With the conference wrestling meets less than a week away, host Warren and Grayslake Central got in one final tune-up Saturday at the Blue Devils' Almond Road campus.
It turned out to be the end of a great weekend for Warren as the Blue Devils put the finishing touches on a perfect 4-0 weekend by going 3-0 Saturday starting with a 55-17 nonconference victory over Marian Central in the first round.
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Warren (16-5) followed up that performance with a 43-14 victory over a short-handed Richmond-Burton squad in the second round before closing out the day with a 54-18 victory over Grayslake Central (14-13). The Blue Devils also beat Mundelein on Friday night.
The Rams began their day with a 42-25 win over the Rockets before easily beating the Hurricanes by a comfortable 54-23 margin in round two. Richmond-Burton defeated Marian Central 31-24 in the final round of a forfeit-plagued meet to salvage a 1-2 record on the day.
Starting the dual meet at 145 pounds, the Blue Devils took an early 3-0 lead over Grayslake Central when Quinn Nonnemacher pulled out a 3-1 decision over Sid Carbone.
The Rams actually fought back to take an early 6-3 advantage as 152-pounder Glenn Stearns pinned his opponent in 4:40.
But there was no momentum carried over from that pin as Warren proceeded to win the next seven matches, beginning with Jeremy Andrews' 8-0 major decision over Joe Slusser at 160.
Elite Warren 170-pounder Danny Hicks (25-3) followed up that performance with a pin in 3:01 before pins by teammates Eric Shurson at 182, Zach Khoury at 195, and Bryson Eppinger at 220 quickly extended the Blue Devils' lead to 31-6.
Then came junior Sawyer McCaffery (22-5) with a 6-0 major decision over Cam Hosimer at 285 and a technical fall by 106-pounder Charlie Nudelman and Warren held an even more commanding 39-6 advantage.
McCaffery is looking forward to the North Suburban Conference meet next weekend at Stevenson even though he knows the competition will be very tough.
"There are some matches earlier in the season that I could have done a lot better, but I want to go into the conference meet with the right mentality to try to win," McCaffery said. "I think if I stick to my game plan I can win a lot of matches and I just have to be more active than I've been before."
The Rams did get a pin from Kurt Radke at 113, but that was followed up with pins by Warren's Martin Martinez (24-7) at 120 and teammate Craig Mason (in 35 seconds) at 126.
A forfeit win by Grayslake Central's Larry Augustin at 132 and a 12-6 major decision by Warren's Israel Santiago over Jon Makey closed out the meet.
"I wish that we would have had more guys here to get ready for next week, and we may have lost T.J. Kuhn today to a knee injury," said Warren coach Jim Ouimette, whose team won many forfeits against the Rockets and Hurricanes. "We've had an up and down year. Going into conference we have to make sure that fundamentally we're not making mistakes at critical moments."
The Rams are hoping for the best heading into conference, regionals, and sectionals.
"Warren is tough, they're well coached, and they have athletes up and down that lineup," said Grayslake Central coach Dan Catanzaro, whose team will compete in the Fox Valley Conference meet next weekend at Jacobs. "It's good for us to see a team as good as them heading into the state series and we're proud of their effort today."
While Richmond-Burton's team is really lacking any depth this season with seven to eight forfeits in every meet, the Rockets sure do have a lot of star power featured on their squad.
Former Grant wrestler Cameron Kennedy (33-0) is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 2A at 126 pounds and he recorded 2 pins and a technical fall Saturday. Kennedy is a three-time state place-winner with a third at 120 last year, a second at 103 in 2011, and a sixth at 103 in 2010.
Junior Garrett Sutton (26-0) is ranked second at 152 while sophomore Grant Sutton (31-1) is ranked second at 120.
"He (Kennedy) has a good chance to win state, he's been working on the mental aspect of it, and he just has to keep doing what he's been doing all year," said Richmond-Burton coach Bret Wojcik. "As long as he stays healthy and keeps the same attitude hopefully he'll be on the top of the podium."