Several top wrestlers from the Bethalto Bulls wrestling program competed at the Liberty Nationals America Crown Feb. 19-21 in St. Joseph’s, Mo.
Annually, Liberty Nationals brings in the country’s best wrestlers age 4 to 14 at designated weight classes between 35 pounds and 250 pounds. It is one of the more prestigious youth wrestling national tournaments in the country and attracts kids from nearly all 50 states to compete in 16-man brackets.
Vincent Zerban won his individual bracket at 14 and under, 90 pounds, in dominant fashion, picking up a pin and two major decisions on the way to an 11-4 victory in the championship. Abe Wojcikiewicz placed second in the 10 and under, 100-pound bracket; and Bryce Griffin collected a fourth-place medal in the 10 and under, 75-pound division. Caleb and Caine Tyus both finished one win shy from the medal rounds. Peyton Bechtold also wrestled tough all weekend, but did not place.
Locally, several Bethalto Bulls participated in the Junior Comanche Invitational Feb. 22 in Cahokia. Brody Johnson, Hayes Potter, Ayden Wesley and Alexander Miranda all finished first in their respective brackets. Hudson Wesley and Colton Carlisle wrestled well all day and brought home a second-place medal. Zachary Vandevord, Chase Collman, Kale Patterson, Drake Champlin and Noah Wade all finished third and Zeke Rhodes and Abby Rhodes placed fourth.
The club boasts 22 Illinois state champions, 49 state placers, 17 national champions, 60 national place winners and 23 All-Americans and has been around since the 1970s. Many former Bethalto Bulls wrestlers have gone on to obtain college scholarships.
For more information, contact coaches Jeremy Christeson at (618) 779-3296 or Steve Bryant at (618) 973-5168. The program is available for all children ages 4 through 14 and invites children of all skill levels.