BETHALTO — The Civic Memorial Eagles wrestling team paid homage to the seniors who will graduate in spring before they attended to the visiting Belleville Althoff Crusaders.
Falling short in key matchups, the Eagles fell to 5-9 after the 36-16 loss. The Crusaders climbed to 18-9 in the nonconference matchup Wednesday night on the CM home mat.
"I'm proud of the kids tonight," CM head coach Chad Young said. "They wrestled hard every match and we didn't give up a lot of pins. We tried to keep it as tight as possible. We knew Althoff had a tough team coming in. We're trying to get ourselves set up for conference this weekend. We have to tweak a few things and correct some mistakes. Overall, I think we wrestled well tonight."
CM junior Drake Boverie has been the example for the Eagles with a 26-2 record, suffering his second loss of the season to Althoff Jarrid Braunagle. Braunagle has suffered only one loss this year, falling to Boverie earlier in the season.
"We figured coming in that Boverie and Braunagle would be the match of the night," Althoff head coach Josh Harper said. "They've battled the last two years, now trading matches. They came up in wrestling together since they were in the little league. They've wrestled each other quite a bit and have developed a little bit of a rivalry."
The score stayed at 0-0 for Boverie and Braunagle through the first buzzer, but Althoff was awarded a point due to an illegal hold by Boverie. That point proved to be the difference in the match as Braunagle won by a tight 3-2 decision in the 132-pound weight class.
"Drake did a front headlock and came across the neck," Young said. "That's an illegal hold and it ended up giving them a point, putting them up 1-0. Tight matches like that, you can't give up penalties. Braunagle wrestled a tough and smart match and he came out on top this time."
The Eagle's Brayton Williams improved to 17-3 for the season in his matchup with Althoff's Zach Braunagle with a 12-2 victory at 160 pounds. Althoff was charged a team point after the match for an unsportsmanlike conduct call.
The Eagles took an early lead in team points over Althoff, but the Crusaders took control of the scoreboard after CM senior Quentin Wade was pinned by Rodney Baker at 285 pounds. Chase Bittle followed up with a pin to keep his undefeated season intact when he defeated CM's Zach Brundeen in the 113.
Althoff's Danny Braunagle took a 12-3 decision over Brandon Copeland in the 138 class while Austin Carey finished off Caleb Graham in the 152. CM's Eian McIntire was caught up in a leg pin by Althoff's Cody Harris in a hard fought matchup in the 145.
"Overall we're fine tuning things," Harper said. "We're trying to prepare and get things ready for regionals. The guys came out and performed well tonight. Not a whole lot of negative I can say about our matches, maybe a few things to talk about, but overall I'm happy with how they wrestled. We really didn't have any surprises tonight. Civic Memorial has a few really talented individuals and they are tough every night. They are like us team wise, from night to night, you never really know what your going to have."
The Eagles next match will take place at the Mississippi Valley Conference Tournament at Waterloo at 9 a.m. Saturday. Althoff plays host to Cahokia at 6 p.m. on Friday.