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updated: 1/18/2014 6:38 PM

Perfect postseason prep for Lake Zurich

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By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent

Time is running out for area wrestling teams to get ready for their conference meets and the IHSA state series.

With that in mind, six teams headed out for the Palatine megaduals Saturday, with Lake Zurich that wound up walking away from the competition with a perfect 3-0 record after losing to Libertyville on Friday night at home.

The Bears started the morning session with a 45-15 victory over West Chicago; the Wildcats and St. Charles North both went 0-3 on the day.

Lake Zurich followed up that performance with an impressive 48-9 win over the North Stars in the second round before closing out the day with a 44-21 victory over the host Pirates (8-6).

Palatine, Carmel, and Grayslake North (11-7) all went 2-1 Saturday, with the Pirates knocking off St. Charles North 52-25 in the opening round. The Knights fell to Palatine 38-24 in the second round before they closed out the day with an easy 54-19 triumph over West Chicago.

The Corsairs lost to Grayslake North 37-28 in the first round, but they bounced back strong with wins over the Wildcats (36-27), and the North Stars (38-20) in the next two rounds.

The Bears were led by 145-pound senior Brandon Arteaga (22-3) with three wins while teammates Josh Spiwak (120), Tommy Fales (126), Max Brummel (138), Pete Baldaccini (152), Tommy Clancy (160), and Alex Zurawski (195) also picked up three victories each.

Arteaga was only one victory short of reaching the state meet last season. Senior teammate Sean Lynch (2-0 at 152) is a two-time state qualifier, but Lynch is not expected back in the lineup until the North Suburban Conference meet or regionals due to a shoulder injury.

"I feel really excited for the end of the year and I'm ready to do some big things downstate," said Arteaga, who was an NSC champ as a junior. "I really just have to be aggressive and get my conditioning up for the third period."

Lake Zurich coach Dan Strickler was pretty happy with his squad's performance Saturday as the Bears have been forced to take many forfeits this season due to injury, sickness, and their football team going all the way to the Class 7A state championship game.

"I felt like my guys wrestled much more like a team today and the energy from the bench carried to the mat," said Strickler, whose team placed fourth in the NSC last year. "I anticipate Brandon (Arteaga) being in the state tournament -- I will be disappointed if he's not -- and he's focusing a lot more."

Starting at 126 pounds, the Bears built a huge 31-0 lead over Palatine after six matches before the Pirates mounted a late comeback to make the final score much closer.

Palatine got 3 wins apiece from Jason Lopez (182) and Austin Tipper (220) while 126-pound teammate Juan Guajardo (19-6) went 2-0 overall. 113-pounder Evan Heintz went 2-1 for the Pirates, including a 5-1 decision over Lake Zurich's Drew Witt.

"We had a nice dual meet against Grayslake North and the kids wrestled well," said Palatine coach Dan Collins. "We were way overmatched against Lake Zurich, but I thought we wrestled well and they never stopped competing."

Grayslake North's Jake Wright moved up to 132 and went 3-0 while teammates Cody Sawyer (170) and Colton Deatherage (132) posted 2-1 records. Senior teammate Zac Juron (152) did not wrestle due to injury.

"I think our guys wrestled tough today, we've got a few guys out with injuries and illness and we bumped up half of our lineup today (in weight class) to try to get better," said Grayslake North coach Ryan West. "We just try to make sure that we are going to peak at the right time and in the grand scheme of things the state series is more important."

Carmel got three wins each from Kenny Barber (126), Anthony Swindell (138), Jake Drennan (145), Joe Salvi (160), and Brendan Doyle (120).

"We're focusing on individual goals, trying to prepare for the regionals, and trying to get as many guys through the regionals as possible," said Carmel coach Bob Kuykendall. "We have six guys in the lineup with over 20 wins and normally we are forfeiting five weight classes so we know we're not going to be a good dual meet team."

St. Charles North was led by freshmen teammates Kolbe O'Brien (28-5 at 106) and Dominic Testa (113) with three victories. 106-pounder Manny Garcia went 3-0 for West Chicago.

"We set goals for us to try to win how many matches we have because obviously when we're wrestling teams with full lineups we're not going to win (because of forfeits)," said St. Charles North coach Ben Hummel. "He (O'Brien) wrestled in a lot of clubs going in, he's got a lot of experience, and it's showing right now on the mat."

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