Libertyville grabs third at Barrington
There was some great action to open the 2018-19 wrestling season Saturday at the 28th annual Moore/Prettyman Invitational in Barrington.
Marmion Academy was the class of the 27-team tournament with a first-place score of 260 points, as the Cadets easily toppled runner-up Lockport (213.5 points).
Libertyville had a great showing in its first big meet of the season with a third-place score of 159.5 points, while North Suburban Conference rival Stevenson (146 points) also had a good weekend in fifth place.
Grant had some ups and downs in the rugged meet, but the Bulldogs still came away with a solid ninth-place finish.
Libertyville's troops were led by junior Danny Pucino (5-0), who captured the 132-pound title with a 3-2 decision over Marmion senior Nathan Callaway in a defensive struggle. Pucino finished third in Class 3A last year.
"Callaway is a good wrestler," said Pucino, ho won 8-3 in the semifinals. "We both locked up a little bit on offense, and I want to start dominating more than just winning. I'm happy I won it. I've never been in the finals here, but I could have scored more points."
After Pucino's first-place finish at 132, Libertyville senior Michael Gunther (5-0) put together a great performance in his 138-pound final as he captured the championship with a 7-1 decision over Prospect's Andrew Baysingar. Gunther just missed reaching the medal-round at state last year.
"I felt good about that (finals) match," said Gunther, who won his semifinals bout 6-3. "I felt good throughout the whole tournament, so I have no complaints. I want to be a state champ. I have to stay on my offense, and I feel I have a great chance of winning it."
Libertyville coach Dale Eggert couldn't have been happier with his top individuals. The Wildcats, who host Stevenson in a showdown Friday night, also got a second from senior Ryan Damenti at 195.
"To get in the finals in this tournament is huge, and it's quite an honor for them," Eggert said. "We're a lot better tournament team than a dual-meet team based on our individual strength, and I think we'll do well in the Lake County meet (later this season)."
Libertyville also got a fourth from Brandon Murphy at 126 and sixths from Caelan Riley (106), Alec Goodman (145) and Chase Baczek (160).
Stevenson senior Max Gomez got revenge over Yorkville's Ben Stemmet, as Gomez recorded a pin in 3:59 for the crown at 220. Stemmet had beaten Gomez at state last year.
Stevenson two-time state qualifier Tommy Frezza pulled out a 2-0 decision for third place at 120, while freshman teammate Cole Rhemrev placed fourth at 106. The Patriots also got an eighth from Ivor Gueorguiev at 152.
"Obviously the Barrington tournament is an important competition on our schedule, and the sectional tournament is held here," Stevenson coach Shane Cook said. "We've got a lot of young guys so walking out of here we know there are still a lot of things we need to work on."
Grant 2018 state qualifier Justin Brown posted a 19-6 major decision over Stevenson's Matt Millman at 182 to take home third place. The Bulldogs got fifths from freshman Justin Warmowski (113) and Ethan Geist (152) along with a sixth from Zach Hitzler (132) and an eighth from Kyle Rainey (170).
"A lot of our guys improved from last year in their placing, and we're really excited about our team this year," Grant coach Lenny Grodoski said. "(Brown) has done really well. He works hard and, more importantly, he's competitive so he's in every match."