Stubborn Stevenson repeats as North Suburban champ

 
By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/30/2016 8:33 PM
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  • Dylan Geick of Stevenson battles Patrick Schoenfelder of Antioch for the 152-pound title during the North Suburban Conference tournament finals at Wauconda. Schoenfelder won 3-2.

      Dylan Geick of Stevenson battles Patrick Schoenfelder of Antioch for the 152-pound title during the North Suburban Conference tournament finals at Wauconda. Schoenfelder won 3-2. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Alex Mitchell of Libertyville, left,  battles Dane Durlacher of Mundelein for the win at 106 pounds during the North Suburban Conference tournament in Wauconda on Saturday.

      Alex Mitchell of Libertyville, left, battles Dane Durlacher of Mundelein for the win at 106 pounds during the North Suburban Conference tournament in Wauconda on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Wauconda's Jose Munoz, left, battles Nathan Dlugopolski of Antioch at 126 pounds in the North Suburban Conference tournament finals in Wauconda on Saturday. Dlugopolski was the winner of the matchup.

      Wauconda's Jose Munoz, left, battles Nathan Dlugopolski of Antioch at 126 pounds in the North Suburban Conference tournament finals in Wauconda on Saturday. Dlugopolski was the winner of the matchup. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Wauconda's Jose Munoz is taken to the mat by Nathan Dlugopolski of Antioch in their 126-pound matchup on Saturday during the North Suburban Conference tournament finals at Wauconda.

      Wauconda's Jose Munoz is taken to the mat by Nathan Dlugopolski of Antioch in their 126-pound matchup on Saturday during the North Suburban Conference tournament finals at Wauconda. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Christian Kanzler of Grant prepares to throw Julian Albarran of Zion-Benton in their 132-pound bout during the North Suburban Conference tournament finals at Wauconda.

      Christian Kanzler of Grant prepares to throw Julian Albarran of Zion-Benton in their 132-pound bout during the North Suburban Conference tournament finals at Wauconda. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Grant's Cole Berg battles Will Johnson of Libertyville at 145 pounds during the North Suburban Conference tournament finals at Wauconda.

      Grant's Cole Berg battles Will Johnson of Libertyville at 145 pounds during the North Suburban Conference tournament finals at Wauconda. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Defending champion Stevenson entered the second day of the North Suburban Conference wrestling tournament in third place Saturday at Wauconda.

But the Patriots' refuse-to-lose attitude went a long way, as they built a commanding 30-point lead over Grant heading into the final round before capturing a second straight NSC championship.

Stevenson earned 192.5 points, to 169.5 over the runner-up Bulldogs.

Unlike all of the drama in last season's narrow half-point victory over Grant for its first NSC crown in school history, Stevenson showed the heart of a champion this time around with 11 different wrestlers finishing in the top six places.

Warren had a strong, third-place showing in the 14-team meet with 149.5 points while Antioch and its meet-high four champions nipped Libertyville 134 to 133.5 for fourth place. Lake Zurich (110.5) placed seventh.

The Pats' push for first place was led by 195-pound champion Michael Kordek (31-4), and 170-pound champ Nikita Nepomnyashchiy (30-4).

In a showdown between two No. 2-ranked wrestlers at 152, Class 2A Antioch standout Patrick Schoenfelder (38-2) edged Class 3A Stevenson standout Dylan Geick (33-3) 3-2 for the title.

The Patriots also got second-place finishes from Nick Grujanac at 285, and Robert Pavlovics at 160.

"We knew coming in here this morning we had to rise to the occasion, and they just refused to take no for an answer," said Stevenson coach Shane Cook. "With only two guys taking first and 11 guys placing, that showed it was truly a team effort."

Grant still put together an outstanding tourney with first-place finishes from elite individuals Christian Kanzler (32-2 at 132), Cole Berg (31-4 at 145), and Justin Gilich (26-6 at 160). The Bulldogs also got a second from Dylan Mannes at 138.

"Their guys (Stevenson) came through the wrestlebacks very tough and they won a lot of matches that were very important," said Grant coach Lenny Grodoski. "All three of them (Kanzler, Berg, and Gilich) won by a pretty good margin, and all three of them hope to be on the medal stand (downstate) in a few weeks."

Warren junior Grant Zamin (30-8) nipped Mannes 2-1 for the 138-pound crown while 285-pound teammate Sergio Sosa (25-7) pulled out a 3-1 overtime win against Grujanac for the Blue Devils' other title.

Warren got second-place finishes from J.T. VanderVere at 113, Andrew Demos at 170, and Zach Khoury at 195.

"I'm happy with taking third in conference, but I still think there is a lot of room for improvement overall," said Warren coach Jake Jobst. "What counts is next week (at regionals), and that is what really matters for everyone."

Besides Schoenfelder, Antioch got championships from Jake Gross (34-9) at 113, Nathan Dlugopolski (25-9) at 126, and George Bessette (25-5) at 195. Gross and Schoenfelder are now two-time NSC champs.

"It's not the way I wanted to win, I would like to have a few more takedowns, but it is what it is," said Schoenfelder, whose finals match was tied at 2-2 after two periods. "The key is just to stay healthy, stay in good condition and try to outwork everyone else."

Bessette's father, George, was a two-time state qualifier in the early 1980s.

The four titles made a memorable weekend for the Sequoits.

"It's a great thing, the kids are wrestling tough right now, and they did what they needed to do this week," said Antioch coach Wilbur Borrero. "Patrick (Schoenfelder) wants to be more dominant, when he doesn't wrestle to that level that is OK, and he needs his perfect match at state."

Libertyville 106-pounder Alex Mitchell (32-5) also became a two-time conference champ with his 3-1 decision over Mundelein's Dane Durlacher. Durlacher had pinned Mitchell in a meet at Mundelein on Jan. 14.

"I just knew that I had to come in here and score points and I can compete with anybody," Mitchell said. "It feels good to get another conference title and this gives me a little more confidence heading into regionals. But I know what I have to do."

The Wildcats got second-place finishes from Drew Onufer at 120 and Will Johnson at 145.

Mundelein's Cesar Obispo (28-4) beat top-seeded Josh Dyer 10-4 for first place at 220 while Wauconda got a second-place medal from Jose Munoz at 126.

Third-place finishers were Stevenson's Tommy Frezza (106), Grant's Spencer Welter (113), Grant's Adam Nixon (120), Stevenson's Eric Carter (132), Round Lake's Sergei Wawrzyniak (138), Libertyville's Jack Damenti (152), Mundelein's Kamil Olechno (160), Lake Zurich's Kyle Fleming (182), Vernon Hills' Connor Wood (195), Libertyville's Mike Beck (220), and Libertyville's Charlie Schmidt (285).

After missing the entire season due to a football injury, Lake Zurich 138-pounder Joey Stutzman (3-2) competed this weekend for the first time. Bears coach Dan Strickler held Stutzman out of his fifth-place match to help prepare him for regional competition next Saturday.

"I've been really happy with our young team, kids have had injuries and we've been fighting through them," said Strickler, whose team lost two wrestlers to injury default in the final round. "I think (Stutzman) will do well at regionals, but you can't get in shape for wrestling without actually competing."

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