Wrestling: Wauconda edges Antioch for regional crown
When you think of "perennial powers," the Antioch wrestling team is always a program that comes to mind.
Saturday at the IHSA Class 2A Grayslake Central regional the Sequoits fought an uphill battle against rival Wauconda the entire day.
But in the end, great depth helped the Bulldogs overcome a 5.5-point deficit with eight weight classes to go in the final round to pull out a stunning 233 to 224.5 victory over Antioch for the regional championship.
With the win, Wauconda advances to the dual team sectional on Feb. 21 at a site to be announced. The top three finishers in each weight class also advanced to the Deerfield individual sectional next weekend with a berth to the state meet Feb. 16-18 in Champaign on the line.
The Bulldogs had key contributors up and down their lineup. But Nick Cheshier (26-6) had a huge 9-5 decision for the 152-pound title before teammate Zac Johnson (24-6) pinned Antioch's Ben Vazquez with 32 seconds left in the third period at 160 to set the stage for a potential regional crown.
And Wauconda would get just the magic it needed when Michael Merevick pinned Julian Ramos of Lakes in 3:09 for first place at 195. Then Wauconda 220-pounder Joe Scianna pulled out a hard-fought 5-4 decision over Antioch's Donald Carson to help seal the narrow team-title victory over the Sequoits.
"We started off with a good round, but we lost a couple of close ones in the last round," said Wauconda coach Trevor Jauch. "We have a handful of guys that should be looking to go downstate and get on the podium."
Antioch got first-place finishes from Gavin Hanrahan (24-4 at 113), Chase Nobiling (23-19 at 120), Edgar Albino (28-3 at 132), Anthony Streib (20-3 at 138), and Caleb Nobiling (31-8 at 145).
"We knew this final round was going to be an important round, and you've got to earn it," said Antioch coach Wilbur Borrero. "Caleb (Nobiling) is tough, he placed third last year and hopefully he can get to the finals."
No. 1-ranked Grayslake Central juniors Anthony Alanis (37-1 at 106) and Matty Jens (25-0 at 182) both took first place and both were second in the state last year.
"I just have to work as hard as I can and stay focused," said Alanis. "I was pretty locked in today, practice definitely gets tough and motivates us all to get better."
Other champions Saturday were Central's Tyler Weidman (34-10 at 126), Central's Carter Vincent (31-13 at 170), and Grayslake North's Dallas Dinkla (17-10 at 285).
Second-place finishers were Wauconda teammates Gavin Rockey (106), Nate Randle (113), Lucas Galdine (120), Cooper Daun (132), Logan Andrews (138), Cole Porten (145), and Christian Cendejaz (170). Antioch teammates Seth Gomez (182) and James Kasprzak (285) also placed second.
"The key is just believing in the work they (Jens and Alanis) have already put in the bank," said Grayslake Central coach Matt Joseph, who wrestled for coach Rick Mann at Hersey. "They don't want to have that same feeling they had last season."