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Wrestling: Oak Forest comes up huge vs. Lincoln-Way West

Nick May Lincoln-Way West wrestles Marcos Gonzalez Marian Catholic 160-pound weight class. | Jean Lachat/For Sun-Times Media

Nick May, of Lincoln-Way West, wrestles Marcos Gonzalez, of Marian Catholic, in the 160-pound weight class. | Jean Lachat/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 6, 2014 6:34AM



Oak Forest made a statement in late December when it finished second at the 32-team Berman Classic.

Could the Bengals top Lincoln-Way West — the Southland measuring stick for Class 2A — in a dual after finishing two spots ahead of the Warriors at Berman?

It didn’t seem likely after West took the first five matches and a 17-0 lead behind major decisions from Noah Keefe (132 pounds) and Kyle Rodriguez (145).

Oak Forest, though, responded with a streak of its own. Joel Barker stopped the bleeding with a major fall at 160, and teammate Patrick Kristin (170) followed in arguably the most compelling match, earning a 2-0 overtime victory over Javier Montalvo in a clash of state podium contenders.

“That’s the biggest win of my life,” Kristen said. “I lost to him last week in the semifinals (at Berman). I learned how he liked to wrestled and applied it to this match. It felt amazing.”

Oak Forest wasn’t done yet. Ahmad Ashkar (182) netted the first fall of the dual to cut West’s lead 17-13, and Nick Graziano scored a come-from-behind victory with less than seven seconds left to cut West’s lead to one.

“We were down and we were in trouble,” Oak Forest coach Shawn Forst said. “But most of our guys that did lose wrestled really well. We didn’t give up a pin all night.”

West’s D.J. Schmidt stopped Oak Forest’s four-bout winning streak with a victory at 220, but that would be the last win for the Warriors.

Oak Forest heavyweight Robert James secured the only other fall, leaving Oak Forest’s murderers’ row of lightweights — Francis Edelen (106), Danny Swan (113) and Alan Durham (120) — to seal the contest with three wins for a 33-20 victory.

“It was exciting, for sure. Lots of good matches,” West coach Brian Glynn said. “Unfortunately, they wanted it more. They were tougher than us and their kids didn’t quit.”

Winners for West included Matt Ryan (152), Amir Kamis (138) and Kyle Ruettiger, the latter of whom topped Oak Forest’s Mousa Jodeh in a contest pitting two of the area’s better 126-pounders.

In other action, Marian Catholic sophomore Jose Champagne, a two-match winner at state last season for Montini, continued his undefeated season with an exciting 16-13 win over Oak Forest’s Barker at 160. Champagne, a natural 152-pounder, said he’s constantly bumping up in weight for the heightened competition.

Oak Forest defeated Marian 66-9, and Lincoln-Way West topped Marian 59-15.



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