Photo by Diane Cox
Phyllip and Nicholas DeLoach and Drake Boverie
Alton High School seniors Phyllip and Nicholas DeLoach and Civic Memorial junior Drake Boverie have something in common — they are all talented wrestlers.
The trio of mat-men nabbed fourth-place medals at the individual state tournament at University of Illinois’ State Farm Arena in Champaign this season: Phyllip (145) and Nicholas (152) in 3A and Boverie (132) in 2A. Those stellar finishes led to the threesome being named the AdVantage News Wrestlers of the Year.
The finishes had different meanings for the Alton seniors compared to the CM junior, though. Phyllip and Nicholas hoped to go out state champions, while Boverie looks at his state medal as progressing in the right direction for a solid senior campaign.
“It was a good season and definitely a big improvement from last year,” Boverie, who finished 42-4, said. “I only lost twice in the regular season and my other two losses came from the same guy at state.”
For Alton’s talented twin tandem, neither took a loss before state. Phyllip finished 40-2 while Nicholas set the school record in wins with his 50-2 mark.
“This season was definitely one of the peaks of my career,” Nicholas said. “Once I go on to college wrestling, I’m sure I’ll accomplish more, but this season was great. When I look back at all we’ve done with being the only two to place at state in the same season and me personally setting the single-season record at Alton with the most wins, it’s amazing.”
Phyllip added about the season, “It was bittersweet. While it was happening it was an awesome experience, having fun at all the tournaments, but knowing that was my last high school wrestling tournament it was bittersweet. I knew I was going to go to the next level and wrestle in college, that’s always been my dream, so I always stayed focused in the practice room, but I also tried to have fun with it because it was my last high school season.”
The trio’s paths to the mat and to success this season were slightly different. Boverie started his quest at age 5. He admitted wrestling has almost become second nature to him now.
“I’ve been wrestling for so long that I’ve caught on to so much and I have a lot of muscle memory,” the 17-year-old Boverie said. “I have it memorized and things are natural. When someone hits something, I know exactly what to do without thinking about it.”
The DeLoach boys didn’t find their way to the mat until the sixth grade and only because their mother wouldn’t allow them to play basketball — a good choice.
“If it was our choice we would have played basketball, but our mother intervened and said, ‘You guys are wrestling,’” Nicholas said. “The next year we go on to place at state and Phyllip goes on to win state, so with that it’s amazing how far we’ve come.”
Now for Phyllip and Nicholas it’s time to focus on where to wrestle in college. Missouri, Eastern Michigan and Minnesota State top the list of suitors, while the duo didn’t eliminate local programs at McKendree, Lindenwood and Maryville either. Mizzou looks to be the frontrunner after a recent visit.
It’s just a surreal feeling for the brothers to have the opportunity to move on.
“It’s so crazy to think that our sixth-grade year when our mother made us wrestle that we’d be going onto college,” Phyllip said, smiling. “It’s so crazy to think about that. We have college essentially paid for — wow.”
Boverie hopes for the same college opportunities, but before then he’s got one year left at CM and another goal to accomplish first.
“(A state title) is all I’m going for; that’s all that’s left,” he said.