Scouting the 2021-22 season in Lake County
North Suburban Conference
Lake ZurichCoach: Jake Jobst (fifth season)
Last season's record: 11-7 overall, 4-3 in NSC
Top returning athletes: Scott Busse (Jr., 145), Alex Kahler (So., 113), Dan Hull (Sr., 182), Matt Luby (Jr., 182), Ethan Medina (Sr., 195), Tomas Troutman (Sr., 145)
Top new athletes: Luca Poeta (Fr., 106), Michael Feldman (Jr., 170), Nolan Schuetz (Jr., 160), Gent Varfi (Jr., 152), Aiden Foley (Jr., 160)
Outlook: After putting together a solid pandemic-shortened season in early 2021, the Bears are poised to reach much greater heights in 2022 with a solid nucleus of returning wrestlers back in the fold for coach Jobst. Lake Zurich will still have to overcome some potential depth problems in its lineup with some newcomers needing to step into much bigger roles at the varsity level. But if all goes as planned, the Bears could make a lot of noise if they develop as planned by late in the season and as they enter the IHSA state series.
LibertyvilleCoach: Dale Eggert (35th season, 617-163)
Last season's record: 22-3 overall, 1st in NSC, 1st in regionals, 2nd in sectionals, 4th in Dual Team State
Top returning athletes: Josh Knudten (Sr., 182, 5th in State), Caelan Riley (Sr., 120, 6th in State), Matt Kubas (So., 160, 6th in State), Luke Berktold (So., 126, State Qualifier), Austin Gomez (Jr., 170, State Qualifier), Orion Moran (So., 113, Sectional Qualifier), Trevor Jean (Sr., 126, Sectional Qualifier), Scott Wiegold (Sr., 138, Sectional Qualifier), Charlie Clark (So., 160, Sectional Qualifier), Cole Matulenko (Jr., 195, Sectional Qualifier), Caleb Christensen (Jr., 285, Sectional Qualifier in '20)
Top new athletes: Michael Rocco (Sr., 152), Anthony McClendon (Sr., 152), Anthony McCormally (Sr., 220)
Outlook: After taking fourth in the dual-team state tournament last year, the Wildcats should be a serious contender to win both the NSC and regional championships again this winter as they have five returning state qualifiers to help bolster their depth throughout the lineup. After surpassing a huge milestone with his 600th career coaching victory in dual meets last season, coach Eggert will continue his march up the IHSA record-book standings as the new campaign unfolds. The IHSA website shows that the most dual meets ever won is 690, and the most dual meets won at a single school is 689 by Glenbard North's Mark Hahn from 1987 to 2017. The Wildcats look like the early favorites to repeat as NSC champions, but much is still uncertain after the unprecedented cancellation of the IHSA state meet last year due to the pandemic.
MundeleinCoach: Craig Stocker (fifth season)
Last season's record: 3-4 in NSC
Top returning athletes: Bryce Durlacher (Jr.), Benji Albavera (Jr.), Omar Villanueva (Sr.), Erick Nova (Sr.), Ty Murray (Jr.), Isaiah Robles (Sr.), Henri Ortiz (Sr.)
Outlook: The very early stages of the Mustangs' season has gotten off to a slow start as they were on pause due to COVID-19 complications that prevented them from even making it through their first week of practice. But once everything gets back to normal and Mundelein gets back on its feet, Stocker is optimistic about the upcoming season as the Mustangs only graduated two seniors from last year's varsity lineup. Mundelein is hoping to have 12 returning starters back again this season although some of them will have to fight it out with some newcomers to see if they will remain in the starting lineup or if they'll get beat out by other wrestlers on the squad.
StevensonCoach: Shane Cook (16th season)
Last season's record: 16-5 overall, 6-1 in NSC
Top returning athletes: Andrew Chamkin (So., 106), Yash Jagtap (So., 113), Allan Kantor (Sr., 120) Lorenzo Frezza (Jr., 126), Cole Rhemrev (Jr., 138), Thomas Schoolman (Jr., 145), Shawn Tokmovtsev (Sr., 160), Will Toscano (Jr., 195), Jacob Whiting (Sr., 220)
Top new athletes: Carter Rand (Sr., 152), Mesh Premanand (Sr., 170), Blake Duvall (Jr., 220/285)
Outlook: After placing second to rival Libertyville last season in the North Suburban Conference, the Patriots are working to be competitive again in the NSC while trying to qualify as many individuals to the IHSA individual state tournament as possible. Stevenson will have some new faces in its lineup who will need to step up to the next level if the Patriots want to be a competitive squad when the state series rolls around in late January.
WarrenCoach: Brad Janecek (fifth season)
Last season's record: 8-8 overall, 2-5 in NSC
Top returning athletes: Zach Piszkiewicz (Jr., 132), Zach Sutor (Sr., 145), Nevin Mitrovic (Sr., 170)
Top new athletes: Giannmarco Beltran (152), 195 Jeremija Hixson (195), 113 Carlos Ordonez (113), Jose Ordonez (120)
Outlook: The Blue Devils' roster will really miss the presence of graduated elite seniors Joel Vandervere and Isaiah Parker as they head into the long and grueling upcoming season. Now wrestling for Northwestern University, Vandervere became the third state champion in Warren history with a 33-1 record as a junior after placing second as a sophomore, and third as a freshman in Class 3A with a sparkling 99-5 career record. Parker is now placing soccer for Saint Louis University after placing fourth in the state as a junior. As usual, Warren will have to battle it out with the likes of Libertyville and Stevenson if it hopes to win a NSC championship in late January.
Northern Lake County Conference
AntiochCoach: Wilbur Borrero (18th season)
Last season's record: 2nd in the NLCC
Top returning athletes: Edgar Albino (So., 113/120), Caleb Nobiling (Jr., 132/138), Anthony Streib (Jr., 132/138), Evan Vazquez (Sr., 152/160), Isaac Piccard (Sr., 171/181), Briar Russell (Sr., 195/220)
Top new athletes: Gavin Hanrahan (Fr., 106), Ben Vazquez (Fr., 152/160), Ethan Castillo (So., 113), Tanner Jurinek (So., 126), Gavyn Agne (Fr., 126), Seth Gomez (Jr., 195), Donald Carson (Jr., 220), Brock Jurinek (Sr., 138/145), Lucas Carlisle (Sr., 138/145), Antonio Rodriguez (So., 152-160), Joshua Sanchez (Jr., 171/182), Nathan Valdez (Jr., 145/152), Sean Goodmann (Sr., 138/145), Nathan De La Cruz (Jr., 285), James Kasprzak (So., 285), Elias Bentley (So., 182)
Outlook: After placing second to Grant last season, the Sequoits are looking to be competitive in the conference again in the upcoming campaign. Antioch will be young in many weight classes, but it looks forward to improving throughout the marathon season. The Sequoits' program has been wildly successful in postseason IHSA competition as they have qualified for the Elite Eight dual-team tournament six times since 2010 under the guidance of Borrero.
GrantCoach: Lenny Grodoski (seventh season, 115-44 record)
Last season's record: 19-8 overall, undefeated NLCC champions
Top returning athletes: Justin Warmowski (Sr., 152) Ethan Tarvin (So., 120/126), Sean Rogan (Sr., 120/126), Alex Gomez (Sr., 195/220), Cameron Lattimore (Jr., 195/220), Ivan Hernandez (Jr., 285), Lance Gallagher (Jr., 170), Crystal Villegas (Sr., 132)
Top new athletes: Douglas Zimmerman (So., 132), Jack Lunardi (Jr., 138/145), Damian Zimmerman (Jr., 138/145)
Outlook: The Bulldogs return 11 starters from a team that went undefeated in the NLCC and placed 6th at the IWCOA Dual Team State Tournament in 2021. Grant's young squad last season gained a lot of experience wrestling 27 dual meets in a pandemic-shortened season. Warmowski and Tarvin are returning sectional champions. Warmowski placed 4th at the IWCOA state tournament last season and he is poised to contend for a state championship in 2022. Grant will have a girls team that returns Crystal Villegas, who made school history last season as the first girls state tournament all-state wrestler placing third. Villegas is aiming to contend for a state title this season. The Bulldogs currently have 10 girls on their girls roster heading into the new 2021-22 season for girls wrestling competition with IHSA girls wrestling champions slated to be crowned downstate next February.
Grayslake CentralCoach: Matt Joseph (seventh season, 91-70 record)
Last season's record: 15-8 overall, 5-2 in NLCC
Top returning athletes: Anthony Alanis (So., 106, 6th at IWCOA State Tournament), Tyler Weidman (So., 113/120, qualified and won a match at IWCOA State Tournament), Matty Jens (So., 170/182, 5th at IWCOA State Tournament), Aaron Cramer (Jr., 160/170, didn't wrestle for Grayslake Central last year, 6th at preseason national tournament)
Outlook: After going 5-2 in the NLCC in an abbreviated season last year, the Rams are looking to be competitive again in the NLCC. Grayslake Central's program has produced a lot of star power in recent years with brothers Alex and Adrien Cramer now competing as Division I wrestlers. Now younger brother Aaron Cramer will try to keep the family tradition of powerful wrestlers going for the Rams as he enters his junior season with high hopes looking ahead to the IHSA state tournament as a serious contender for a top-six medal at worst.
Grayslake NorthCoach: Collin McKillip (8th season)
Last season's record: 7-11 overall
Top returning athletes: Armen Jerikian (Sr., 138/145), Frankie Salcedo (Sr. 132), Dane Schild (Sr. 152/160)
Outlook: The Knights will have a lot of new faces in their lineup this season and they are looking forward to having gaining a lot of experience in their first full year on the varsity roster. McKillip is looking forward to some new competitions on the Grayslake North schedule in 2021-22 and the Knights will be wrestling in numerous tournaments again this winter after having a somewhat limited schedule last season due to the pandemic. As usual, it should be a real battle when Grayslake North meets crosstown rival Grayslake Central in a NLCC dual-meet showdown this winter.
LakesCoach: Jack Troesch (fifth season)
Last season's record: 12-9 overall
Top returning athletes: J.P. Sullivan (Sr., 285, returning state qualifier), Garrett Brummand (Sr., 138), Casey Heraty (Sr., 220) (So., Olivia Heft, 115, returning state placer girls division)
Top new athletes: Will Steen (Jr., 132)
Outlook: Competing against the likes of perennial power Grant in the Northern Lake County Conference, the Eagles will have their work cut out for them throughout their rugged 2021-22 schedule. But if all goes well and Troesch gets consistent improvement out of his young wrestlers, Lakes could be a force to be reckoned with when the conference meet and IHSA state series begins in late January.
Round LakeCoach: Mike Hruska (13th season)
Last season's record: 3-14 overall
Top returning athletes: Aidan McCain (Sr., 182), Erik Tellez (Sr., 285), Jaylen Burton (Jr., 160)
Top new athletes: Grayson Kongkaeow (So., 106, 14-6 in 2021), Alejandro Cordova (So., 113, 13-7 in 2021), Nathan Geurra (So., 145)
Outlook: With nearly three times as many wrestlers in the program now compared to last season, the Panthers are very upbeat and excited about the possibilities as they look ahead to the 2021-22 season. If all of the starters from last season continue to improve and the new starters do well, Round Lake will be a solid team in the Northern Lake County Conference. The Panthers also have a dozen girls wrestling this year who will have the opportunity to wrestle in the IHSA state series. Hruska is confident that the Panthers' squad is trending in the right direction.
WaucondaCoach: Mike Buhr (6th season)
Last season's record: 6-7 overall, 4-3 in NLCC
Top returning athletes: Colin Husko (Sr., 145), Matt Merevick (Sr., 220/285), Lucas Galdine (So., 106), Nick Cheshier (So., 152)
Top new athletes: Gavin Rockey (Fr., 106/113)
Outlook: The Bulldogs return almost their entire starting lineup from last year and will fill out the lineup with a few new freshmen and sophomores looking to make their mark on the program and conference. Returning seniors Colin Husko and Matt Merevick will be looking for their first trips to the IHSA State tournament after falling one match short in their sophomore season and a shortened and combined spring sports season due to the pandemic. Sophomores Lucas Galdine and Nick Cheshier will be looking to punch their tickets downstate as well after falling one match short of qualifying for the IWCOA tournament last season as freshmen. As a team, Wauconda expects to be in the mix for an NLCC conference championship this year, but it will have to get past perennial power Grant to reach the mountaintop.
East Suburban Catholic
Carmel CatholicCoach: Bob Kuykendall (14th season)
Last season's record: 3-7 overall
Top returning athletes: Ethan Onan (Sr., 138), Hector Escobar (Sr., 220), Anthony Villanueva (Sr., 113), Ryan Medina (Sr., 285)
Top new athletes: Matthew Lucansky (Fr., 106), David Farjado (Fr., 145)
Outlook: With a very young team returning for the upcoming campaign, Kuykendall is expecting to be in pretty much of a rebuilding season as the Corsairs embark on the always tough competition in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. But if all goes well and the squad develops gradually throughout the upcoming campaign, Carmel Cathoic could be a pretty competitive squad when the conference tournament and IHSA postseason series rolls around in late January and early February. Including his time spent as an assistant coach to former legendary Carmel wrestling coach Joe Scordino, Kuykendall has now been with the Corsairs' program for 40 years with numerous individuals reaching the IHSA state meet under his guidance.
Vernon HillsCoach: Jesse Wolter (first season)
Last season's record: 18-3 overall, 2nd place in CSL
Top returning athletes: Jack McGowean (So., 126/132, returning IWCOA state qualifier), Garry Gurevich (Sr., 138), Will Ludolph (Sr., 152, returning IWCOA state qualifier), Collin Scarpino (Jr., 152/160), Blake Moncayo (Sr., 160), Matt Dalenberg (Sr., 170), Jake Psaras (Sr., 182/195), Nathan Lee (Sr., 220), Max Accettura (Jr., 285)
Top new athletes: Billy Kaprosy (Fr., 106/113), Andrew Diaz (Fr., 120), Dylan Moncayo (So., 126/132), Pedro Becerra (So., 145), Kevin Halley (Jr., 195/220)
Outlook: The Cougars return the majority of their lineup from last season that placed second in the CSL and went 18-3 overall during the pandemic-shortened season. New head coach Wolter said his team does not have a ton of depth to fall back on, but he expects them to be a tough out against the competition. Vernon Hills will be led by a strong core of five seniors (Gurevich, Ludolph, B. Moncayo, Psaras, Lee) that had great seasons last year and are hungry to build on that success. The Cougars also have a handful of young wrestlers that will have to step up in some big spots and gain some valuable varsity experience. Wolter said he expects to be in the mix again for a conference and regional title. Wolter is taking over for former Vernon Hills coach Jerry Miceli, who had a fantastic 22-year career which saw numerous wrestlers thrive in IHSA and then college wrestling competition.