There was a good chance Friday night’s wrestling dual meet was going to be very competitive when host Lake Zurich met Warren in North Suburban Conference action.
But nobody could have imagined just how close the final result would be as the Lake Division meet ended up being tied at 30-30 with one match remaining.
Warren senior reserve Myles Garner (1-2) ended up pulling out a wild 5-3 decision over Lake Zurich sophomore reserve Tommy Clancy as a takedown with 15 seconds left carried the Blue Devils to an exciting 33-30 victory before a fired-up crowd.
Garner barely made it through the six-minute battle as his asthma was acting up in the later stages of the match.
Warren (6-3, 2-1) got off to a fast start with fifth-ranked Danny Hicks (12-1) pinning his opponent in 2:47 to give the Blue Devils an early 6-0 lead.
Lake Zurich (8-2, 2-1) responded with a pin by Alex Zurawski at 195 before Warren began to establish a solid lead when junior Gene Garland posted a 6-3 decision over Michael Penny at 220.
Warren 285-pounder Sawyer McCaffery won a tough 2-1 decision over Marcos Perez, but Lake Zurich’s Josh Spiwak posted a 5-0 shutout at 106 to get the Bears back in the win column.
The Blue Devils really got rolling after that as a forfeit win by Andrew Johnson at 113 was followed by a huge match between Warren’s Elijah Parker and Lake Zurich’s Jerry Nigro at 120.
Nigro held a 9-1 lead early and led 9-5 when an injury to his left ankle resulted in an injury default and a 24-9 Warren lead.
Warren’s Martin Martinez followed with a pin in 3:54 and suddenly the Blue Devils held a commanding 30-9 lead.
But then came the big Lake Zurich comeback as 132-pounder Gresh Henderson (16-2) earned a 6-0 decision over Craig Mason before teammate Brandon Arteaga captured a 6-1 decision over Blake Howard at 138.
Lake Zurich’s Imran Peters held off Quinn Nonnemacher 7-5 at 145 to cut the gap to 30-18 before forfeit victories by Sean Lynch at 152 and Nick Tuthill at 160 deadlocked the score at 30-30 with one bout left.
“That might have been Clancy’s second varsity match of his life, he did a great job, and I’m really proud of my guys,” said Lake Zurich coach Dan Strickler. “Last week we beat Mundelein 29-28, but it didn’t go our way tonight. So I feel we have three tough teams and I think it’s going to be a dogfight in the conference.”
Garner led 2-0 early before Clancy eventually tied the score at 3-3 on an escape with 45 seconds remaining in the third period. Garner countered a shot by Clancy and got a take down before holding on for dear life in the final 15 seconds to secure the Warren team victory.
“I was thinking about whether or not to keep going because my lungs really hurt,” said the exhausted Garner. “I felt like it was a match that would never end and the last 30 seconds was probably the longest part of the match.”
The Blue Devils were without numerous key wrestlers in the meet, including Israel Santiago, who reached the state meet in 2011.
“It was a really good finish, and I was glad to see Myles (Garner) was able to get in there and do that for us,” said Warren coach Jim Ouimette, who was overwhelmed by the huge victory. “He (Garner) was filling in for us and we’re really banged up right now. The guys I have filling in are good guys, and we have some nagging injuries we need to get past.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.