Stevenson's preparation evident against Warren
Host Stevenson was ready for action when the Patriots met Warren in a North Suburban Conference wrestling showdown Friday night in Lincolnshire.
There was a raucous atmosphere in the Stevenson field house for the key dual meet, and the Patriots did not let their home crowd down as they had the upper hand against the Blue Devils with a 39-18 NSC victory.
With the win, No. 10-ranked Stevenson (16-1, 5-0) is almost assured of locking up its fourth straight NSC championship as the Patriots will be heavy favorites in their final two dual meets against Waukegan and Lake Forest.
Starting at 182 pounds, Stevenson wasted little time getting an early 4-0 lead against Warren (5-1 in NSC) as Dan Ganzman captured a 10-2 major decision over Logan Haar to open the meet.
Then came a pin in 3:30 by 195-pounder Max Gomez, and the Pats were on their way with a quick 10-0 advantage.
The Blue Devils did hang tough in the early stages of the meet as 220-pound junior Christian Goeden got a takedown with less than 10 seconds left in the third period to capture an exciting 6-4 decision over sophomore Ean Norenberg.
But that momentum was short-lived as Stevenson 285-pounder Anand Batbaatar recorded a pin in 2:50 to extend the lead to 16-3 early on.
Warren 106-pounder Sawyer Nash posted a 16-6 major decision over Randy Lu. But then a huge pin in 1:09 by Stevenson 113-pounder Yoni Leibovitz boosted the lead to 22-7.
No. 6-ranked 120-pounder Tommy Frezza (23-3) followed up that pin with a 9-0 major decision and the Blue Devils were facing an imposing 26-7 deficit halfway through the meet.
"I think we were overall solid, and we just have good all-around wrestlers," said Frezza, whose team is hoping to capture the elusive regional title and more later this winter. "I think we have a good chance to qualify for state, and bonus points will be the key to help us qualify."
Bonus points were the name of the game for Warren 126-pound freshman Joel VanderVere as he earned a pretty quick technical fall in just 3:02.
But the Patriots' experience and depth proved to be too much as 132-pounder Matthew Zimring won a 6-0 decision over Gino Ortiz before 138-pound senior teammate Michael Karp added a 15-7 major decision for an even larger 33-12 lead.
"We knew this was going to be a tough meet, and they did the basics a little better than we did," said first-year Warren coach Brad Janecek. "They came out a little more ahead, but this helps us learn a lot as we focus on regionals, sectionals, and state."
Warren senior Kelvin Cupay posted an 8-5 decision over Jake Simon in a competitive bout at 145 before Stevenson senior Muzi Sitshela earned a 12-5 decision over feisty Warren freshman Isaiah Parker in a pretty wild match.
Warren senior Jariston Clarke added a 4-1 decision over Ahmeer Dinkins at 160 before Stevenson 170-pounder Ivor Guerguiev closed out the meet with an 11-4 decision over Noah Hergenrader.
"We knew that Warren was a very competitive team and they have some weapons," said Stevenson coach Shane Cook, whose team will wrestle in the Lake County meet next weekend at Antioch. "We're proud of the way our guys rose to the occasion. Dan Ganzman led off the meet as one of our seniors with big wins, and three of our seniors came through with three big wins."