ROXANA – Nicholas DeLoach said the Alton Redbirds tuned up for the upcoming wrestling regional in fine fashion Thursday.
Nobody would dispute it. They savored a successful night.
The Redbirds rolled by Roxana, 53-15, in dual competition at Larry Milazzo Gym and tied a single-season school win record. They are 20-3, matching victory totals from 2003-04 and 2010-11. The Birds were also 20-3 those years. Roxana is 13-13 heading into this weekend’s Litchfield Tournament.
“We're working hard, that’s for sure,” said DeLoach, pointing to next week’s Class 3A Belleville West Regional. “We have had some tough losses, but it has been a journey for us.”
Alton’s losses were to Southwestern Conference opponents Edwardsville, Granite City and O’Fallon. The Redbirds will battle them again in the nine-team, West Regional.
“We definitely want to win the regional title because we have never done that,” DeLoach said.
What they did against the Shells was post victories — four by forfeits — in 10 bouts. Roxana won three times, twice by forfeits. And Brett Nyswonger of the Shells scored a one-point win at 220.
Thanks to the flurry of forfeits, including a double one at 152, the entire match zipped by in just 40 minutes.
“I had a feeling at the weigh-ins that it would go fast tonight,” said AHS coach Eric Roberson, a Roxana High graduate. “It’s always nice to come back here and see a lot of familiar faces.
“It was a good way for us to get ready for the regional.”
DeLoach got things going by winning via a technical fall in 4:39 during the opening bout at 152. Alton led 20-0 and then 47-3 at one point. Qiant'e Wagner (170), KeOntay Holmes (182), Darian Pierson (285), Nijel Ward (106), Hunter Hobbs (113), Courtney Wilson (120), Conner Broyles (126) and Tim McCarvey (138) of the Birds also logged wins.
Holmes prevailed 3-1, Pierson won by fall in 3:54, Wilson scored a 6-1 victory, Broyles dropped his opponent in 1:32 and McCarvey flattened his foe in 3:50. The other AHS wins came by forfeits.
“Now, we have to forget about what has happened during the regular season, get focused for the regional and stay sharp for it,” Roberson said. “It’s going to be tough competition.”
He expects to have the injured Phyllip DeLoach back for it. DeLoach is recovering from a knee injury and didn’t wrestle against Roxana.
The Shells also had a couple of guys out, notably top grappler Dalton Brito, against the Redbirds. Roxana coach Rob Milazzo is getting the Shells primed for their Class 1A regional next week. They are the defending champions.
“I thought Luke Curtis and Brett Nyswonger had nice matches for us tonight,” he said. Teammates Jarod Foiles (132) and Tanner Grey (145) snared forfeit wins.
Milazzo added, “Hopefully, we will have everybody back next week and be ready to go for the regional.”
He figures Belleville Althoff and Litchfield will be the teams to reckon with at Roxana. “Althoff has beaten us twice – by two points and six points – and Litchfield also beat us,” Milazzo said.
The postseason marks the start of new dynamics for local mat squads. The quest is to get to next month’s IHSA finals in Champaign. DeLoach said the Redbirds have high hopes once the second season begins.
“We have a lot of good kids that can score a lot of points,” he said. “I like our chances.”
ALTON 53, ROXANA 15
106 – Nijel Ward (A) won by forfeit, 113 – Hunter Hobbs (A) won by forfeit; 120 – Courtney Wilson (A) def. Blake Whyers, 6-1, 126 – Conner Broyles (A) pinned Bailey Baremore, 1:32, 132 –Jarod Foiles (R) won by forfeit, 138—Tim McCarvey (A) pinned Michael Cherry, 3:50; 145—Tanner Grey (R) won by forfeit;
152 – Double forfeit, 160 – Nicholas DeLoach (A) won by tech. fall over Riley Ripper, 23-8 in 4:39, 170 – Qiante Wagner (A) won by forfeit; 182 – KeOntay Holmes (A) dec. Luke Curtis, 3-1, 195 – KeOndrick Russell (195) won by forfeit; 220 – Brett Nyswonger (R) dec. Alecquan Russell, 3-2, 285 – Darian Pierson (A) pinned Owen Robinson, 3:54.