Stevenson pulls away from Lake Zurich
Getting off to a strong start didn't end up paying off too much in the end as visiting Lake Zurich challenged Stevenson in North Suburban Conference wrestling action Friday night.
Starting at 113 pounds, the Bears got a pin from senior Ian McGee to start the dual meet. And while Lake Zurich (6-3, 1-1) hung tough with the Patriots for about the first half of the meet, Stevenson (4-2, 1-1) wound up pouring it on in the latter stages for a comfortable 52-16 NSC victory.
Stevenson 120-pounder Yoni Leibovitz got a pin in 4:26 to deadlock the score at 6-6 before all-state teammate Tommy Frezza posted an 11-4 decision over Justin Wollard at 126 to give the Pats an early 10-9 lead.
Lake Zurich 132-pounder Jason Wollard captured an 11-3 major decision over freshman Aiden Rutnerak to give the Bears the lead back at 10-9. But Stevenson 138-pounder Ryan Allen responded with a pin in 3:39 to give the Patriots the lead for keeps at 15-10.
Lake Zurich still stayed close at the middle weights with 145-pounder Cristian Gavriluti's 8-2 decision over Kei Yamato cutting the gap to just 15-13.
But then came a devastating blow to the Bears' chances as Stevenson 152-pounder Jason Bickers recorded a pin in 5:35 after trailing John Clancy 9-4 just moments earlier in that match. So what could have been a 16-15 Lake Zurich lead turned into a 21-13 Patriots advantage.
Injuries also played a huge role in this meet as Stevenson's Ari Guzman (160) picked up the first of three forfeit victories to boost the lead to 27-13 at that point.
"I'm very happy with the way we came out and competed, but we gave up three forfeits at the varsity level so the dual meet was a lot closer than the score showed," said Lake Zurich coach Jake Jobst. "We have to improve with some of our inexperienced guys not giving up bonus points, and we have guys out for various different reasons."
Lake Zurich's Joey Mrazek defeated Ivor Gueorguiev 9-3 at 170 to keep the Bears in striking distance at 27-16.
But then came another huge win for Stevenson at 182 as Alex Scott pulled out an exciting 12-11 decision over Marek Enters, who almost recorded a pin in the first period while leading the entire bout.
"We had some guys really step up and come through who were losing bouts, and they came back with third-period wins," said Stevenson coach Shane Cook, whose team is at the Wheeling triple-dual meet Saturday. "Both (Bickers and Scott) were losing by five points in the first period and they came back and won."
The Pats really turned on the jets in the end with a forfeit win by Joe Hooge (195), a pin by 2018 state qualifier Max Gomez (220), a forfeit win by Dan Erdenetsogt (285), and a 14-3 major decision by freshman Cole Rhemrev (106) accounting for the final score.
"Frezza and Gomez are tough as nails," added Jobst, whose team is at the Buffalo Grove Invite Saturday. "So it's hard to compete with them, and Stevenson's program is always tough to beat."