Caliendo leads Batavia to 2nd at own invite
Marian Central Catholic may have won the team title at Batavia Saturday evening, but hometown hero Mikey Caliendo won the hearts of the Bulldogs faithful when it was all said and done.
The star junior upended Kyle Schickel in the semifinals, then went on to win the 138-pound title to help his club finish just ahead of Plainfield South to earn second place honors.
Caliendo (31-3) continued his magnificent year which included defeating reigning 2A state champion Riley Palm (Carmel Catholic) with another wonderful performance Saturday -- which ended with his hard-fought 5-4 decision over Brody Hallin (28-8) of McHenry.
"I've always felt like I was capable of going with the best, so all of the work in freestyle, and in the weight room during the offseason is kind of proving that right now," said Caliendo, who surpassed his 30-win season from a year ago.
In late December, Caliendo, named Outstanding Wrestler on Saturday, beat Palm in his final at the Russ Erb Invite at Glenbrook South.
Teammate Justin Major (27-5), in anticipation of meeting No. 3 James Pierandozzi (22-5) of Plainfield South dropped down to 152 pounds, nearly met his goal until Pierandozzi took an injury default before their final to give the Bulldogs the second individual title for the home side.
"It was disappointing (not) to go up against Pierandozzi, but I feel I had a good tournament up until the final, so I know if I continue to work hard I'll reach my goal of getting downstate and on the podium," said Major, who recently joined the Bulldogs' 100-win career club.
Caliendo's triumph over a high profile opponent was one of two from area wrestlers on the day, the other coming from Daniel Uribe of Leyden, who stunned Drew Nash (23-5) who came into the weekend as the No. 4 rated 132-pounder at 2A.
"I have to admit it was tough losing the final at my own tournament last weekend, but the loss helped motivate me to work even harder, to clean a few things up, and to get better with my offense this weekend as well," said Uribe, 26-2, who beat No. 9 Jake Matthews (24-5) of Addison Trail, 8-5 in the final.
"To have a quality young man such as Daniel in our room (who) is a great leader, has a tremendous work ethic, and really shows the way is something that I truly appreciate," said Leyden coach John Kading.
Matthews and his teammate, Nick Skamra, gave the Blazers the extra point lift along the way to help secure a fifth-place finish, just one point (154.5-153.50) away from Maine South in fourth.
Leyden was eighth overall with 117 total points.
Skamra would see his hopes for top honors dashed by Justin Peake (28-2) of Johnsburg but not his spirit despite the loss.
"I lost all of last year to a badly dislocated elbow, so to be back in our lineup, and being a part of the team and having things go real well for me so far only makes me want to work harder in order to achieve even more success," said Skamra, now 21-9.
While Caliendo, Major and Uribe would each celebrate their first Batavia Invite title, Burlington Central senior Nick Termini would make this his second straight after dominating the 145-pound field.
The reigning 2A state champion pinned his way into this final with Grant LaDuke (14-5) before lowing the boom on the Lemont junior with his fourth pin on the day.
"While it's great to win here and have a good weekend, it's not this weekend that means as much to me as the final one of the wrestling season," said the Old Dominion-bound Termini, who at 32-0 is also the No. 1 rated 45-pounder in 2A.
Downers Grove North went one-for-two in the finals on Saturday, but none of that mattered to Trojans coach Chris McGrath who would heap a ton of praise on his two best men here, Brad Rosen and Teo Palubinskas.
Rosen (22-7) was unstoppable at 126, demolishing four of his opponents with a pair of pins, ending his successful run toward glory with a tech-fall at 4:00 against Aidan Hansen of Maine South.
Palubinskas (28-3) was unable to join his mate atop the podium after dropping a tough 4-2 decision in overtime with 2018 state qualifier, JP Migawa (20-5) of Andrew.
"Both of my guys are old fashioned wrestlers and athletes," McGrath said. "(They) compete hard, and just refuse to lose or give in.
"Brad is a hard worker who just goes and goes, and just scores points. He's going to surprise a lot of people in February (while) Teo, who was 0-9 as a freshmen, has come such a long way since coming to us, and now, just as Brad, will put all the time in needed to get better, and he's really been something thus far for us."
Buffalo Grove junior Michael Goubine (21-6) was the best on the day for the Bison with a third at 170, while Naperville North's Drake McIntyre (24-5) gave the Huskies a fourth-place medal at 160.