[Photo provided by Austin Macias]
Coach: Scott Bayer
Last season: second in Upstate Eight River; third in Upstate Eight Conference Tournament; seventh at Class 3A Batavia Regional.
Top athletes: Mikey Caliendo, fr., 113 pounds; Alex Cruz, jr., 126; Tyler Sotir, jr., 126; Angel Cruz, jr., 132; Andy Posledni, jr., 132; Justin Major, jr.,138; Evan Hitzeman, sr., 145; Ethan Towers, jr., 195.
Outlook: The Batavia wrestling program began its season truly behind the eight-ball due to the Bulldogs’ Class 7A football state championship. “It’s disruptive, to say the least,” Bayer said of only being able to field half of the 14 weight classes during the football playoffs. “We’ll be back together again in another week or two." The Bulldogs will seek to make amends for failing to advance any individuals to the Class 3A state tournament in Champaign last winter. Posledni and Major are returning sectional qualifiers.
Coach: Jordan Bakley
Last season: sixth at the Class 2A Sycamore Regional.
Top athletes: Tommy Zettl, so., 120 pounds; Austin Macias, sr., 126; Carter Rohl, sr., 132; Nick Termini, jr., 138; Patrick Paez, so., 152; Sam Kang, jr., 170; Zach Collins, jr., 182; Mike Dubanowski, so., 285.
Outlook: Macias made history for the Central program last year by dropping just one match match en route to the school's first state championship. “His goal, for sure, is to be an All-American which is top eight,” first-year coach Bakley said of Macias’ invitation to the elite Ironman Tournament this weekend in suburban Cleveland. “I think he can win it.” Termini, sixth last year, will also participate in the weekend festivities. “He’s probably one of the most athletic wrestlers I have ever coached,” Bakley said of Termini, who also plays football and runs track. “Austin has two or three really good moves, but Nicky does so many things well. He is ranked No. 3 in the state.”
Coach: Tom Chernich
Last season: third in the Upstate Eight River; fifth in the Upstate Eight Conference Tournament; third at the Class 3A West Chicago Regional.
Top athletes: Ian Huck, so., 120 pounds; Honor Nguyen, sr., 132; Armando Martinez, sr., 138; Max Miller, jr., 145; Mike Donatelli, sr., 160.
Outlook: Like Batavia, Geneva will seek to address not having a state qualifier last year. Chernich, however, has few doubts as to whom the Vikings’ leaders will be this year: reigning sectional qualifiers Nguyen and Donatelli. “Mike Donatelli and my stepson, Honor Nguyen, are goingto be studs for us,” Chernich said. “After that we have a lot of young guys without a lot of experience.” The core of the Vikings will come at the middleweights as Martinez and Miller are at back-to-back classes beginning at 138 pounds. The central adjustment for Donatelli and Nguyen are both wrestlers moving up three weights from a year ago.