlugoposki at 113 and Troy Parent winning by technical fall at 120 to account for the final score.

"We have five starters out right now so we wrestle with what we have, but my hat's off to Grant," said Antioch coach Wilbur Borrero, whose team hosts a tough triple-dual meet Saturday. "We hope to be much better by the end of the season and I'm sure they're going to get better by the end of the season too."

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