LOWELL | Probably the favorite going into the Northwest Crossroads Conference meet, host Lowell did not disappoint.
The Red Devils made 11 of 14 finals and won seven of them, finishing with 270 points. Kankakee Valley finished second with 194 and Griffth was third with 192.
Jake Gross got the ball rolling for Lowell at 106, pinning Griffith's Cedric Fassoth in the third period. It was the first time Gross's opponent had gotten out of the first period all day.
"I wrestled good and I'm starting to feel real good with my conditioning and where I'm at right now going into the sectional," Gross said. "I expected to go out there and win."
Perhaps the most exciting final of the day was Jeremy Crocker's 12-6 win over Hobart's Tony Rodriguez at 170. A gym that had been relatively quiet all day woke up as the Devil senior traded moves with Rodriguez.
"It gets you so pumped up to hear that (support from the crowd)," Crocker said. "It just makes you that much better."
Crocker was impressed with Rodriguez.
"Man, is he good," Crocker said. "Being a junior, he's good this year. Think about how good he'll be next year."
K.V. finished second, but junior Matt Berdine put forth a top-notch effort. Despite pausing twice to vomit, Berdine pinned Hobart's Jon Ramirez in the 220 final.
"I've been under the weather for a while. The last couple weeks I've been feeling sick," Berdine said. "After you (vomit) you feel so much better. And you can't give up. You've got to keep going."
Jimmy Marich also earned a first place for the Kougars at 132 over Lowell's Alex Mavros. Marich said he'd wrestled Mavros in the past and knew he'd need to get the first take down.
"You've just got to mentally break him," Marich said.
Other individual winners were Griffith's Nate Reitz at 113, Kankakee Valley's Kyle Dalka at 285, Lowell's Josh Bottos at 120, Matt Roadruck at 138, Zack Mrockowski at 145, Kenny Hughes at 152 and Ryan Peterson at 195, Hobart's Aaron Ayala at 126 and Scottie Sopko at 160, and Munster's Dominic Fimbianti at 182.