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updated: 12/7/2013 6:17 PM

Grant gaining momentum

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By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent

It was a banner weekend for the Grant wrestling team, as the Bulldogs put the finishing touches on a perfect 4-0 record by sweeping their own triple-dual meet in Fox Lake Saturday.

Grant (5-0) opened the day with a 41-21 victory over fellow North Suburban Conference squad Stevenson before an impressive 37-21 victory over Barrington (6-2) in the second round.

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The Bulldogs closed out the day with a 51-15 nonconference victory over Waukegan as 113-pound senior Nick Koch (8-2) went 3-0 Saturday to help lead Grant's impressive performance.

The Broncos opened up the day with a 65-12 rout of Waukegan before adding an easy 52-9 win over Stevenson (4-3) in the final round.

The Patriots were also able to dominate Waukegan by a final score of 57-18 in the second round. The Bulldogs weekend started out when they rolled past visiting Wauconda Friday night in a NSC Prairie Division dual meet.

Starting at 138 pounds, Grant's victory over Barrington was pretty tough until late in the meet as the Broncos took a slim 21-20 lead on a pin by 285-pounder Alex Zentner and sophomore Mitch Stathakis' (10-1) narrow 6-4 decision over Christian Kanzler (8-2) at 106.

But the 17th-ranked Bulldogs would completely right the ship after that match with a pin by Koch at 113 making the score 26-21. Then Gage Datlovsky posted an exciting 2-1 decision over Nick Patino at 120 to give Grant a 29-21 advantage with two bouts left.

Noah Drabek added a technical fall at 126 before 132-pound teammate Alex Rodriguez captured a 5-3 decision over Matt Conrad to account for the final score.

Grant 138-pounder Troy Parent (7-1) went 2-0 on the day with a pin against the Broncos while teammates Datlovsky, Drabek, Rodriguez, and 182-pounder Andy Preidis also went 2-0 Saturday.

"I'm hoping to make it back to state and if I do I'm going to wrestle differently," said Koch, who went 41-8 last season. "I have to open up more on my feet and wrestle less defensively so I'm still working on that right now."

Grant 152-pounder Mike Kouvelis added an 11-2 major decision over Barrington's Chris Kazanowski while 170-pound teammate John Loris posted a wild 6-4 overtime decision over the Broncos' Travis Cysewski. Grant's Steve Herrington also had a 15-5 major decision over Barrington's Mark Bornhofen at 195.

"I could not be happier, our kids wrestled great, and our effort is there," said Grant coach Ryan Geist, who now has 293 career wins. "We had 25 kids that we were able to work into the meet who all got varsity matches today so that was good."

Connor Boundy (145), Jack Bornhofen and Stathakis all went 3-0 overall for the Broncos. But Barrington coach Ken Hoving knew his team did not wrestle its best down the stretch against the Bulldogs.

"The key with Grant is we gave up too many bonus points and they just outdueled us," Hoving said. "We're a team that can live and die with bonus points and we just gave up too many today."

Stevenson's day was somewhat of a struggle. But the Patriots did have some bright spots to fall back on as 170-pounder Tyler Harrington (9-2), 160-pounder Juwon Anderson (5-0), and 152-pounder Robert Pavlovics all posted 3-0 records.

"Obviously Grant has established themselves as not only one of the strongest teams in our conference, but one of the strongest teams in the state," said Stevenson coach Shane Cook, whose team beat Mundelein Friday night at home. "But the only way you get better is to wrestle strong competition, that's why we're here and the experience we get from wrestling strong competition is invaluable."

With roughly 70 career wins, Koch still has a long way to go, but he is definitely on track to secure career victory No. 100 late this season if he continues winning at his current pace.

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