Antioch roars back to beat Grant
It had been a long time since Antioch had beaten Grant in wrestling, and the visiting Sequoits trailed the Bulldogs 24-8 more than halfway through their Northern Lake County Conference meet Thursday night in Fox Lake.
But No. 4 ranked Antioch really came of age in this wild dual meet as the Sequoits proceeded to win the final six matches of the night en route to an exciting 38-24 victory in what was a raucous atmosphere in the Grant gymnasium.
The Bulldogs (4-7, 2-1) got a forfeit win from Jack Lunardi at 132 pounds to start the meet before the Sequoits responded with major decisions from Danny McPherson (24-3) at 138 and Eli Reyes (15-2) at 145 to take a brief 8-6 lead. McPherson placed fifth in the state last year.
Then Grant rolled off five straight wins starting with 152-pounder Dylan Rinkenberger's 3-2 decision over Devin Nobiling and Eddy Tregenza's 7-2 decision over Gavin Calabrese at 160.
A pin in just 33 seconds by Brett Riggs at 170 was followed by teammate Ethan Geist's 6-3 decision over Chad Cowart at 182 before Alex Gomez held off Antioch's Briar Russell 2-1 at 195 to build the lead to 16 points with six matches left.
But the Sequoits (11-0, 2-0) dominated the rest of the way as Niall Schoenfelder (26-1) pinned No. 4-ranked Justin Brown in 55 seconds to get the momentum going in Antioch's direction.
"We don't really have any excuses for the way we performed. They had a lot of kids step up, and Schoenfelder and their heavyweight getting pins was huge," said Grant coach Lenny Grodoski. "I thought we wrestled not to our capability, and we need to learn from this."
Antioch 285-pounder Max Ness recorded a pin in 3:27 before 106-pound teammate Caleb Nobiling's pin in only 25 seconds gave the Sequoits the lead for keeps at 26-24.
Anthony Streib added a 5-3 decision over Grant's Nolan Florez at 113 before 120-pounder Alex Barbarise (27-1) got a pin in 1:49 to seal the team win with a 35-24 lead with one match left.
It was the first time Antioch coach Wilbur Borrero's team had beaten Grant dating back to his first season as head coach in 2003-04.
"We kind of knew where their strengths were at, but our kids wrestled them tough only giving up one pin," said Borrero, whose team is poised to make the Class 2A Elite Eight meet for the sixth time since 2010 behind six wrestlers with state meet experience.
"Overall it was a good dual meet, but it's one small goal, and we've got bigger things to look at. It's a good win for our kids, and our kids have been working hard."
Antioch's Drew Lehn closed out the meet with an 11-4 decision over Chris Lozos at 126 to account for the final score.
"It was the first time in a long time we've beaten Grant, but I have a lot of faith in all of our guys," said Barbarise, who has placed sixth in the state the past two years. "That was a big win for him (Schoenfelder), he's a great wrestler, and he puts everything into the sport."