St. Charles East ekes by Batavia
Justin Benjamin had more than one reason to defeat Mikey Caliendo Thursday night in Batavia.
"I'm ranked 10th and he's ranked ninth," said Benjamin, a St. Charles East 138-pounder.
In the schools' inaugural DuKane Conference wrestling dual match, Benjamin outlasted Caliendo and in the process mathematically clinched a 34-28 victory for the Saints with his win in the penultimate match.
"I was just really excited to get in another quality match (at 138 pounds)," Benjamin said. "It's a lot of fun wrestling when you don't have to cut weight. I thought I was more gritty."
The Saints (21-4, 5-0) needed to secure two other critical matches, in the estimation of coach Jason Potter, to capture the dual meet in Batavia.
Peyton Schroeder and Tommy Schroeder came through when needed for the Saints in capturing twin nail-biters.
"Those were the three key matches tonight," Potter said of wins by Benjamin and the two brothers. "We knew coming in those were the three matches we needed to win -- against three of their toughest kids -- to win the match."
Two state-qualifying mainstays also had big nights with early work to aid the Saints' cause. Jake Penzato and Ben Anderson had pins at 113 and 126 pounds.
Justin Hull, the top-ranked 285-pounder in Class 3A, also provided 6 maximum points for the Saints as Batavia failed to produce a heavyweight.
Jacob Randell had a fall for Batavia at 182 pounds.
"Mikey was definitely not as his best tonight," Batavia coach Scott Bayer said of the pivotal showdown. "You have to give credit to Benjamin. He took us out of our match, and that's what you have to do against a good wrestler."