After falling one match short of the state tournament a year ago and then going on to win Fresh/Soph State, expectations were naturally high for sophomore Mikey Caliendo entering this year. Mikey proved up to the challenge and was one of the team leaders throughout the season with tournament championships at Glenbrook South and Batavia and a second place at Granite City. While a late season injury prevented him from attempting a defense of his conference championship a year ago, he rebounded to earn a spot in the state tournament this weekend.
Mikey got the early jitters out of the way with a 7-2 decision in the 1st round only to fall just short of a semi-final and automatic All-State berth in an overtime loss. Needing two wins in the wrestlebacks for a medal, Mikey refcoused and earned two convincing victories, a 12-2 major decision and a 9-3 decision to earn a podium spot. Not satisfied with that, he avenged one of his few losses on the season against the #2 ranked wrestler coming into the tournament in an impressive 13-8 decision to make the thrid-place match. In a rematch of his quarterfinal loss he faced the #3 wrestler in the state, and despite having the upper hand for a good portion of the match, came up just short. With his fourth place finish Mikey became the first sophomore to ever medal at state for Batavia and the 10th All-State wrestler in the 60 year history of the program. He was also the only non-senior among the placewinners at his weight class. Congratulations to Mikey on a magical end to a terrific season!
Justin Major also wrapped up his stellar career in Champaign, and after a controversial loss in the opening match, took out his frustration on the mat with with a 16-0 dismantling of his first wrestleback opponent. Justin fell just short of a podium spot after a 6-3 loss in the next round. Justin leaves the program with over 100 career wins, as a two time conference champion and with regional championship this year, and can be rightfully proud of everything he has accomplished as a wrestler and for upholding the legacy of his father and uncle as Batavia wrestling standouts.
Congratulations to the entire team for their dedication, teamwork, success on the mat and the way they represent our town. We wish the seniors all the very best and look forward to seeing the rest of the team back on the mat very soon.
A special shout out to Coach Bayer and all the amazing coaches and parents that we have for the commitment they have shown to all the boys and girls over the past year. We are truly appreciative of everything you do!!
NEXT STOP CHAMPAIGN
After an exciting weekend of action two Bulldogs secured spots in this week's state tournament in Champaign. Both Mikey Caliendo (138lbs) and Justin Major (152lbs) locked up semi-final berths on Friday night, but after a loss in their next match, bounced back in the "Blood Round" to secure their spot on the big stage. They both closed out the Sectional with a win in their third-place match and are headed to state for the first time. Major also accomplished a first for Batavia, who along with his dad Tim Major (1987), become the first father/son state qualifiers for the Bulldogs.
Alex Richards (220lbs) scored a big upset over the #5 ranked wrestler in the state in Friday's quarterfinals, and despite later losing a couple of close matches to fall one match short of qualifying for state, has had a remarkable season for a wrestler who just picked up the sport 14 months ago. With his Senior year still ahead of him he should enter the off season with the confidence and knowledge that with continued hard work he is more than capable of taking the next step.
Andy Posledni (145lbs) has had a tremendous career at Batavia including over 100 victories and a trip to state last season, but his attempt to go back to back came up just short. We wish Andy well as he continues his career at the collegiate level at Wabash and know that his future is bright both on and off the mat.
Alex Cruz (132lbs) and Adan Mendoza (195lbs) also won twice in the wrestle-backs only to fall in the "Blood Round" and can hold their heads high. Adan will be back next year, and with Alex Richards, will give Batavia a terrific one, two punch in the upper weights. With respect to Alex and his brother Angel, who both started wrestling as Freshmen, I remember four years ago a conversation with Coach Bayer when he told me that the brothers despite their inexperience were made of the right stuff to succeed in the sport. His words turned out to be prophetic and we saw that one last time this weekend.
Congratulations to all the wrestlers on their gutsy performance and best of luck to Mikey and Justin at the state tournament. Click the link below for the Sectional brackets:
SIX BULLDOGS ADVANCE TO SECTIONALS
Regional champion Justin Major (152lbs) led the way as the Bulldogs advanced six wrestlers to next week's Sectional at Bolingbrook H.S. Major dominated the field with a tech fall and two pins, making it three tournament championships in a row for him. Runners-up include Alex Richards (220lbs) who, trailing by a point in his semi-final match, secured a spot with a last second takedown and pin. Alex Cruz (132lbs) and Mike Caliendo (132lbs) also fought their way to the championship mat falling just short of their ultimate goal, but most importantly moving on to fight another week. Andy Posledni (138lbs) and Adan Mendoza (195lbs) dropped semi-final matches and then won two wrestlebacks to punch their tickets with a third place finish. The six qualifiers matched the achievement of the 2013 team, tying for the most in 11 years for Batavia, so congratulations to the entire team and their coaches on a terrific performance. Full brackets can be found using the link below.
BULLDOGS ARE RUNNERS-UP IN HOME TOURNAMENT
Batavia’s wrestling community once again rallied together to host a top flight home tournament and the home team did their part to make sure there was plenty of excitement on the mats. When the dust settled the Dogs have claimed second place in a 19 team field and crowned two individual champions in Mikey Caliendo (138lbs) and Justin Major (152lbs). A special congratulations to Andy Posledni (145lbs) who not only went 4-1 to take 3rd place, and in the process, secured his 100th victory as a Bulldog and joined some very distinguished company in the Centurion Club.
SAINTS HAVE BATAVIA'S NUMBER
The Bulldogs gave longtime rival and #10 ranked St.Charles East a real run for their money in a pivotal DuKane Conference matchup, but ultimately come up on the wrong end of a 34-28 final score. As is often the case between these two teams the match came down to a handful of swing matches, and on this night the Saints had the upper hand. Certainly, no need for the Bulldogs to hang their heads and I am sure that they will have some added motivation for likely re-matches at the conference tournament in a few weeks. For local media coverage of the meet, click the links below:
BULLDOGS SHINE IN GRANITE CITY DEBUT
Batavia made the trip south to Granite City to battle some of the best teams from Illinois and Missouri and finished a very respectable 10th in the 30 team field. Mikey Caliendo (138lbs) led the way with a 7-1 record including six wins by fall or tech fall and a 2nd place finish. Other place winners were Andy Posledni (145lbs) who chalked up six victories on his way to a 4th place finish, followed my Justin Major (160lbs) who took 5th, Adan Mendoza (195lbs) who placed 6th and a pair of 8th pace finishes from Angel Cruz (152lbs) and Dart McGee (170lbs). The battle tested Bulldogs return north to face off with local rival St. Charles East in a DuKane Conference matchup on January 3rd.
BATAVIA CLAIMS TOURNAMENT CROWN
After more than a decade of participating in the Rus Erb Invitational hosted by Glenbrook South, the Bulldogs finally climbed the mountain and walked away with the tournament championship. This was a true team effort, with 9 wrestlers earning top 6 podium spots with some really solid work done through the wrestlebacks. Leading the way was Batavia's lone champion Mikey Caliendo (138lbs) who shocked the crowd with an upset of an undefeated defending 2A state champion in the semi-finals and a dominating win on the championship mat. He earned the outstanding wrestler award at the tournament and was later voted the GO EARN IT Wrestler of the Week from Illinois Matmen. Andy Posledni (145lbs) and Justin Major (160lbs) also made it to the championship mat and took home 2nd place. Alex Richards (220lbs) epitomized the grit the team displayed, and after losing his first match, pinned his next five opponents, including a rematch of his only loss, to take 3rd place. Adan Mendoza (195lbs) also took home 3rd place and the Cruz brothers, Alex (132lbs) and Angel (152lbs) both earned 4th place honors. Rounding out the placers were Dylan Roman (106lbs) and Jacob Randall (182lbs) who both finished in 6th place.