Bulldogs’ young team showing promise on mats

December 27th, 2013    Author: Administrator    Filed Under: Sports

Batavia’s Darnay Foley wrestles a Clinton-Massie opponent during the Blanchester Dual Tournament.

By Chris Chaney
Sun staff

A young, yet promising lineup of Bulldogs take to the mat in 2013-14 with the not only the intention of surprising some teams, but an expectation to do so.

“The (beginning of the season) has went well for us.” head coach Larry Smith said. “We are currently 4-1 in dual matches. We’re pretty much loaded with freshmen, but they’re a strong group.

“We’re doing about as well as I could have expected. We’re pretty young, but we’re surprising some teams that we wrestle. We are solid from bottom to top.”

(Note: Batavia’s dual record is 11-3 following the conclusion of the Blanchester Dual Tournament.)

Graduating last season’s Wrestler of the Year Gabe Archer and Second Team All-Conference selection Josh McCloskey, common knowledge would purvey that the Bulldogs would be struggling to find leadership, however Coach Smith has a handful of upperclassmen who haven’t just only been leaders in practice, but have proven to be consistent winners on the mat.

“We have a junior at 220, Darnay Foley,” Smith explained. “He has provided great leadership for the team along with Sam Humbert, a senior, and Steven Bender who is a senior.”

While the Bulldogs have their lineup pretty much set, nothing is concrete this early in the season with weights fluctuating and injuries unpredictable.

Batavia starts freshmen at 106 pounds, 113 pounds, 120 pounds, 126 pounds and 132 pounds, but has some experience throughout the rest of the lineup with sophomores Andrew Truske, Nick Parks and Tyler Zimmerman and juniors Cole Morgan, Tony Gatto all taking up spots in the lineup.

With a hodge podge of experience this season, Smith said he’s been impressed with a few newcomers, specifically Alex Appel at 126 pounds and Dante Tallarigo, another freshman who wrestled in his first match of the season against Williamsburg after being out with illness for the start of the year.

With the season still young, the Bulldogs have gotten some good run in against a bevy of competition. In a tri-match with Goshen and Reading, the Bulldogs split, taking down interdivision rivals Goshen. They swept a tri over divisional foe Clermont Northeastern and non-conference opponent Little Miami.

Their most recent matches — an in-school dual against Williamsburg and a dual tournament at Blanchester — have been successful. The Bulldogs took down their biggest scholastic rivals 47-26 in front of the student body as the school helped to raise money for Wrap Clermont!, a non-profit organization that provides help and hope to needy families throughout the Holiday season.

At the Blanchester Dual Tournament, the Bulldogs finished in third place with a 7-2 record. Batavia’s two losses came to Blanchester and Anderson, the two schools who finished ahead of the Bulldogs.

With a hodge podge of experience this season, Smith said he’s been impressed with a few newcomers, specifically Alex Appel at 126 pounds and Dante Tallarigo, another freshman who wrestled in his first match of the season against Williamsburg after being out with illness for the start of the year.

Having seen all three of the other National Division teams and having beaten all, but Blanchester, Smith believes that his team has a pretty solid footing in the second-place slot with a chance to knock off the champs.

As far as potential for advancement upstate, the coach wasn’t bashful in his expectations.

“My expectations are to have seven or eight, at least, qualify for the districts,” he said. “I believe Darnay Foley at 220 should be a for-sure state qualifier barring injuries. I think Humbert and Appel should be able to join him in Columbus this year, as well.”

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