With two weeks until the North Suburban Conference wrestling meet, visting Lakes and Mundelein met in a rare NSC crossover dual meet Friday night.
Three straight forfeits early in the meet really hurt Lakes' chances as the Eagles were facing a huge 27-0 deficit after only six bouts.
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Lakes (16-5) did put together a very strong comeback late in the meet. But Mundelein (15-3) had built a large enough lead that the Mustangs were able to hold off the Eagles for a 35-26 victory.
Starting at 195 pounds, Mundelein took a 3-0 lead as Esteban Guzman posted a 9-2 decision over Alex Girona.
Then at 220, Mundelein's Ricky Lopez captured a narrow 6-4 decision over Austin Summers (21-9) and the Mustangs led 6-0.
Three straight forfeit wins by Mundelein teammates Jose Jimenez (285), Ray Ceniceros (106), and Alec Riportella (113) really put the Eagles behind the eight ball, trailing 24-0.
To make matters worse for Lakes, Mundelein senior Jon Avila followed that sequence with a 6-0 decision over Cody Stanley at 120 and the Mustangs held a commanding 27-0 advantage in the early going.
"The way we started at 195 we knew the 220-pound match was going to be important because we had three straight forfeits after that," said Lakes coach Mark Stave. "We just didn't start off aggressive enough in the first four weights, then we were really aggressive and good things started to happen."
126-pounder Kewan Hampton started the Eagles' gradual comeback with a hard-fought 6-5 decision over Willy Hernandez at 126.
But Mundelein got those three team points right back as senior Sam Riportella (27-6) defeated Levi Smith 5-1 to make the score 30-3.
Lakes junior Sam Callahan (25-5) kept the Eagles' hopes alive with a 12-0 major decision at 138.
But once again the Mustangs responded well with senior Joey Laurie (23-6) posting a technical fall in the finals seconds of the 145-pound match to boost the lead to 35-7.
"We just worked on our strong points getting the takedowns and getting away on the bottom," said Sam Riportella. "As a team, we executed as we planned this week and we knew the moves that they liked to use so for the most part I think we did a good job."
Lakes 152-pounder Kavan Mulloy (28-3) earned an 8-4 decision over Al Mota, but with only three matches left the Mustangs victory was sealed as they held a 35-10 lead.
Senior Dakota Larson (20-10) pinned his opponent in 2:23 at 160 pounds before it looked like sophomore teammate Jared Smith (15-3) was going to pin Alex Edmonds early in the 170-pound bout.
But Edmonds was able to battle out of the jam and Smith had to settle for a 10-0 major decision.
The last match of the night was probably the best one of the entire meet as Lakes 182-pounder Zach Fuller trailed his opponent for the better part of the bout before putting together a shocking pin in 4:39 to account for the final score.
"I think we battled hard, we're improving all the time, and I'm proud of our constant guys in the lineup," said Mundelein coach Vinny Jiuditta, whose team will face Grant and Notre Dame Saturday in Fox Lake. "They're all working hard in the practice room, and it's paying off in the meets and in the tournaments."
Libertyville and Grant are both favored to win their respective NSC divisions outright next Friday as the Wildcats host Stevenson and the Bulldogs visit Lakes.
Then will come what has pretty much become an annual showdown the following weekend when Libertyville and Grant are expected to go head-to-head in a battle for the NSC championship in a two-day meet at Vernon Hills.