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Huggins caps celebration in style
By Kevin McGavin | Daily Herald Correspondent

Bill Ayers, a Batavia wrestling alum from the Class of 1983, low-fives the 2007-08 wrestling team while being announced with other alumni during the Bulldogs' celebration of 50 years of wrestling at Batavia. Ayers' son, Billy, is currently on the varsity team.


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

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Published: 1/6/2008 12:46 AM

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It was a perfect ending for the official coronation of the golden anniversary of the Batavia wrestling program.

And Ethan Huggins was the man of the hour for the Bulldogs.

Huggins, the Bulldogs' 215-pounder, had a second-period fall in the last match of the day against Marist.

Huggins' fall secured the Bulldogs' 31-27 come-from-behind victory at their quadrangular Saturday afternoon in Batavia.

Matt McCarter and Huggins had back-to-back falls to lead the Bulldogs' 34-28 win over Romeoville, and Batavia dropped a heartbreaker to West Aurora in its middle match.

The Blackhawks sandwiched their 33-31 triumph over the Bulldogs with one-sided victories over Romeoville and Marist to improve to 14-6 overall.

"I just remember all the people in the stands (former wrestlers and coaches in attendance for the 50th anniversary of the program)," Huggins said of his mindset entering the final match. "I wanted to make sure we got a win for them. We had to come back from that West (Aurora) loss, which we felt could have gone the other way."

"I have to hand it to Ethan Huggins," said Batavia coach Tom Arlis, whose club is 12-8. "You couldn't have scripted a better finish. I love the excitement of a dual (meet) like this."

Max Christianson had a second-period fall for Batavia at 112 pounds to give the squad an early 9-6 lead, and the fall would be the first of nine lead changes in the match.

The final eight came in succession, beginning with Billy Ayers' 8-5 victory for Batavia at 130 pounds.

Jake Urban survived a double-overtime showdown for Batavia at 145, and Luis Campos' 5-0 verdict at 171 extended the lead-changing trend to six.

Undefeated Marist 189-pounder AJ Smith denied McCarter to give Marist its final lead at 27-25, but Huggins' resolve was unmistakable: the Bulldogs' junior dominated from the get-go to give the throng of Batavia alumni reasons to celebrate.

"It was great for the fans," Marist coach said. "I was pleased for our kids -- they wrestled hard."

It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools in a dual meet.

Dan Carey, Josh Zinzer and Juan Perez carried the flawless day for West Aurora.

Carey, the Blackhawks' 215-pounder, needed only 41 seconds to earn his third fall of the day in the nightcap against Romeoville.

Perez earned the maximum 18 points with a pair of pins and a forfeit at heavyweight for the Blackhawks, while Zinzer added two pins and a technical fall at 130.

"I figured I would end it on a high note," said Carey, who had a critical third-period fall over Huggins to anchor the Blackhawks' razor-thin win over Batavia. "I was trying to run (my Romeoville opponent) down a little bit and get my energy back."

"(Carey) has been exceptional for weeks now," West Aurora coach Mike DiNovo said. "He is really making his time in the wrestling room count."

Perez began the Blackhawks' 48-27 victory over the Spartans with 43-second fall, and West Aurora blitzed Marist 48-17 as Zinzer had a first-period pin in the rout.

"I'm just trying to maximize my points in the duals," Zinzer said.

Marist and Romeoville fell to 9-10 and 4-10, respectively, with their twin losses to the two area programs.