Mountain View senior wins on the mat as well as in game of life

2013-01-08T00:00:00Z 2013-01-08T06:45:24Z Mountain View senior wins on the mat as well as in game of lifeDaniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 08, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Bailey Janis was supposed to be celebrating.

Mountain View High School's star wrestler had just won his first state championship and was eating a victory dinner at a Prescott Valley-area steakhouse when his emotions caught up with him and tears started flowing.

Several family members were with him. But someone was missing.

"It all kind of hit me that all of them were able to actually see it and experience it firsthand," Janis said, "but my dad wasn't there to."

Bailey's father, Brian, an Army sergeant, was shot and killed by military police during an incident at Fort Huachuca 10 years ago. Brian was reportedly suicidal when he fired at officers following a standoff. They returned fire, killing him.

Since then, Bailey, 17, has been far from alone.

The unbeaten 115-pound senior is surrounded by family and friends, all of whom happen to be his biggest fans. Bailey's grandparents and older sister play a major role in his life. His girlfriend, Mariah Martin, is the Mountain Lions' team manager.

The cheering section has been a godsend since Brian Janis' death.

"He's grown into something so great and it has to do with the fact that the family that has stood behind him," said Marjon Janis, Bailey's older sister.

"It surprises me every single day to see what a great person he is."

Bailey and his two older siblings lived with their mother for a short time following Brian's death. But Bailey's mother struggled with drug addiction, and the children were taken away when Bailey was 9 years old. From there, they lived with relatives from his mother's side of the family before eventually splitting up.

Bailey then found an unlikely home: his grandfather's.

Marc Janis has been Bailey's legal guardian since last February. Bailey calls his 65-year-old grandfather "real supportive," and says he's his biggest fan.

The move to his grandfather's house near Sabino Canyon occurred less than a month after Bailey won his state championship last February. Marc Janis waited until after the season to make sure he didn't affect his grandson's chance of winning a title.

And when he was told he needed surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm, Marc thought of Bailey. He postponed a scheduled surgery until after his grandson got his driver's license. Bailey now drives his grandfather's old car, a 10-year-old Subaru Forester.

Marc underwent surgery last month, and the recovery kept him from attending the 24th annual Mountain View Duals.

Marc and Bailey kept in touch throughout the two-day meet, however; Bailey went 10-0 and captured an individual title.

Among the nine fans he had there were his two siblings: Nick, 23, who is a senior airman in the Air Force; and Marjon, 21, who lives in Chandler but has attended all but one of his meets this year.

She was at Mountain View's most recent meet, the Mile High Challenge in Prescott Valley, and saw Bailey improve to 32-0 this season and win outstanding wrestler at his third straight invitational.

Marjon, who looks up to Bailey despite being older, feels anything is possible.

"That's how it's been ever since we overcame so many obstacles," Marjon said. "He's just been so strong and I look at him as my role model.

"I want to grow up to be like him - and I'm three years older than him."

It'll be harder to repeat as state champion - Bailey and his coach, P.J. Ponce, know it. Even if he pulls off the rare feat, Bailey said last year's feeling won't be topped.

"He had controlled his emotions and then after he won, it hit him," Ponce said. "He was very emotional after he won and then at the restaurant, (number) one being because he achieved his goal, and the second being that he really wished his dad was there to see him accomplish such a feat."

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