Three contests went down to the wire, and that made for competitive wrestling on Saturday at the Grant triple-dual meet.
Stevenson came away as the big winner of the day, winning twice to improve to 5-0. The Patriots opened with a 35-30 victory over Barrington (4-3) and added a 36-34 win over the host Bulldogs in the second round.
After rolling past Waukegan 60-18 in the second round, Barrington closed out the day with a 33-30 victory over Grant (4-2). Grant opened with a 66-9 victory over Waukegan. Stevenson did not wrestle against Waukegan since the teams will face each other in North Suburban Conference action.
Starting the dual meet against Barrington at 182 pounds, Stevenson jumped out to a 6-0 lead on a pin by senior Dan Ganzman. Barrington's Jake Meyer (10-0) answered with a pin at 195, but a 21-10 major decision by Stevenson's Max Gomez at 220 and forfeit win by 285-pound teammate Anand Batbaatar gave the Pats a 16-6 advantage.
Then came a pin by 106-pounder Randy Lu for a 22-6 lead, before Barrington 113-pounder Tucker Priola stopped the momentum with an 11-2 major decision.
Stevenson junior Tommy Frezza (8-1) added a major decision at 120 to boost the lead to 26-10, before 126-pound Matthew Zimring also earned a major decision to give the Patriots a commanding 30-10 lead.
"I think in the Stevenson meet they played their roles better and they won some big swing matches," Barrington coach Dave Udchik said. "Sean Cleary was losing, and he came up with a big pin (against Grant), and that kind of turned the dual meet around for us. Overall, it was just a full team effort. Everybody contributed."
Despite being without Jarit Shinhoster at 160 and Luke Rasmussen at 138, Barrington mounted a furious rally against Stevenson starting with Kai Conway's 5-0 decision at 132.
Stevenson's Michael Karp posted a technical fall at 138 to make the score 35-13, but Barrington responded with Rami Sakka's 9-5 decision over Jake Simon at 145.
The Broncos kept up the pressure with a technical fall by Markus Hartman (11-0) at 152 and pin by Joshua Robinson at 160 cut the gap to 35-27. But the deficit was too much to overcome, as a 3-1 decision by Barrington's Dan Rasmussen at 170 accounted for the final score.
"Both meets (Barrington and Grant) there were seven wins for each team, but the difference today was which team was going to score more bonus points," said Stevenson coach Shane Cook, whose team went 3-0 on the weekend. "They are two highly competitive teams so we knew we were in for some battles. We were encouraged to come out with two close wins, but we know we have some work to do."
The Patriots led Grant 27-4 before the Bulldogs began their comeback with a decision by Tucker Rogan at 126. A major decision by Dylan Rinkenberger and pins by Sam Maldonado (138) and Spencer Welter (145) cut the gap to 27-22 with four matches left.
Stevenson's Muzi Sitshela got a decision at 152, but Grant's Christian Palma recorded a comeback pin at 160 to make the score 30-28 with two bouts to go.
Millman clinched the team win with a pin at 170, before a pin by Grant's Justin Brown at 182 closed out the meet.
"We gave up a couple of pins in the Stevenson dual that we just can't give up against a team of that caliber," Grant coach Lenny Grodoski said. "Sam (Maldonado) has been working hard, he's been in our program for years, and he's looking to make some noise in his senior year."
Barrington and Grant were deadlocked at 18-18 with six matches left before a decision by Sakka and forfeit win by Hartman gave the Broncos some breathing room.
Grant's Ethan Geist moved up to 160 and got a pin, but decisions by Connor Prettyman at 170 and Rasmussen at 182 sealed the team win for Barrington.
Stevenson got 3 wins each from Frezza, Batbaatar, Gomez and Lu, while Grant got 3 victories from Brown and Maldonado.
The Broncos got 3 victories from Hartman, Meyer, Priola, Conway, Sakka (11-2) and Rasmussen.