By Matt Cuartero
The winter athletic season recently began for Batavia, which is always a period of excitement for spectators and athletes. Batavia has a total of five active sports during the winter season: boys’ and girls’ basketball, dance, gymnastics, wrestling, and boys’ and girls’ indoor track and field. Each program has its own dedicated coaches and athletes, and a very competitive conference holds a lot of interest for winter athletics.
Senior basketball shooting guard Mark Schimdt talked about the team’s goals entering the season.
“Our main goals to accomplish this season are to improve as a team, and of course we are looking to win conference and hopefully go far in the playoffs.” Schimdt said. “We already won the Ken Peddy Tournament that we host over Thanksgiving break.”
Batavia has a legacy of being a basketball school, having a strong tradition for over a century, and has a reputation of being exciting and explosive. Former basketball players include Ken Anderson, Hall of Famer Dan Issel, Dean Anderson, and TNT sideline announcer Craig Sager. Since joining the conference in 2010, the Bulldogs have been a very strong competitor in the Upstate Eight Conference (UEC).
Basketball has a current record of 5-3 and is 1-3 in the UEC. This is a great start to a very successful season, and the class of 2015 and 2016 are working very hard to earn more wins. Unlike some years, only juniors and seniors are playing with the varsity team, which shows the depth and experience of the team.
“The most recent game we had was home against Geneva,” Schmidt said. “We ended up losing (58-40), but we put up a good fight. We didn’t accomplish all of our defensive goals for that game. It was a good game, though. As a team, we are doing very well. We have a strong defense and offense. We have great chemistry and a great attitude towards the game. We fight hard and give it our all. We have had to grind it out in some games and we have the heart and strength to do that. We are going to have an excellent season with an excellent team.”
The boy’s basketball team is not the only team getting ready to have a very successful season this winter. The boys’ and girls’ track and field team have been setting up their preseason with daily workouts, intervals, and lifting in the Batavia Field House. The track team is similar to the Batavia Cross Country team in that it has a family atmosphere and has a long legacy of individuals and relays going to the IHSA State meet.
“This season I really want to break 50 seconds in 300-meter hurdles,” said junior Megan Dalsanto. “I would also like to improve my jumps in long jump and PR in my other events. My main focus are hurdles and long jump, but I also run the 4-by-400 relay.”
The girls’ team has had a lot of potential in recent years. Just last year, the girls qualified for the state meet in the 4-by-800 relay and both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash, as well as the 300-meter hurdles. The girls were also hundredths of a second away from qualifying for the 4-by-100-meter relay.
“The team has a lot of potential for this year,” Dalsanto said. “Many girls are participating in off-season training to get ready for the season. Last year we qualified events with athletes who will be returning this season, and we are looking forward to a lot of potential with new athletes. We hope to qualify as many events as we can for state.”
On the boys’ side, it is a possibility to send the 4×400-meter team down state, as well as other events such as the 4×800-meter relay and the 300-meter hurdles.
“Last year at the outdoor Upstate Eight Conference meet, the varsity team was sixth overall and the junior varsity team was fourth overall ,” Dalsanto said. “In the River Division, varsity was third and junior varsity was second. There are 14 teams total in the conference, so we stack up pretty well. Of course, we always want to improve. Everyone is looking forward to a great 2015 season!”
The Track and Field Upstate Eight Conference Championship will take place on May 9, 2015. The team is ready for another season of sprinting, jumping, and throwing!
Batavia has also been known to excel at wrestling, and the legacies that Batavia has is second to none. Just like football, basketball, and track and field, Batavia is known to have a strong wrestling team that is tough to beat. Senior wrestler Kalvin Kozar had insight about this year.
“Going into this year, we had a lot of doubts because of the fact that we have lost two state athletes,” Kozar said. “We are going to be a lot weaker in our conference and it will be difficult to get the game going, but when we do train our newcomers, we will be a force to be reckoned with. We have a great amount of freshmen going into wrestling, and hopefully we will be able to get a lot of potential from there. Some of the standout wrestlers are Nate Kearney. One very standout newcomer is Dan Ngo.”