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Good day to be a Bulldog
Batavia wins own invitational for
By Kevin McGavin | Daily Herald Correspondent

Batavia's Billy Ayes pressures Argo's Johny Vazquez in their 140-pound match Saturday in the Batavia Invitational. Ayers pinned Vazquez at 5:19 of the match on his way to a third-place finish.


Mary Beth Nolan | Staff Photographer

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Published: 1/13/2008 12:06 AM

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The golden anniversary of Batavia wrestling has another feather for its pageantry-laden season.

For only the second time since the tournament began in 1984, the Bulldogs' wrestling squad captured their invitational behind three champions, an equal number of runners-up and two thirds.

The Bulldogs won their 15-team tournament for the second time in three years Saturday afternoon, and coach Tom Arlis had ample reasons for his ear-to-ear grin.

"Everyone is starting to wrestle well at the same time," Arlis said. "It's a great time of the year for that to happen. It was a good day to be a Bulldog."

Batavia had 205 points in claiming its second team title this year; Lincoln-Way East edged Lemont for second with 178. Streamwood was two places higher than its district rival Bartlett as the Sabres had an individual champion in freshman 130-pounder Joey Kubica.

Arlis' son, junior 103-pounder Logan, was named the outstanding wrestler of the meet for the lower weights with his fall in the quarterfinals and decisive wins in the semifinals and finals.

In the championship match against Morris' Seth Bonic, Arlis did not allow a point in capturing his second tournament of the season.

"There were a couple of good scrambles, and I came out on top," the younger Arlis said. "(Bonic) is quick and pretty tough, too. I was looking forward to (wrestling him after seeing the bracket)."

The other two Batavia athletes to win titles -- 130-pounder Rocco Wade and 160-pounder Danny Watson -- matched Arlis' feat by winning for the second time this season on the tournament cycle.

Wade had two first-period takedowns as the centerpiece of his 7-5 triumph over Sterling junior Austin Hanaberger.

Watson, meanwhile, was engaged in a tactical battle with Buffalo Grove junior Kyle Czarnecki; the Bulldogs' standout had a first-period takedown for the only offensive points of the showdown to escape with a 2-1 victory.

It was a matter of working out the rust for Wade, and Watson, who avenged an earlier tournament loss to Czarnecki, said his low-scoring match was expected.

"It's been a week since I wrestled," said Wade. "I have been practicing hard. (Skipping the Bulldogs' dual meet against Kaneland on Friday night) definitely didn't do any harm."

The Bulldogs' Charlie Ryan and Matt McCarter fell victim to seasoned-state veterans in their championship matches at 125 and 189 pounds, respectively.

The final Batavia finalist, Ethan Huggins, lost in overtime to Downers Grove North 215-pounder Ryan Mussato.

The two went to the extra sessions when Huggins was cited for stalling in the waning seconds of regulation.

"We agreed to disagree," coach Arlis said of his explanation from the referee. "We both agreed the call came too late in the match."

Tyler Patton (119 pounds) and Billy Ayers (140) won top consolation honors with their third-place finishes.

Lincoln-Way East heavyweight Chris Narel was MVP of the upper weights.

"The difference between us and (Batavia) today was we had one hole (no competitor at 119)," Lincoln-Way East coach Tom Saindon.