BETHALTO – Drake Boverie took special pride in his victory Saturday at the 36th annual Civic Memorial High mat tournament.
The Eagles’ junior went 3-0 and defeated rival Brandon Critchfield of Jersey, 3-0, in the 132-pound finals. Boverie shared the tourney’s Most Outstanding Wrestler award with 152-pound winner Dalton Blankenship of team champion Vandalia.
“It means a lot to me, especially winning in a home meet with friends and family watching me,” Boverie said of his success. “It was big and up there with any win I’ve had.”
Critchfield, fourth in the IHSA Class 2A finals last winter, defeated Boverie in last year’s CM tournament. But Boverie then posted three wins over Critchfield the remainder of the season.
“I know a lot about him because we’ve wrestled each other so much,” Boverie said. “It was a good payback here.”
CM coach Chad Young said Boverie came out strong in the Eagles’ first competition of the season. Boverie built a 2-0 lead against Critchfield in the first period and then added to it in the second period.
“He’s nails and Drake has improved a lot since last year,” Young said. “He has started off this season the way he finished last season.”
Boverie, a state qualifier last season, added: “My goal is to place high at state. I feel like I’m a little stronger and have more stamina this season.”
Vandalia scored 196.5 points to secure team honors in the 17-school meet. Waterloo finished second with 164 points and Jacksonville took third with 154.5 points. CM placed ninth with 114 points, Jersey came in 10th with 108 points, East Alton-Wood River was 13th with 31 points and Marquette Catholic was last with 12.5 points.
Trent Brown of the Eagles was runner-up at 126 pounds. Teammates Brandon Copeland (138), Tyler Tharp (182) and Brandon Carpenter (195) of the Eagles all finished fourth.
“I thought we did well,” Young said. “It was our first event of the season and it’ll show us where we need to improve.”
Vandalia’s championship performance didn’t surprise Young.
“They have a solid team and are in the top three here about every year,” he said.
Drew Sobol, third at 106 and Zac Blasioli, third at 152, paced EA-WR. Oilers’ coach Dave Sobol said there’s plenty of room to improve.
“This is our opener, but I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t disappointed with what we did,” he said. “We’re not even close to where we want to be this season. It's time to kick it up. We have a lot of work to do.”
Perhaps nobody has more work ahead than first-year Marquette coach Steve Mitchell. The Explorers have just three wrestlers, and two of them competed here. Senior Deyton Mitchell snared fourth at 120.
“I volunteered to coach the team this season and we are trying to keep it going,” coach Mitchell said. “This sport is hard to build a program. You need 5-to-7 years to do that.”
Other teams and scores at CM were: Mattoon (127 points), East St. Louis (123), Highland (118), Herrin (117), Benton (115.5), Maplewood of Richmond Heights, Mo. (83), Centralia (59.5), Carlyle (24), Freeburg (16) and Breese Mater Dei (14).
East St. Louis’ Chrison Tucker (106) and Marquez Roberson (138) joined Vandalia’s Chaston Womack (138) Ryne Lipsey (126), and Jake Stewart (195) , Highland’s Trent Rakers (160) and Nick Czar (285), Jacksonville’s Dillon Miller (170), Maplewood’s Romelle Person (120), Benton’s Peyton Smith (145), Herrin’s Ted Cravens (182) and Mattoon’s Garrette Branson (220) as other individual champs.