Boys wrestling: Short-handed Elk Grove, Grayslake North hold their own at Notre Dame
Despite being short-handed, both Elk Grove and Grayslake North's wrestling teams had some pretty good success on the mat Saturday at the Notre Dame triangular meet in Niles.
The host Dons did have the upper hand in the double-dual encounter as Notre Dame (10-6) toppled Grayslake North 54-30 in the second round before defeating Elk Grove 33-17 in the final round to post a 2-0 record on the day.
The Grenadiers (11-8) opened the day with a 33-21 victory over the Knights in a meet that saw numerous forfeits by both teams due to injuries and sickness.
Elk Grove was wrestling without 220-pound senior standout Chance Guziec (22-5), who was under the weather. But the Grens did get two wins apiece from sophomore Grant Madl (22-4 at 113), senior Ty Macina (182), and senior Brady Tosterud (195).
"(Friday) night with our win over Wheeling, we took third in the MSL East which is the first time we've done that in at least 11 years," said Elk Grove coach Dan Vargas, whose team is gearing up for the MSL tournament next weekend at Buffalo Grove.
"Our conference meet looks pretty tough and hopefully it will get us ready for regionals. After a conference dual meet Friday it was nice to see teams you don't normally see today."
Grayslake North battled Notre Dame very tough early on as pins by Jacob Ronsman (138), and Connor Kozaneki (19-7 at 145) staked the Knights to a quick 12-0 advantage.
Then tied at 12-12, Grayslake North got pins from Frank Salcedo (17-5 at 132), and Peter Weitgenant (170) to go ahead 24-12.
That was followed by a very rare 5-point move by the Knights' Andy Fuentes (182), who got a reversal and a pin after almost being pinned himself to boost the lead to 30-12. But aided by numerous forfeit wins, the Dons coasted the rest of the way to the victory.
"We do a good job with the kids that we have, but we've been decimated with injuries and illness this season," said Grayslake North coach Collin McKillip, who hopes his squad will be close to full strength for the IHSA state series.
"I have 14 seniors on the team, and it shows that our kids like what we do and they enjoy the program."
McKillip said his program started the season with 45 wrestlers, but is now down to about 20 individuals in the room due to pandemic-driven issues.
Notre Dame has a couple of elite wrestlers on its team with No. 3-ranked Karl Schmalz (22-2 at 285), and ninth-ranked Aodan O'Sullivan (24-4 at 220) leading the way for the Dons.
"Both of them are contenders to place in Champaign and (Schmalz) just has to stay focused," said Notre Dame coach Augie Genovesi, who has 541 dual-meet wins now in his 44th season.
"The last two years has been kind of crazy with COVID, and wrestling last spring hurt a lot of programs."