CHAMPAIGN — Alton's Phyllip and Nicholas DeLoach and Civic Memorial's Drake Boverie highlighted a strong weekend for Greater Alton area wrestlers on the state mat.
The three-day individual state wrestling tournament ended on Saturday at Champaign's State Farm Center with six Greater Alton area wrestlers climbing up on the coveted medal stand.
Phyllip DeLoach (145) and Nicholas DeLoach (152) each earned fourth-place medals in Class 3A while CM's Boverie (132) received a fourth place medal in Class 2A.
Brayton Williams (152) of the Eagles garnered sixth place in 2A, while in Class 1A Roxana's Dalton Brito (126) was fifth and James Henseler (106) nabbed sixth place.
Of course all the wrestlers wanted chances at state championships. Initial disappointment on Saturday though is sure to transition into more appreciation of their accomplishments over time.
“It's rough,” Nicholas said. “I took that loss and I didn't want to finish the tournament with a loss. I went into the tournament undefeated, which really wasn't the goal, but I knew a lot of these kids I hadn't seen before. All the matches I lost I'd never wrestled those kids before and I wasn't used to the style. I wasn't exposed to that level of competition before. I know if I would have seen them before things would have been a lot different, but unfortunately I didn't and I took some tough losses. I guess when I look back on it I did accomplish some things. I came into the tournament ranked seventh and I guess if I look back on it, it will be satisfying.”
Nicholas won via injury default to West Aurora's Alex Gonzalez in the semifinal wrestleback, but then lost 9-1 to Juwan Edmond of Hinsdale Central in the third-place match.
His brother Phyllip, struggling with a hamstring injury suffered in Friday's semifinal, bested Chicago Marist's Nick Gasbarro 2-1 to advance to the third-place bout. It matched Phyllip with a familiar foe in Belleville West's Nick Foster. Phyllip was 3-0 against Foster in the regular season, regionals and sectionals, but fell 3-2 in overtime to him on Saturday.
Stoppages were needed to tend to Phyllip's heavily wrapped hamstring in both his matches Saturday. He refused to use it as an excuse, but admitted he was in a lot of pain.
“I pulled a hamstring in my semifinal match and it was really bad,” Phyllip said. “My coaches said I probably shouldn't wrestle on it, but I have no excuses for my loss. I beat (Foster) three times during the season and there should be no way I lose to him. (The hamstring) was definitely an obstacle for me.
“The trainers here told me I should stay off of it, but I told them it was the last time I was going to wrestle in high school and I was going to go for it. It was tough because (Foster) rode me out in overtime because he stayed on that leg. I had no explosion and I couldn't be on the offense. I had to be on the defense and stay conservative, which is not my style of wrestling and it took a toll.”
Alton head coach Eric Roberson knows his senior standouts wanted to go out on top, but he's proud of their effort and admitted its fitting for the twin brothers to earn the same medal.
“It was great weekend of wrestling,” Roberson said. “I know individually the kids didn't meet their ultimate goal, but that doesn't take away from their performance. Two placers in one season is good. I don't know why they both had to get fourth though. They seem to do everything alike. Everything is the same with them.”
It was the first time in Alton history that two wrestlers earned state medals in the same season.
“That's pretty cool,” Nicholas said. “I'm pretty sure I'm going to look back on it, but I know I've got a lot of work to do, especially going into college. That's what I'm focused on because I didn't meet my goals.”
Unfortunately, Qiant'e Wagner (160) of the Redbirds came up a just short of the medal round, losing 5-3 in a tight bout to Tom Slattery of Orland Park Sandburg in the quarterfinal wrestlebacks on Saturday.
For Boverie, just a junior, Saturday's fourth-place finish was the next move in the progression of his high school career. He qualified but didn't place as a sophomore.
Saturday, Boverie defeated We Rachal of Chicago Washington 15-2 pinned Chicago De La Salle's Robert Zebrauskas in 2:50 in wrestlebacks to cruise into the third-place match.
Unfortunately, Boverie ran into Noah Keefe of Lincoln-Way West, the same guy who beat him in Friday's championship bracket. Boverie fell 7-6 to Keefe after falling 8-4 on Friday.
“I was really coming up her to get top four and I did what I wanted to do so I'm happy,” Boverie said. “It would have been nice to win that match, but I'm not upset about it.”
Boverie knows he gets another crack at it as a senior and hopes to join CM wrestling lore as the fifth Eagle to secure a state wrestling championship. He's familiar with school history and he wants to be remembered with the best of the best.
“I just want to win one time,” he said. “My senior year is what it's coming down to, so I want to win. I know David Pearce really well. I talk to him a lot and I've seen the Kristoffs a couple times because they're refs so I talk to them some. I just want to be remembered.”
Williams nabbed the other medal for CM. The senior beat Jake Wright of Grayslake North 2-1, but lost to Nick Remke of Woodstock Marian via pin in 2:33 and Morton's Gabe Pleasants 4-3 in a close fifth-place bout. It was the first state medal for Williams.
As for Class 1A, Roxana had three guys remaining Saturday and saw two of them garner medals.
Brito was pinned by Will Lucie of Warsaw in 5:40, but recovered to top Jake Worms of Illini Bluffs 7-3 to grab fifth.
Henseler prevailed 4-2 over Augustus Links of Morrison to get to the medal rounds, but lost to R.J. Marrero of Petersburg PORTA 12-0 and Harvard's Josh Fiegel 7-0 to finish sixth.
Unfortunately for Jarod Foiles (132), an early lead vs. Mount Olive's Maxx Fritz ended in an 8-5 loss stopping him a win short of the medal round.
“It's a great accomplishment for these boys and I'm proud of them,” Rob Milazzo, head coach of the Shells, said. “It's always nice to go out on a winning note. Obviously we would have liked to get Jarod through and that was a close match and we would have liked to pick up a win on Brito's match to go for third and fourth, but overall we're very pleased.
“Foiles was up 5-2, but that's the state tournament, you've got to wrestle six minutes and if you let up these kids will come back and get you.”
Locally in 3A other state placers were: Belleville East's Matt Striegel (170) in sixth and Belleville West's Ricky Nelson (285) in fourth.
In 2A, East St. Louis' Crishon Tucker (106) was fifth, Christopher Tucker (113) was fourth and Antonio James (285) was fifth, Triad's Merik Fulton (126) was fourth, Cole Wysocki (138) was fourth, Cole Witzig (170) was second and Alex Crehan (182) was fourth, while Jersey's Brandon Critchfield (132) was fifth and Highland's Nick Czar (285) was second.
Local placers in 1A were: Colin Davidson (106) of Litchfield in second, Althoff's Chase Bittle (113) was second and Jarid Braunagel (132) was third and Mount Olive's Maxx Fritz (132) was sixth.