BATAVIA – Wrestling can sometimes have a cruel way of teaching lessons for the future.
Locked in a heated battle for the 195-pound championship at Saturday's Batavia Invite, tied 2-2, Batavia junior Ethan Towers (9-3) learned the hard way when move attempts backfire with the clock draining.
Maine South's James Bartell threw an underhook move when Towers went for an ankle pick – a move designed to take down an opponent by their ankle – and he went to his back and rolled over for the eventual crushing 6-2 loss. Towers surrendered four points in the final 20 seconds for the ultimate second-place finish at the Batavia Wrestling Invite on Saturday.
What would he do differently?
"Have a back-up move," Towers said. "I had tried hitting it three or four times during that match. Every single time, I knew he was going to try and wrench it, but I didn't think he was gonna be able to get it."
Batavia finished sixth as a team with 113 points, 10 behind fifth-place finisher Lemont. Andrew placed first with 183, with Marian Central (175.5) and Maine South (165) rounding out the top three.
At 113-pounds Batavia freshman Mike Caliendo (22-5) took third against Downers Grove North senior Nate Cummings, who had a 24-0 record heading into the invite. Cummings fell in the semifinal to Andrews' Luc Valdez in a 5-4 decision, and later to Caliendo (22-5) in an 8-6 decision.
Bulldogs junior Justin Major finished third in the 138-pound class by defeating Andrews' senior Sean Callaghan in an 8-2 decision. In the earlier semifinal, a 9-1 major decision loss to Maine South's Eugene Lee, Major had a difficult time executing his go-to moves and fell behind in short order.
"Everything is learning in wrestling," Major said. "I've been wrestling for 10 years, and I'm still learning to this day. I need to learn how to get past 'if I can't get my shot, what am I gonna do? How am I gonna win the match?'"
Burlington Central's Nick Termini knew his championship match was going to be a close one.
The Rockets' junior had some pre-exposure to his 145-pound championship opponent in Leyden's Jimmy Lonigro last week – a Termini victory via pin, no less, but the match on Saturday was a bit tighter than last time around.
"I just want to come establish dominance," Termini said following an 8-3 victory. "I think I did a decent job...got a lot of good riding time, although didn't get any turns. [I was] solid on my feet, and overall I thought it was a good final match."
Termini (20-6) and Macias both competed at the Walsh Ironman Tournament in Ohio last month, and spotlight a growing Central presence in the wrestling ranks.
Macias came into Saturday's tournament with a 19-2 record, and defeated Batavia Alex Cruz and Lemont's Drew Nash en route to his 126-pound championship tilt against Andrews' Robbie Precin (30-1), who took third in state last year at 120-pounds in 3A.
"He's got really good position," Macias said of Precin following the tough 5-2 loss." It's not the first time I've wrestled [him]. It's like the fifth time, just haven't gotten to him yet. That's always been a struggle for me to be able to him out of position because I'm always 'attack, attack', and I don't just sit there and want to be in someone's legs constantly."
To round out Burlington's afternoon, junior Zach Collins placed third at 170-pounds by prevailing over Chicago Hope's Nicholas White.
The Rockets placed 11th with 74 points as a team.