It was a great end to a very tough two-day tournament for Warren senior Danny Hicks Friday evening at the 58th Annual Berman Holiday Wrestling Classic in Palatine.
Hindsale Central proved to be the class of the powerful 27-team field by toppling runner-up Glenbard East by a 192.5 to 172.5 margin while St. Charles East (162 points) locked up third place.
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Hicks (17-2) showed he was ready for prime time as he closed out his stellar tourney by capturing a 5-3 overtime victory against Metea Valley senior Breon Hoosier.
Hicks appeared to be headed for a 3-2 decision in regulation time, but he was forced to overcome a stalling call in the final seconds of the third period. Hicks got a takedown 16.5 seconds into overtime to win the championship after defeating East Moline United's Markus Murphy 4-3 in the semifinals.
"I always wanted to win this tournament, especially my senior year and I wanted to show these guys I'm one of the best in the state," said Hicks, who reached the state meet last winter. "I know if I just keep the confidence and push the pace I can always prevail and they won't be able to keep up with me."
Besides Hicks' performance, the Blue Devils also got a fifth-place finish from Sawyer McCaffery (15-4) with a 2-1 decision over Cary-Grove's Jeramey Dermont at 285, and a seventh from 120-pounder Martin Martinez (13-6), who earned a 3-2 decision over Oak Forest's Alan Durham.
"He (Hicks) has worked really hard since last year, he got a taste of the state tournament, and he just needs to push it to get to that next level," said Warren coach Jim Ouimette, whose team hosts Libertyville next weekend. "We were missing a lot of guys for this tournament and I'm hoping to have everybody back for the second part of the season."
Lakes had three individuals make the final round of the rugged tourney which included a team from Delaware-Hayes, Ohio.
Lakes junior Kavan Mulloy (18-4) also had a great tourney as he took fourth to Lyons' A.J. Villarreal in a wild 11-8 decision at 152. Villarreal, who won the Barrington tourney over Thanksgiving weekend led Mulloy by 10 points on Thursday before Mulloy got a shocking pin with 20 seconds left in that bout.
Senior David Gregory (19-4) added a fifth-place finish for the Eagles at 160 while teammate Levi Smith placed eighth at 132. Gregory led 5-0 in the second period before getting pinned in the semifinals.
"He (Mulloy) looked great overall, he doesn't stop working for six minutes, and that's why he almost won today," said first-year Lakes coach Mark Stave. "David Gregory is going to be fine by the end of the year and he is going to be right where we want him to be by the state meet."
Mundelein got a fifth from senior Jake Long (14-5) with a 5-3 decision over Cary-Grove's Garret Glueck at 152. The Mustangs got sixth-place finishes from Javier Dominguez at 145 and Joey Laurie at 132.
"We wrestled tough and they got a lot of fundamentals right, but you've got to finish," said first-year Mundelein coach Vince Jiuditta. "Long is working hard and improving. He has to work on a few more things before we get to the big show."
Antioch senior Mike Gussarson (22-5) dropped a hard-fought 4-3 decision late in his 132-pound third-place match against St. Charles East's Isaiah Vela.
The Sequoits also got a fourth from Briley Schultz at 106 and a seventh from sophomore Julio Ramirez (13-3) at 195.
"We brought eight kids down here and the goal is to get ready for the regionals, that's what we're aiming for," said Antioch coach Wilbur Borrero. "He (Gussarson) has wrestled that kid (Vela) four times in the last two years and he's lost every time. But the last two times were close matches and Mike has gotten better every time."