CRYSTAL LAKE – The crowd inside Crystal Lake South’s gym was electric even if the night’s dual had been decided.
McHenry led 58-13 heading into the final match of the night at 285 pounds between the Warriors’ Luis Anacleto and the Gators’ Andy Burburia, but as the two heavyweights battled the crowd grew louder until the final buzzer.
Anacleto regrouped from 3-0 and 6-2 deficits to come back and win, 7-6, not only capping McHenry’s 61-13 win but also providing the junior with his best career win.
“It felt great,” Anacleto said. “I didn’t give up. Even though I looked up at the score, I knew I couldn’t give up. I had to go all the way in. Never stop the grind.”
The dual meet was another strong showing for the Warriors, who competed with a full lineup for the first time since their dual against Jacobs on Dec. 9.
Chris Moore, ranked No. 1 at 160 by the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association, worked on some moves in his matchup against Erik Gonzalez. He ran out to a quick 10-2 lead and continued to build his lead until he won by fall. Moore is 31-0 on the season.
No. 3 Brody Hallin won his match at 170 by fall, while Lucas Van Diepen won at 120 by technical fall. Pedro Jimenez (126), Nick Garantziotis (195) and Luke Zunkel (220) all won their matches by fall.
Ryan Hanson (106), Jimmy Norris (113), Rocky Piehl (145) and Ruben Melgarejo (152) all won by forfeit.
McHenry coach Jake Guardalabene was happy to finally have a full roster and took advantage of the opportunity to compete as a team.
“They knew what their job was,” Guardalabene said. “They took care of business.”
South was without some wrestlers and head coach Ross Ryan because of illness. Josh Glover, ranked No. 1 at 113, didn’t compete because of an illness.
South’s No. 1 ranked Shane Moran battled in his match at 182, running out to a 4-1 lead after one period and 9-1 lead after two. He continued to work aggressively to win by decision, 14-1.
South’s Austin Laurie battled back from a 2-0 deficit heading into the final period to win 3-2 against Ryan Nagel. Alex Flores won at 138 by fall for the Gators.
The Gators aren’t the lone program in the state dealing with missing wrestlers because of illness, which is why assistant coach Ryan Felz was proud of the way his wrestlers competed against a tough team.
“We knew it was going to be an up-hill battle,” Felz said. “We’re down a lot of guys due to illness. The Gators went out there and battled.”
South will have a week off after the Larkin Tournament set for this weekend was canceled. The Gators will travel to Hampshire on Thursday.
McHenry will travel to compete in the Batavia Invitational on Saturday. With just a few weeks left before the postseason begins, Guardalabene is happy with the way his wrestlers are performing and wants to make sure it stays like that when it matters the most.
“The focus is to stay healthy, peak at the right time,” Guardalabene said, “avoid anything silly that could happen.”