Round Lake nips short-handed Wauconda
Host Round Lake was fired up for its Senior Night against Wauconda, but it turned out to be quite a struggle for the Panthers in a Northern Lake County Conference wrestling meet.
Starting the dual meet at 120 pounds the Panthers built a 26-12 advantage after eight matches. But three straight pins by the Bulldogs at the upper weights gave Wauconda a 30-26 edge with three bouts left.
But the Bulldogs were snake-bitten by forfeits as forfeit wins by Round Lake 285-pounder Erik Tellez and 106-pound teammate Ahad Aziz sealed a narrow 38-36 NLCC victory for the Panthers Thursday night.
Round Lake (13-13, 2-4) got on the scoreboard first when 120-pound senior Jonathon Cermano pinned his opponent in 3:45 for a quick 6-0 lead.
Round Lake's Alex Ros followed up that win with a 6-1 decision over Christian Rosalio at 126, but Wauconda sophomore standout Colin Husko (23-4) recorded a pin at 132 to cut the lead to 9-6.
Then the Bulldogs (1-5 in NLCC) deadlocked the score at 9-9 when 138-pounder Vince Bennett posted a 7-1 decision over James Bills.
Round Lake 145-pound senior Ender Kongkaeow (27-4) captured an impressive technical fall in 4:19 before 152-pound senior teammate Dominic Tovar (19-9) got a pin in 3:51 to make the score 20-9.
Then in a wild match, Wauconda's Erick Ramirez outlasted exhausted Round Lake 160-pounder Jason Wooten 9-8 to cut the gap to 20-12. The Ramirez-Wooten match was tied 7-7 after two periods.
But that momentum did not last long at all for the Bulldogs as Round Lake sophomore Aiden McCain got a pin in 1:48 to give the Panthers a 14-point lead.
"The seniors came through with Ender getting a technical fall at 145, and Cermano getting a big pin at 120," said Round Lake coach Mike Hruska, whose team will compete at the powerful Lake County meet this weekend in Antioch. "McCain's pin was huge at the time, and he's a sophomore with 19 wins. And Tovar's pin was awesome because he was going to cut that guy before he went for the pin."
The Bulldogs' huge comeback attempt was ignited by pins from Hunter Thompson at 182, Matt Merevick at 195, and McGwire Landvick at 220 as Wauconda suddenly took the 30-26 lead with three matches remaining.
"It's kind of been the story of our year not being able to fill out the lineup, but the guys fought back late to make it a good dual meet after getting down early," said Wauconda coach Mike Buhr, whose team will also compete this weekend at Antioch. "We're looking forward to the county meet, we've got some guys who are seeded pretty well, and they want to make some noise."
After the forfeit wins for Round Lake at 285 and 106, Wauconda 113-pounder Jack Sullivan (18-12, 2019 state qualifier) got a pin in 1:33 to account for the final score as the Bulldogs fell just short of the team victory.
Both teams still have one more NLCC meet to close out the regular season next week before the IHSA state series gets under way in two weeks with the regional meets.
"The Lake County tournament is a great tournament," added Hruska, whose team will compete in Class 3A when the state series rolls around. "I like it (the Lake County tourney) because of the toughness, and we're looking forward to it."