Wrestling: Deerfield edges out short-handed Stevenson
Host Stevenson gave it the old college try, but unfortunately for the Patriots they fell just short of the mark Saturday at their own Class 3A wrestling regional.
In the end, being without its full lineup proved to spell trouble for Stevenson as a very strong Deerfield squad held off a late comeback attempt by the Patriots to capture the regional championship, 184.5 to 177.5.
Libertyville looked very good with a third-place score of 149.5 points; the Wildcats will be sending eight wrestlers to the individual sectional at Barrington next weekend.
Warren placed fifth with 106 points followed by Mundelein (87 points) in sixth. Deerfield advances to the team sectional on Feb. 24.
Stevenson actually led Deerfield 157.5-149 entering the final round as individuals battled it out for one of the top three places in each weight class for a berth to sectionals.
But that final round proved to be much better one for the Warriors, as they led 181.5 to 161.5 after 170, and 181.5 to 171.5 after 182. Deerfield wound up clinching the team title with a decision at 220 as the Warriors sent 10 wrestlers to sectionals. Stevenson will send seven.
Not having injured 170-pounder Juwon Anderson in the lineup was a real setback for the Pats. Anderson won the North Suburban Conference title last weekend. The Patriots were also without No. 2-seeded 113-pounder Brandon Zisman, who didn't make weight.
"Deerfield is a quality team and they wrestled really well today, and we cut it to within 7 points being down two starters," said disappointed Stevenson coach Shane Cook, whose team was trying to win the only other regional crown in school history other than 2008. "We were just going to compete as much as we could and our guys gave it their all, but we just came up a little short."
There were still quite a few bright spots in the Patriots' lineup as senior Tyler Harrington (33-2) won the 182-pound title with a 15-5 major decision over Warren's Rakheem Chapman.
Stevenson also got a championship from 285-pounder Nick Grujanac (26-7), who pinned Libertyville's Mike Beck in 5:44.
Nathan Reinsdorf (132), Evan Rodriguez (138), and Corey Weil (145) took runner-up honors for the Pats while teammates Eric Carter (120) and Zach Horwitz (195) advanced with third-place finishes.
The Wildcats had a really strong performance with No. 2-ranked Joey Gunther (30-1) capturing the 160-pound title with a 9-4 decision over Deerfield's Sage Heller (40-2).
"I thought I wrestled well today, I got two pins, and in the last match I beat a kid who is ranked sixth," said Gunther, who captured a sectional crown and placed sixth in the state as a junior. "I just have to stay on the offense and be very aggressive the whole time. I'm going to be very confident throughout the next two weeks."
Libertyville senior Mark Dunsing (32-6) also kept rolling as he won a 1-0 decision in a defensive struggle with Mundelein's Cesar Obispo for first place at 220.
The Wildcats got second-place finishes from Alex Mitchell at 106, Dan Schilling at 126, Jordan McInerney at 195, and Beck at 285. Libertyville's Will Johnson (138), and Sal Potts (152) advanced to sectionals with third-place medals.
"We had a very good semifinal round, and a bunch of upperclassmen were looking to finish with a bang," said Libertyville coach Dale Eggert. "Joey (Gunther) had a fantastic match against a really solid opponent (Heller), and Mark (Dunsing) did what he had to do to win."
Warren's Zach Khoury brought home a first-place medal with his 6-4 decision over McInerney at 195. The Blue Devils got second-place finishes from 170-pounder Andrew Demos, and Chapman while sophomore teammate Richard Howard also advanced with his pin over Stevenson's Alec Nolan in the third-place bout at 113.
"We had some opportunities that we just kind of let slip away so I feel bad for some of our seniors because it didn't work out today," said Warren coach Jim Ouimette. "Zach (Khoury) is looking good, he's in a pretty tough sectional at his weight, but he's wrestling really well right now."
Mundelein got a first-place finish from 120-pounder Alec Riportella (26-3), but 152-pound teammate Brae Cruz had to settle for second place after dropping a heart-breaking 14-13 decision in his title match.
The Mustangs also got second-place medals from Marco Rosales (113) and Obispo while Ricky Lopez took third at 285 with an unconventional pin over Lake Forest's John Bang in 4:20.
"It was a good day for us and it was a very good accomplishment to get five guys to advance," said Mundelein coach Vinny Jiuditta. "Alec (Riportella) did all the little things right. Last week he got caught, and today he went for it and he earned it today."