Hinsdale Central’s Battaglia wins 160-pound title at Barrington
BY GEORGE M. WILCOX | email@example.com | @geomwilcox November 30, 2012 2:50P
Updated: November 30, 2012 2:50PM
BARRINGTON — Ernest Battaglia’s only previous appearance in the state meet was brief.
The Hinsdale Central senior has been fighting to get back and started this season on a positive note by winning the 160-pound title at Barrington’s Moore-Prettyman Memorial tournament Saturday.
Battaglia was one of two champions for the Red Devils, joining 285-pounder Brian Allen. Juwon Edmond placed third at 138 as Hinsdale took seventh (127.5) in the 28-team tournament. The Devils are ranked No. 9 in the preseason by Illinoismatmen.com after losing in last year’s sectional final to state runner-up Oak Park-River Forest. Battaglia’s win reversed the misfortunes the Hinsdale resident had experienced at previous Barrington tournaments. He couldn’t compete last season due to a shoulder injury and was disqualified in the first round two years ago.
He won Saturday’s title match with a 12-1 victory over Libertyville’s Sal Ayala. Battaglia pinned his first opponent and shut out Waubonsie Valley’s Jake Laws 6-0 in the quarterfinals. His closest match was a 5-2 win over Prairie Ridge’s Charlie Popp in the semifinals.
“It felt great getting my first (tournament) win,” Battaglia said. “I was able to help the team out by getting points.”
The win could be considered a bit of a surprise. After a hearty Thanksgiving dinner, Battaglia moved up a weight class to 160 as he expected. His bracket the rest of the season should be 152.
The Devils open the West Suburban Silver season at Proviso West Thursday, host Downers Grove North Friday and then compete in the Plainfield Central Quad at 9 a.m. Saturday. Hinsdale Central hosts its own Whitlach tournament Dec. 14-15.
Battaglia entered the week undefeated, also knocking off a Naperville North opponent Nov. 21.
“It’s so far, so good, especially because I won in our first dual meet,” Battaglia said. “I came out to the tournament and got a win. I got off to a great start; hopefully I can keep it up.”
Last season, Battaglia (21-6) came up one win short of qualifying for the Class 3A state meet. In July, he went 6-2 and came within a victory of placing at the U.S. Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D.
In his lone appearance in the state meet as a freshman, he lost his opening 119 match in 2010 to Batavia’s Logan Arlis, 11-5.
Battaglia has applied to Michigan and hopes to re-join his former club coach Sean Bourmet of Naperville-based Overtime. Bourmet was hired as an assistant coach at his alma mater in 2011.