The Round Lake wrestling team could not have asked for a much better performance than what the Panthers provided Saturday.
Round Lake dominated its own triple-dual meet. The Panthers opened with a 69-4 nonconference victory over St. Viator and then rolled to a 60-18 win over Nazareth Academy, before ending the day by capturing a 51-26 decision over Oak Lawn.
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St. Viator (2-10) fell to Oak Lawn (9-10) 42-11 in the second round, but the Lions did not wrestle in the final round since St. Ignatius did not show up for the competition and Nazareth is a team they already face in East Suburban Catholic Conference action. The Spartans defeated Nazareth 49-24.
Starting against St. Viator at 145 pounds, Round Lake (13-6) built a 12-0 lead on a pin by Nick Moore (22-6), an 11-5 decision by Juan Mena over Shamon Johnson at 152, and a 7-5 decision by Christian Najera over Joe McIntyre at 160.
The Lions could never recover, as the Panthers got pins from Zach Williamson at 170 and Joey Greenhill at 182 to extend their lead to 24-0.
Ryan McCord's 11-4 decision at 195 was followed by forfeit victories by Chris Martinez at 220 and Tomas Rangel at 285. Round Lake never looked back.
St. Viator got a 13-4 major decision from 132-pound sophomore Brandon Suchyta, who has been on a roll.
Suchyta is 7-1 since Dec. 8. He was the Lions' only wrestler to post a 2-0 record, as he added a 2-1 decision in a wild triple-overtime bout against Oak Lawn's Alex Gomez.
St. Viator's Kyle Koss had a major decision against the Spartans at 126, as did McIntyre at 160. St. Viator senior Ethan Jedziniak fell to 15-10 overall with two losses at 138, including a 7-5 decision against Oak Lawn's Eddie Varela.
The Lions were hampered by having to give up 5 forfeits against Round Lake. There were 3 double forfeits in their meet against the Spartans.
"We've got a lot of forfeits, but we're really young and we have only three seniors on the varsity," said St. Viator coach Jeff Kramarczyk. "We're showing signs of improvement, especially from our younger guys, and nobody on our varsity team has any youth wrestling experience.
"Being here eight years, this is the hardest-working group we've had, so things are going well," added Kramarczyk. "We had some close matches against Round Lake, but we're just looking to get better every day."
Round Lake got 3 victories apiece from Moore, Williamson, Najera, Juan Arteaga (106), Danny Arteaga (23-2 at 120), Vidal Arteaga (20-8 at 126) and freshman Dimitri Vityk (16-12 at 138), who has 15 pins this season.
"The coaching staff gave me the mentality that the match isn't over until the last whistle," said Vityk, who won by fall three more times Saturday. "No matter how much I'm down, I still have the urgency that I can still win."
Round Lake coach Mike Hruska has been happy with his young team's approach.
"We just try to preach being very aggressive and attacking at all times," said Hruska, who is in his fourth season. "Our numbers are up this year. We don't have any holes in our lineup, and we don't have to give up any forfeits, so that helps."
Starting at 160 against Oak Lawn, Round Lake built a 36-16 lead after nine matches before a pin by Vidal Arteaga at 126 made the score 42-16. A pin by Vityk at 138 hiked the lead to 48-20 before a 5-3 decision by Moore at 145 extended the advantage to 51-20.
The future looks bright for the Panthers program with many young wrestlers already playing key roles at the varsity level.
"You're never totally satisfied, but I'm happy with our kids and their attacking style," said Hruska. "Half of our kids are freshmen and sophomores, so we're extremely young. But they've got to keep working hard."