Grayslake North's Arroyo passes tough test at Barrington

 
By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/26/2016 7:05 PM
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  • Grayslake North's Joe Arroyo takes down Enzo Silva of Plainfield South for a semifinal victory at 113 pounds during the 26th Annual Moore/Prettyman Wrestling Invitational at Barrington on Saturday.

      Grayslake North's Joe Arroyo takes down Enzo Silva of Plainfield South for a semifinal victory at 113 pounds during the 26th Annual Moore/Prettyman Wrestling Invitational at Barrington on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Dylan Geick battles Barrington's Daniel Rassmussen in the 160-pound semifinals during the 26th Annual Moore-Prettyman Wrestling Invitational at Barrington on Saturday.

      Stevenson's Dylan Geick battles Barrington's Daniel Rassmussen in the 160-pound semifinals during the 26th Annual Moore-Prettyman Wrestling Invitational at Barrington on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Burlington Central's Austin Macias handles Drew Onufer of Libertyville at 120 pounds during the semifinals of the 26th Annual Moore/Prettyman Wrestling Invitational at Barrington on Saturday.

      Burlington Central's Austin Macias handles Drew Onufer of Libertyville at 120 pounds during the semifinals of the 26th Annual Moore/Prettyman Wrestling Invitational at Barrington on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington's Jaritt Shinhoster drives against Libertyville's Michael Gunther in the 132-pound semifinals  during the 26th Annual Moore/Prettyman Wrestling Invitational at Barrington on Saturday.

      Barrington's Jaritt Shinhoster drives against Libertyville's Michael Gunther in the 132-pound semifinals during the 26th Annual Moore/Prettyman Wrestling Invitational at Barrington on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

There were a lot of major challenges for Lake County's wrestlers Saturday afternoon in the final round of the 26th Annual Moore/Prettyman Invitational in Barrington.

Marmion Academy proved to be the class of the huge 27-team field in this powerful meet with a winning score of 218.5 points while the host Broncos were second with 182. Stevenson wound up placing fifth with 162.5 points while Libertyville (126.5) had a solid eight-place showing.

The Patriots were unable to come away with any individual champions, but they did manage to get runner-up performances from sophomore Tommy Frezza at 113 and Dylan Geick at 160.

Grayslake North senior Joe Arroyo (13-0) rolled to an impressive 13-0 major decision over Frezza in an all-Lake County area championship match at 113 pounds.

Arroyo, a two-time state qualifier, reached the first-place bout with a hard-fought 3-1 decision over Plainfield South's Enzo Silva in the semifinals.

"I trained all summer for this, this was one of my big goals to win this tournament, and I finally did it," said Arroyo, who has reached the state meet in both Class 2A and Class 3A. "I think I can win state, that is my goal. I've got to be able to wrestle hard for the whole six minutes and then wrestle my match."

In addition to Arroyo bringing home the crown for the Knights, 160-pound senior teammate Alex Moran added a fifth-place finish for Grayslake North. Moran was able to record a pin against Hinsdale Central's Luke Skokna with just eight seconds remaining in the third period.

Grayslake North coach Collin McKillip is optimistic that Arroyo and Moran can help lead the Knights to an outstanding season as they embark on their new Northern Lake County Conference schedule this winter.

"He (Arroyo) did a really nice job, these were his first matches of the year in this tournament, and he really responded," said McKillip, whose team will be moving back to the Class 2A state tournament this season based on school enrollment. "Moran is still just trying to figure it out totally, and he just needs to put back-to-back matches together."

Stevenson also got a fourth-place finish from 145-pound senior Eric Carter, who dropped a tough 5-3 decision to Wheaton North's Duncan Nelson in the final round.

Stevenson senior Nikita Nepomnyashchiy (170 pounds) had to drop out of this fifth-place finals match due to injury default, as did sophomore teammate Max Gomez at 195. But senior teammate Robert Pavlovics rolled to third place with a 14-4 major decision at 182, and Brandon Zisman placed eighth for the Pats at 138.

Geick (fourth in 2016) had defeated Wheaton North's Devin Donovan (sixth in 2016) in a dual meet on Wednesday. But this time around Donovan pulled out a 7-3 decision with a strong third-period performance to take the title.

"It was a great battle between two kids that were both state medalists last year, but we realize we've got some things we need to work on," said Stevenson coach Shane Cook. "Tommy (Frezza) wrestled a great tournament, he ran into a really quality kid in the finals, and he (Arroyo) had a little more experience in those big matches."

Libertyville was well represented with seven individuals in the final round, including freshman standout Danny Pucino, who rolled to a 12-1 major decision over Joliet West senior Jaleel Hollingsworth for third place at 126.

The Wildcats also got a fourth-place finish from sophomore Michael Gunther, who lost a tough 8-3 overtime decision to Burlington Central's Nick Termini at 132.

Libertyville also got fifth-place finishes from Jack Damenti at 145 and Charlie Schmidt at 285. The Wildcats got a sixth from senior Drew Onufer at 120 and sevenths from Brandon Murphy (113), and Tyler Padilla (152), who pinned his opponent in 2:21.

"He (Pucino) won 12-1 against a very fine wrestler, who was a finalist here last year so that was quite impressive," said Libertyville coach Dale Eggert. "It was a tough loss (for Gunther), he was right there. It appeared he was going to get that takedown so it was unfortunate, I thought it was his."

Lake Zurich was led by 220-pound runner-up Josh Dyer, 195-pounder Kyle Fleming (third at 195), and Maxx Wayne (sixth at 126).

"I love this tournament because it gives you a heads up on what you have to do for the rest of the season," said Lake Zurich coach Dan Strickler. "Josh (Dyer) just always has it in his head that he's going to win the match, and Kyle (Fleming) is just an athletic, competitive kid."

Grant got a fifth from Alex Paz at 106, a sixth from Jacob Melton at 152, and an eighth from Spencer Welter at 126.

"We've got a lot of room to grown, and for a lot of our young guys it was their first big varsity tournament," said Grant coach Lenny Grodoski. "Paz wrestled well, he's a sophomore and he's coming into his own so I think it was a good start to the season for him."

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