Historic Moore/Prettyman triumph for Libertyville

 
By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/25/2017 8:26 PM

Libertyville couldn't have asked for a better start to its wrestling season than the one the Wildcats got Saturday night at the 27th Annual Moore/Prettyman Invitational in Barrington.

After a great round on Friday night that featured a 6-for-6 effort in the quarterfinals, Libertyville put the finishing touches on its great weekend by holding off the host Broncos 173-167 to win the meet for the first time in school history.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Yorkville held off defending state champion Lockport 165-160.5 for the third-place plaque while Stevenson rounded out the top 10 squads in the huge 28-team field with 117 points. Grant placed 14th with 95.5 points.

Libertyville's push for the championship was led by junior Michael Gunther (5-0), who defeated Hononegah junior Giovanni Cassioppi 2-1 for the 138-pound crown.

"I feel I did great on bottom until the final match, but a win is a win," said Gunther, who thinks his team has gained some confidence from the strong performance. "I think it kind of just proves what everyone in the room kind of thought. And my goal for the team is to bring home a state trophy, and I think everyone is on board with that."

Libertyville 285-pounder Charlie Schmidt took runner up honors while sophomore teammate Danny Pucino placed third at 132 with a 13-5 major decision over Wheaton North's Jaime Suarez.

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The Wildcats got fourth-place finishes from Brandon Murphy (120), and Deerfield transfer student Matt Templeton (126), who like Pucino was a 2017 state-meet qualifier. Libertyville's Tyler Padilla recorded a pin for fifth place at 152.

Libertyville coach Dale Eggert knew his team could do very well in the tournament, but to take home first place was quite a shocker.

"It's an unexpected thrill, our team is kind of designed for big tournaments, and we've got some big hammers," said Eggert, whose team took runner-up honors at Barrington in 2013. "On his feet he (Gunther) was all over that guy, and that was as impressive a 2-1 win as you can have."

Stevenson was led by 120-pound junior Tommy Frezza, who placed second at 120, and 285-pound teammate Anand Batbaatar, who placed fifth at 285.

But the Patriots showed the signs of major losses to graduation, including four state qualifiers, two who were state medalists.

"Overall we're pleased to be able to come in and finish in the top 10, and we have eight wrestlers who placed in the top eight and for many of them it's the first varsity tournament of their career," said Stevenson coach Shane Cook. "We graduated a really good senior class -- obviously it was a very special group. But this group learned a lot from those guys and they have a lot of potential."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Grant junior Alex Paz took fifth place at 120 to lead the Bulldogs while teammates Sam Maldonado (138) and Tucker Rogan (126) both placed sixth.

"We have a lot of young guys in our lineup and I think this tournament is tougher than it's ever been today," said Grant coach Lenny Grodoski. "We have a lot of points of emphasis that we have to take back to the room, but we're happy with the group we had here."

Lake Zurich had numerous wrestlers still out of its lineup as the Bears were playing for the Class 7A state football title Saturday night against Batavia.

Josh Goldberg was Lake Zurich's top finisher with an eighth at 170.

"We expect to get eight to 10 kids back after the football season is over and this tournament is a difficult one when you are forfeiting five weight classes," said Lake Zurich coach Jake Jobst, who replaced long-time coach Dan Strickler this season. "By the end of the season he (Goldberg) should beat some guys he lost to in this tournament."

Sophomore Dylan Rinkenberger added a seventh for Grant at 132 while teammate Spencer Welter edged Stevenson's Jake Simon (8-6) for seventh place at 145.

Stevenson teammates Max Gomez (195), and Muzi Sitshela (152) both placed sixth while Grant's Kaleb Perzigian placed seventh at 220. Stevenson's Matt Meyer placed eighth at 285 as did Grant's Chris Lozos at 106, and Stevenson's Yoni Leibovitz at 113.

At Antioch: Chesterton (Ind.) won the championship of the powerful 16-team Ted DeRousse Invitational by a comfortable 340.5 to 294 margin over runner-up squad Deerfield.

The host Sequoits took third place with 253.5 points followed by Wheeling (238.5) in fourth, Lakes (217) in fifth, and Mundelein (215) in sixth.

Mundelein teammates Dane Durlacher (113), Reese Durlacher (126), and D.J. Preston (182) all took home first-place medals as did Grayslake Central junior Alex Cramer at 170 pounds.

Second-place finishers were Antioch's Elijah Reyes (132), Grayslake Central's Austin Connelly (152), and Lakes' Jack Brunati (220).

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