Wheaton Norths Swider shines at Batavia
Mike Swider did not leave anything to chance on Saturday afternoon in Batavia.
The Wheaton North 220-pound senior rumbled through the 16-team field to earn MVP honors in the upper-weights category with a pair of pins and a technical fall to extend his season-long wrestling winning streak to 26 matches.
"I wanted to make a statement heard around the state," Swider said after dispatching Downers Grove North senior Jack Urbanski in the second period of the finals. "It's my senior year. I want to win a state championship. That's what I have been preparing for all year."
Lincoln-Way Central and Class 2A state power Lemont dominated the individual championships of the Batavia Tournament; the latter won five titles, but the former crowed three titlists and an equal number of runners-up to win its second major team championship this year.
Wheaton North was a distant third, with Downers North coming in fifth.
Bartlett edged host Batavia for sixth, and Buffalo Grove, behind senior 160-pounder Matt Zabrin extending his flawless record to 28 matches, was eighth.
Streamwood rounded out the local participants with Alex Curtis' fifth-place showing at 120 pounds as its only medalist.
Kegan Calkins was engaged in an epic struggle at the championship-opening match at 106 pounds with undefeated Rich Central junior Nkosi Moody.
The Wheaton North sophomore forged an 8-8 tie with a late second-period takedown, but Moody had the lone offensive points in the last two minutes to win 12-10.
"I knew (Moody) was a good wrestler and I was going to give it my all," Calkins said. "It was high-scoring, for sure. I made a couple of mental mistakes (in the final period)."
Sean Murray and Sean Cleveland captured top consolation honors with their third-place victories at 126 and 170 pounds for the Falcons.
"I thought we could contend for the (team) championship," Wheaton North coach Steve Holland said. "We need to find a way to win those close matches. It's nice to wrestle some of the schools we normally wouldn't see."
With Lincoln-Way Central and Lemont combining for eight titles, none of the other 14 schools could muster more than a single champion.
Downers North heavyweight Justin Novotny scored the only point of the 285-pound finals to snare the Trojans' lone title.
Batavia was riding a wave of momentum after a heroic 17-point come-from-behind victory over Geneva Friday night to win its first Upstate Eight Conference River title.
But the Bulldogs ran out of magic in their attempt for a top finish.
Junior stalwarts Joey Shump and Mickey Watson were the Bulldogs' representatives in the championship finals.
Shump failed to score in dropping a 1-0 verdict to Lemont sophomore Joey Nelson, and Watson was uncharacteristically pinned in the first period against Lemont senior John Tomala at 195 pounds.
It was the second time this season Shump (28-4), who suffered a middle-finger injury in the opening period, dropped a decision to Nelson at 120 pounds.
"(The pain) wasn't as bad when I was on top," Shump said. "I knew it was going to be a good match. It's the first time I've lost since the second week of the season. Every time I lose I take it hard."
"I knew (the match) was going to be low-scoring," Nelson said. "I knew I could ride (Shump) aggressively (in the third period)."
Anthony Scaccia rebounded from a tough semifinal loss to post the Bulldogs' sole third-place result.
The 138-pounder improved to 27-3 on the season with his 13-3 decision over Lemont junior Bobby Bromberek in the major-consolation bracket.
"Not what I wanted," Scaccia said. "I didn't feel things were flowing very well (in the semifinals)."
John Wagner was sixth at 170 pounds as Batavia failed to advance past the wrestle-backs in any of the other 10 weight classes.
"My overall thought on the day is disappointment," Batavia coach Ben Morris said. "There are a couple of technical things we need to work on (with Shump). (The Watson fall at 195 pounds was) definitely one you wanted to re-wrestle. We didn't wrestle very well today. I don't want to use (the Geneva match) as a reason."
Bartlett 132-pounder Sal Annoreno was a pre-tournament favorite to reach the finals for the Hawks, but the distinction of their lone finals representative fell to senior Tom Gbean.
Pitted against Lemont senior Chris Giatras in the finals at 182 pounds, Gbean could not match Giatras' second-period takedown in falling 3-2.
"I felt if I could have come out harder in the first period, the outcome would have been different," Gbean said of the scoreless opening two minutes. "I felt I wrestled well (overall). I did some good things to get to the finals."
Gbean is trying to maximize his physical conditioning after an off-season knee injury limited him early in the season.
Annoreno was awarded third as the result of an injury default at 132 pounds.
Anthony Zipparro eked out a third-place victory at 113 pounds for the Hawks, who also received sixth-place showings from Jake Joiner (152 pounds) and 106-pounder Anthony Radun.
"I wouldn't say I was overly pleased (with the team showing)," first-year Bartlett coach Karl Bratland said. "Everything is preparing for conference and the end of the season. We have to get better for next week (the Upstate Eight individual tournament, which Bartlett is hosting)."
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