Carmel, Lake Zurich shine at mega duals
It was a great day for the Carmel Catholic and Lake Zurich wrestling teams Saturday as the Corsairs hosted the mega-dual meets in Mundelein.
The Bears (12-6), and Carmel (9-9) both went a perfect 3-0 on the day as the Corsairs dedicated the meet to the memory of former wrestler Matt Braun, who graduated in 2014.
Starting the grueling competition at 132 pounds, Lake Zurich opened the morning with a 51-28 victory over Grayslake North (10-13) while the Corsairs were posting a 51-30 win over Highland Park in the first round.
Carmel added a 41-32 victory over the Knights in the second round while the Bears scored the final 17 points to beat Glenbrook South 43-30. Then in the final round, the Corsairs rolled past Palatine 48-17 while Lake Zurich overwhelmed Highland Park 49-16.
The Pirates opened their day with a 51-22 loss to Glenbrook South before dropping a narrow 30-28 loss to the Giants in round two. Grayslake North overcame a 28-15 deficit to close out its day with a 37-34 win over the Titans.
After winning the state title last year with an undefeated 41-0 record, Carmel senior Riley Palm (21-3) is getting back to 100 percent healthy after missing two weeks of the season due to diabetic-related problems which began at the Glenbrook South tourney in late December.
Palm picked up three wins Saturday as did teammates Tommy Hoy (26-0 at 160), Vince Swindell (22-5 at 138), Jonathan Lopez (21-4 at 195), and Yovaniel Garcia (182). Carmel's Isaiah Lopez went 2-0 at 120.
"The three losses were my fault and so far, since I've been back, I pinned every kid in the first period," said Palm, who will wrestle for the University of Buffalo next year. "I got my new monitor, everything is getting back to where it was last year, I'm more comfortable, and I honestly believe nobody can stop me if my blood sugar is healthy."
Former Carmel wrestler Braun died suddenly at work this fall of possible heart-related problems, and Carmel coach Bob Kuykendall had nothing but the highest praise for him and his family.
"We dedicated the meet for him, and we let his parents know that we will never forget him," said Kuykendall. "We put his initials on our new uniforms, he was a good wrestler and just an all-around great guy. You couldn't ask for a better kid."
Lake Zurich was led by Ian McGee (27-1 at 113), Joey Mrazek (29-4 at 170), Marek Enters (182), Justin Wollard (126), Jason Wollard (132), Logan Neurauter (120), and Mitch Wayne (106) with three wins each.
"We're starting to wrestle tough and wrestle as a team, and we're starting to gear up for the Lake County meet next week," said Lake Zurich coach Jake Jobst. "Our top guys want to see where we stand with everyone else, and it's a good tournament with a lot of depth at some weight classes."
Grayslake North was led by 2018 state qualifier Adam Blonski (27-6 at 152), and teammate Nick Kozanecki (132) with three wins apiece.
Pins by Armen Jerikian (113) and Frankie Salcedo (120) cut the Titans' lead to 28-27 before a major decision by Jake Jozwiak (126), and a pin by Kozanecki clinched the Knights' comeback win over Glenbrook South.
"We came through in the last meet, I thought we could have competed better against Lake Zurich, but we didn't have enough firepower against Carmel," said Grayslake North coach Collin McKillip. "We're looking forward to the Lake County meet, it should be a good test for us."
Palatine was led by 220-pounder Gio Jackson (20-2) with three wins while teammate Konnor Del Mar won three matches at 152.
"Jackson was going to go down to 195, but he's a little more comfortable at 220," said Palatine coach Chris Winter. "We forfeited four weights so we're trying to get these guys healthy for conference and regionals. But we're a really young and green team."