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updated: 1/4/2014 7:46 PM

Libertyville's Eggert gets career win No. 500

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  • Libertyville wrestling coach Dale Eggert is congratulated by the coaching staff of Crystal Lake South after the Wildcats defeated the Gators in Saturday's quad at Schaumburg. Eggert's team later topped Naperville Central and Schaumburg, giving him 500 career coaching triumphs.

       Libertyville wrestling coach Dale Eggert is congratulated by the coaching staff of Crystal Lake South after the Wildcats defeated the Gators in Saturday's quad at Schaumburg. Eggert's team later topped Naperville Central and Schaumburg, giving him 500 career coaching triumphs.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville wrestling coach Dale Eggert cheers on one of his wrestlers against Crystal Lake South in Satruday's wrestling quad at Schaumburg.

       Libertyville wrestling coach Dale Eggert cheers on one of his wrestlers against Crystal Lake South in Satruday's wrestling quad at Schaumburg.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville wrestling coach Dale Eggert watches with purpose as his one of his wrestlers competes against Crystal Lake South in Saturday's quad at Schaumburg.

       Libertyville wrestling coach Dale Eggert watches with purpose as his one of his wrestlers competes against Crystal Lake South in Saturday's quad at Schaumburg.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville wrestling coach Dale Eggert meets with his group after the Wildcats topped Crystal Lake South in the quad at Schaumburg on Saturday.

       Libertyville wrestling coach Dale Eggert meets with his group after the Wildcats topped Crystal Lake South in the quad at Schaumburg on Saturday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville's Chris McDermand handles Crystal Lake South's Bubby Gabric for the win at 285 pounds on Saturday at Schaumburg.

       Libertyville's Chris McDermand handles Crystal Lake South's Bubby Gabric for the win at 285 pounds on Saturday at Schaumburg.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville's Steve Polakowski, top, handles Crystal Lake South's Joe Fetherling for a win at 126 pounds on Saturday at Schaumburg.

       Libertyville's Steve Polakowski, top, handles Crystal Lake South's Joe Fetherling for a win at 126 pounds on Saturday at Schaumburg.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Schaumburg's Sadarriss Patterson, top, handles Naperville Central's Robbie Martins at 170 pounds during Saturday's quad at Schaumburg.

       Schaumburg's Sadarriss Patterson, top, handles Naperville Central's Robbie Martins at 170 pounds during Saturday's quad at Schaumburg.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Schaumburg's Tony Vezzetti, left, battles with Naperville Central's Rick Marciniak at 152 pounds during Saturday's quad at Schaumburg.

       Schaumburg's Tony Vezzetti, left, battles with Naperville Central's Rick Marciniak at 152 pounds during Saturday's quad at Schaumburg.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent

They say records in sports can be deceiving.

But in the case of Libertyville wrestling coach Dale Eggert, reaching the 500-win milestone Saturday at Schaumburg was done the old-fashioned way. He and his Wildcats earned their trio of victories.

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Eggert's historic day started off with an impressive 55-16 nonconference victory over Crystal Lake South (8-7) in the first round for win No. 498, before Libertyville overcame a slow start to roll past Naperville Central 59-18 in the second round for win No. 499.

Then came the moment of truth for the Wildcats and Eggert, as they built a commanding 40-8 lead over the host Saxons after 10 matches before rolling to a 49-17 victory.

The sweep gave Libertyville a 10-2 record for the season, Eggert's 27th as head coach of his alma mater.

Schaumburg (9-4) started its day with a 43-26 win over the Redhawks in round one before toppling the Gators 40-34 in round two in a dual meet that was not decided until 285-pounder Matt Zolper's pin in the final bout. Crystal Lake South posted a 45-20 victory over Naperville Central (5-11) to close out its day.

Starting the second round at 106 pounds, the Redhawks gave the Wildcats a tough battle early on, as a pin by state-ranked 138-pounder Ben Williamson had Naperville Central up 18-11.

But then came a huge surge of power by Libertyville, as 5 straight pins -- by sophomore Dylan Ledman (145), junior Joey Gunther (152), senior Colton Bast (160), senior Kayne MacCallum (170) and senior Austin Koziol (182) -- staked the Wildcats to a commanding 41-18 lead.

Libertyville showed some of that same dominance against the Saxons with second-ranked senior Steve Polakowski (126) and state-ranked teammates Chris McDermand (285), Kevin Barbian (220), MacCallum, Koziol and Gunther all picking up three victories each on the day.

Polakowski was grateful to be a part of the momentous occasion. The Wildcats dumped a bucket of confetti over Eggert's head following win No. 500.

"It's exciting and definitely fun to be a part of the team that got the 500th win," Polakowski said. "(Eggert) just knows how to develop a team better than anyone. That's why he gets all of these dual-meet wins, and that's how he wins the conference almost every year."

Eggert is now officially a part of an elite group of IHSA wrestling coaches to capture 500 wins. He has compiled a record of 500-112-2 over his career.

But as many people had expected, the modest Eggert was already ready to move on to the rest of the 2013-14 season without the distraction of the historic 500th victory.

"I'm relieved it's over because it's really not the focus of the team," said Eggert, who placed second in the state for Libertyville in 1974, before wrestling at Southern Illinois University. "But a lot of parents are happy about it and I'm happy they're happy about it."

After retiring from teaching two years ago, Eggert said he is just happy that he has been allowed to continue coaching his beloved Wildcats.

"Quite frankly, I'm glad I didn't have to wait another week," said Eggert, who is expected to be officially honored for the 500th win when Libertyville hosts Warren on Friday. "I just love coaching and I'm glad I get to continue doing what I like doing."

Schaumburg got three wins apiece Saturday from state-ranked teammates Matt Stopka (195) and Luke Gruszka (160), while 106-pounder Hazen Rice also picked up three wins for the Saxons.

"Dale deserved to get his 500th win and I'm glad it was against us," Schaumburg coach Mike LeVanti said. "I respect Dale a lot and I think he is one of the best coaches in Illinois, if not the best coach. It's a privilege to wrestle against his team."

The Gators were led by second-ranked 138-pound senior Nick Gil, who improved his record to 23-0 with three more wins. CLS also got three wins from state-ranked Eric Barone at 145 and Garrett Dziedzic at 120. Third-ranked Brian Pence (195) missed the meet due to illness.

"We had a couple of guys out, which made it difficult with Schaumburg because I think it could have gone either way," said CLS coach Ross Ryan. "(Gil) is having a phenomenal season. He's wrestling his matches, and he's doing everything right on the mat and off the mat."

Naperville Central got three wins each from 113-pounder Derek Wilke and 132-pounder Cam Hayes. Shuji Mizoguchi (106) and Williamson were the other Redhawks to get wins against Libertyville.

"(Libertyville) is loaded in the bigger weights and I don't think anybody can beat them in those weight classes," Naperville Central coach Rob Porter said. "We've got a long way to go. We've got some really young kids, and we don't start any seniors."

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