Warren impresses with winning responses
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Warren wrestling coach Jim Ouimette was concerned about how his team was going to respond after suffering a tough 31-28 North Suburban Conference loss to Mundelein on Friday night.
But the host Blue Devils did not let their coach down as they rolled to a 49-18 nonconference victory over Marian Central in the first round Saturday. They ended up going 3-0 in a triple dual that also included Grayslake Central, McHenry and Marian Central.
Warren (8-6) followed up the win over the Hurricanes with a 42-25 victory over McHenry and closed out the day with a 45-24 triumph over Grayslake Central (15-9).
McHenry (19-5) beat the Rams 39-21 in the opening round, before rolling to a 51-22 victory over the Hurricanes (7-12). Grayslake Central's 1-2 day also included a 51-27 win over Marian Central in the second round.
Warren had plenty of bright spots in its lineup, starting with 160-pound senior Emery Parker (28-2), who went 3-0 overall.
The Blue Devils also got 3 victories apiece from 285-pounder Sawyer McCaffery (26-4), Eric Shurson (170 pounds), Rakheem Chapman (182), sophomore Zach Khoury (195) and Sergio Sosa (220).
Saturday was the final tuneup for Warren heading into the two-day North Suburban Conference meet next weekend at Vernon Hills.
"I think I've been wrestling pretty well the last couple of duals and I feel pretty good about the guys I'm going to be wrestling," said Parker, who is ranked ninth in the state at 160. "My goal is to place in the top three at state, and the key for me is just pushing the pace in all three periods and staying offensive on my feet."
Warren held a 27-18 lead over McHenry before a key pin by 138-pounder Brandon Murphy boosted the lead to 33-18 with four matches left.
McHenry got a major decision at 145 and a decision at 152 to cut the gap to 33-25. But Parker pinned his opponent in just 54 seconds to clinch the Blue Devils team victory with a 39-25 advantage at that point.
The Warriors were without undefeated 220-pounder Louis Hernandez (28-0) due to an elbow injury, but he is expected back in their lineup in time for regionals in two weeks.
McHenry will be hosting the two-day Fox Valley Conference meet at its west campus next weekend.
"We have six guys out of our starting lineup right now, and we're trying to get healthy going into conference and regionals," said McHenry coach Will Gaddy, who pointed to Crystal Lake South and Dundee-Crown as two of the top teams in the FVC. "I knew we were going to have some younger kids in the lineup today. But I liked the way our kids wrestled. It was a good experience for them to get some match time."
Grayslake Central got 3 wins each from Jeff Morrow (26-2) at 126 pound and Larry Augustin at 132. Jonathan Makey, a 2013 state qualifier, went 2-1 for the Rams at 152 pounds.
Starting at 195 pounds, the Blue Devils jumped all over Grayslake Central as pins by Khoury, Sosa and McCaffery staked the hosts to a quick 18-0 lead.
A forfeit win by 106-pounder Kyle Anderson got the Rams on the scoreboard. But Warren's Charlie Nudelman posted a 7-6 decision over Kurt Radke at 113 to make the score 21-6.
Morrow followed that bout with a pin in 3:44 before a 7-1 decision by 126-pound Warren freshman Grant Zamen gave the Blue Devils a 24-12 lead.
Augustin's pin in 4:42 cut the gap to 24-18, but decisions by Murphy and 145-pound teammate Malcolm Wright boosted the lead back to 30-18.
Makey picked up a forfeit win at 152 before Parker's technical fall in 2:25 was followed by a forfeit win by Shurson to seal the deal. Chapman closed out the day with an 11-0 major decision.
"We come here to see some high-end kids and some bigger schools, and we'll see some tough kids to get out of sectionals," said Grayslake Central coach Dan Catanzaro, whose team is in the Lakes Class 2A sectional in three weeks. "We wrestled fine today, and we ended the year with a winning record for the fifth straight year so we're happy with that."
Warren will certainly have its work cut out the rest of the way as it heads out for the powerful Class 3A Libertyville regional in two weeks followed by the Barrington individual sectional in three weeks.
"I didn't know coming in off that tough loss (Friday) night how we were going to do today, and we wrestled well against McHenry," Ouimette said. "(Friday) night I needed a couple of seniors to do more than they did on senior night, but it didn't work out that way. But to go 3-0 today was a good way to finish the regular season."
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