Stevenson rallies to win Lake County title
Trailing rival Libertyville by 10 points heading into the final round, Stevenson knew it still had a chance to win the championship of the 2022 Lake County Wrestling Invitational Saturday afternoon at Wauconda.
And with a fantastic finish, the Patriots did exactly that as they went 4-for-4 in their finals matches to take home first place by a 196-189 margin over the runner-up Wildcats.
After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, it was Stevenson's fourth Lake County title in five tournaments, while Libertyville has now taken second place in the county the past five times the tourney has been held.
Lorenzo Frezza (126 pounds, 29-1) got the Patriots' late surge going with a pin in the finals before teammates Cole Rhemrev (30-0 at 138), Thomas Schoolman (29-5 at 145), and Jacob Whiting (28-4 at 195) also captured first places to carry Stevenson to the team title.
Indiana-University bound Rhemrev beat Lake Zurich's Scott Busse 3-1 in a hard-fought battle to the finish.
"I wrestle (Busse) every day in the offseason, we know each other really well, and this is just one of many matches against Scott," said Rhemrev, who was named the outstanding wrestler of the tourney.
"I've been feeling good these past few weeks, and I have to wrestle all six minutes of the match."
Stevenson coach Shane Cook couldn't have been happier following his team's late-meet comeback victory Saturday.
"We're thrilled over a two-day tournament like this with the level of competition we have in Lake County," said Cook. "Our kids really stepped up in the final round, and we were four for four in the finals to be able to accomplish this."
The Wildcats had six wrestlers reach the championship bout with The Citadel-bound Caelan Riley (28-3 at 120), and Josh Knudten (28-3 at 182) taking first place. Knudten posted a 6-3 decision over previously undefeated Grayslake Central sophomore Matty Jens (37-1), who is ranked No. 1 in Class 2A.
"(Stevenson) had a really nice final round," said Libertyville coach Dale Eggert. "That Grayslake kid (Jens) can really put some pace on, and you know I would say that's what Josh Knudten needed. He got a nice 4-pointer right away to give him some breathing room, but the rest of the match he was fighting off a tiger."
Antioch got a pin from Evan Vazquez (22-3) for first at 152 while teammates Edgar Albino (31-1 at 120), Anthony Streib (132), and Ben Vazquez (145) all took second place.
"When all is said and done we came here to test our kids," said Antioch coach Wilbur Borrero. "And we want to see these kids challenged right now two weeks before the regionals."
Coming off injury, Grant's Justin Warmowski (9-2 at 160) posted a 12-4 major decision over Libertyville's Matt Kubas for first place while Wauconda's Matt Merevick posted a 6-4 decision over Grant's Cameron Lattimore for the crown at 220.
Mundelein junior Bryce Durlacher (30-1) edged Round Lake's Alejandro Cordova 1-0 for the title at 113 while the Mustangs got seconds from Benji Albavera at 126, and Isaiah Robles at 152.
"We're excited to see where (Durlacher) goes this year after getting the injury bug his freshman and sophomore years," said Mundelein coach Craig Stocker. "We're a very senior-heavy group of kids who have put a lot of time in so to have eight of our 11 guys going for a medal, we're happy with that."
Grayslake Central's Anthony Alanis (35-4 at 106), and Aaron Cramer (37-1 at 170) won titles for the Rams.
"(Alanis) is just always looking for the better competition to get ready for the end of the year run," said Grayslake Central coach Matt Joseph. "(Jens) beat the No. 1 kid in the state (Crystal Lake South's Shane Moran) 5-2 in a dual meet two weeks ago."
Other second-place finishers were Lake Zurich's Luca Poeta (106), Libertyville's Austin Gomez (170), Libertyville's Cole Matulenko (195), and Libertyville's Caleb Christensen (285),