Libertyville meets Warren's challenge
Winning the first two matches of the dual meet gave Warren's wrestling team hopes for an upset Friday night against Libertyville.
But the Wildcats had revenge on their minds heading into this North Suburban Conference meet as they are aiming to take back the title from the defending NSC Lake Division champions.
Starting at 132 pounds, the Blue Devils did build an early 6-0 lead, but Libertyville (12-1, 4-0) bounced back quickly in an impressive 42-15 victory in Gurnee.
Warren (9-3, 2-2) led 3-0 when T.J. Kuhn defeated Tyler Brooks 9-4 to open the meet.
Then 138-pound teammate Israel Santiago posted a 5-1 decision over Nick Andrews and the Blue Devils went up 6-0.
A pin by Libertyville 145-pounder Joey Gunther followed by a forfeit win by teammate Austin Pettinato at 152 gave the Wildcats a 12-6 advantage.
Coming off an injury recently which sidelined him for a month, Libertyville 160-pounder Sal Ayala fell behind Jeremy Andrews 5-1 at 160.
But Ayala responded with a pin in 4:35 to give No. 7 Libertyville an 18-6 lead after five bouts.
"It was early in the meet and it was a match that could go either way so it gave us a boost," said Libertyville coach Dale Eggert regarding Ayala's pin. "Our experienced guys went out and got some key pins and it was some pretty good dual-meet wrestling by our guys."
The one wrestler the Wildcats could not stop was Warren 170-pounder Danny Hicks (19-2), who recorded a 12-5 decision over Austin Koziol to cut Libertyville's lead to 18-9.
But the upper weights proved to be a real difference-maker for the Wildcats starting when Kayne MacCallum (23-2) pinned Myles Garner with only six seconds left in the third period.
Libertyville 195-pounder Joey Nield got a takedown with 37 seconds left to seal a 6-4 decision over Zach Khoury before 220-pound teammate Kevin Barbian recorded a pin in 1:04.
Then Chris McDermand added a 3-1 decision over Sawyer McCaffery at 285; McCaffery was denied a takedown with 11 seconds left in the bout. That clinched the Wildcats' win with a 36-9 lead.
"They're a tough team, but we have our strong weights and Ayala had a good win for us," said Barbian. "Joey Nield won a close decision and that was a good match to get the win. We're young, but we're looking pretty good right now."
At 106 pounds, Charlie Nudelman posted a 9-1 major decision for the Blue Devils. But Libertyville's Dan Schilling won an 8-6 overtime decision against Andrew Johnson at 113.
Warren's Martin Martinez earned a 4-0 shutout over Noah Strong at 120 before Libertyville's Steve Polakowski closed out the meet with a 7-5 comeback win against Craig Mason at 126.
"I knew MacCallum going up to 182 was going to cause us some problems and we gave up too many bonus points," said Warren coach Jim Ouimette. "You can't beat a team that is that good giving up that and a forfeit. We just got a couple of guys back in the lineup and you have to be on top of your game against Libertyville, but we weren't."
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