Batavia proves too much for Kaneland
It was an unanswered run of 36 points scored in a variety of manners.
After falling behind longtime former conference rival Kaneland by double-digits after the opening two matches of a regular-season wrestling dual-meet finale, Batavia more than met the Knights' challenge.
Capturing seven consecutive matches between 170 and 106 pounds, Batavia used its 36 straight points as the centerpiece of a 42-30 victory Friday night on the Bulldogs' Senior Night at home against Kaneland.
Mickey Watson and Connor McKeehan authored the two most memorable wins for the Bulldogs (14-12).
With Kaneland (13-13) forfeiting at both of their normal weight classes, Watson and McKeehan moved up a weight -- to 220 pounds and heavyweight, respectively -- to earn hard-fought wins.
Watson had a second-period reversal and third-period takedown to cement a 4-0 shutout over the Knights' Nick Sharp; McKeehan, surrendering 70 pounds to the Knights' Zach Theis, then used a dramatic reversal and 3-point near-fall to secure a 7-6 verdict.
"At this point in the season, I don't want to have to wrestle anyone else's match," Watson said. "It has to be my match. I think I'm where I want to be (with the Class 3A Naperville Central individual regional next week)."
"(Watson) needs competition," Batavia coach Scott Bayer said. "He's only had three matches (due to injury and illness) since December. I wanted him to wrestle well."
The back-to-back simple decisions were aberrations on the night for Batavia, which was virtually dominant in its other matches.
Upstate Eight Conference champion Jon Wagner began the Bulldogs' uprising with a quick pin at 160 pounds.
Nick Offutt then followed suit with a second-period fall to give Batavia the lead for good at 12-10.
When Batavia wrestlers Nate Kearney and Noah Frazier were awarded consecutive forfeits at their teammates' weights, the four straight maximum-point wins increased the run to 24 straight.
The Watson and McKeehan triumphs left the spotlight to promising freshman Mike Doranski, who had few problems with another fall for Batavia at 106.
Suddenly, Kaneland, which scored the first 10 team points with Danny Goress' fall at 145 and a Kegan Workman major at 152, were staring at a 36-10 deficit.
The Knights' Stephen Gust stopped the bleeding with a third-period technical fall at 113 pounds; two more forfeits would give Kaneland still further hope.
But the Bulldogs' Joey Shump concluded a perfect 35-0 regular season with a dominant fall to clinch the win for Batavia at 126 pounds.
Easi Ponce had a tactical win for Kaneland over Charlie Smorczweski to account for the final score.
"It's always been a rivalry (with Batavia)," said Goress, the Knights' two-time Class 2A state qualifier who improved to 31-3 on the year. "I look forward to this dual every year. I was looking for a dominant performance."
"We've wrestled tough schools all year long," said Kaneland coach Monty Jahns, whose squad is headed to the Sycamore regional next Saturday. "We will get there in the next week. We're missing a couple (of starters)."
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