The 50th Annual Rus Erb Tournament proved to be a memorable day for the Grant wrestling team Saturday at Glenbrook South.
The Bulldogs dominated the 18-team tournament with a winning score of 262.5 points as they overwhelmed runner-up Oswego with 134 points and third-place finisher Metea Valley with 122.5 points.
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Wauconda was the next highest finishing Lake County squad in the large field with a fourth-place total of 116 points while Carmel edged Wheeling 93 to 91.5 for ninth place. Buffalo Grove (62 points) placed 14th.
Grant's impressive drive to the title was led by individual champions Christian Kanzler (16-2) at 106, Noah Drabek (14-1) at 126, and Steve Herrington (14-4) at 195.
The Bulldogs also got second-place finishes from Nick Koch (113), Gage Datlovsky (120), Troy Parent (132), and Cristian Coronado (138).
Parent's first-place match was a particularly wild one as Parent got a takedown in the final seconds to force a 5-5 deadlock. But he was assessed a 1-point penalty moments later for locked hands and he lost a 6-5 heartbreaker to Lane Tech's Danny Carlson.
"I was really pumped up going into my championship match after taking third place here last year," said Drabek, who was an NSC champ last year. "Every kid except for one placed today which is great, and we had seven kids in the championship match which is phenomenal."
After going undefeated until the Class 2A sectionals last season, Wauconda 220-pound senior Nate Magiera (25-0) is at it again this campaign as Magiera rolled to the championship with a 9-0 shutout over Batavia's Connor McKeehan.
Wauconda also got an individual title from 285-pounder Max Mattaliano (22-3), who pulled out an exciting 4-2 overtime decision against Niles North's James Edmond for the crown.
"There are still a lot of things I feel I need to work on," said Magiera, who placed fifth in the state last year. "I'm happy to be undefeated, but there's still work that needs to be done."
Wauconda also got a second-place finish from Alex Schwickrath, who suffered a 1-0 loss to Loyola's Ryan Wosick in a defensive struggle at 182.
Wheeling's effort was led by a third-place medal from Johny Carvajal at 120; he posted a 9-5 decision over Carmel's Bobby Pryhocki.
The Wildcats got fourth-place finishes from Tulga Zuunbayan at 145 and Juan Hernandez at 285. Zuunbayan dropped a 6-4 decision to Grant's Mike Kouvelis in a very exciting third-place bout.
"He (Zuunbayan) had his chances and the kid (Kouvelis) beat us fair and square," said Wheeling coach Neal Weiner. "He (Carvajal) is wrestling really well. He wasn't even seeded in this tournament so to place in the top three here is something to be proud about."
Carmel got a third-place performances from Kenny Barber at 126 and Joe Salvi, who posted a narrow 3-1 decision over Grant's Brian Treacy at 160.
"We brought nine guys to the tournament and six of them placed (in top six)," said Carmel coach Bob Kuykendall. "I thought both guys (Barber and Salvi) wrestled tough and nobody outclassed us today. We learn our lessons for February and we fought every match."
Buffalo Grove had runner-up finishes from Jake Greenberg at 106 and Jake Siebert, who dropped a 5-2 decision to Oswego's Nick Aguirre at 145.
"Siebert wrestled too conservatively against a good kid and those are the kids you have to beat to get to the next level," said Buffalo Grove coach Dave Durlacher. "He (Greenberg) had a good tournament and for a sophomore to take second place in this tournament is good."
Besides Mike Kouvelis at 145, Grant also got third's from Tom Kouvelis with a pin over Buffalo Grove's Ulysses Ocampo at 152, and John Loris at 170.
"I felt we wrestled very well on both Friday and Saturday and we had all of our wrestler's win matches here," said Grant coach Ryan Geist, who is closing in on 300 career wins. "What's great about it (having three champions) is that our 106-pounder (Kanzler) didn't wrestle for us last year so to come out and win a tournament as a sophomore is great for him."
Grant got fifth's from Andy Preidis (182) and Jeff Braunsdorf (285) while Wauconda got fifth's from Steve Ciolek (160) and Fil Diaz (195). Carmel got fifth's from Brodie Palm (113) and Anthony Swindell (138) while Wheeling's Ricky Muro placed fifth at 126.