WOOD RIVER — With the postseason right around the corner, area wrestling coaches are looking to perfect lineups and techniques.
That's why East Alton-Wood River head coach Dave Sobol strategically positions the EA-WR Super Duals to face fellow Class 1A wrestlers to know what's in store come regional time on Feb. 7.
“It's all about getting matches for kids, because now it's getting close to tournament time and kids need as many matches as they can get,” Sobol said. “I think it worked out well for everybody.
“We go to the Civic Memorial Tournament and the Mascoutah Tournament to give our kids some tough, hard-nosed matches and then we kind of taper it down to what we're going to see at tournament time, so it works out well.”
The Oilers were joined by the Civic Memorial Eagles, Carlyle Indians, Carrollton Hawks, Pinckneyville Panthers and Marquette Catholic Explorers. Breese Mater Dei wasn't able to show up for competition.
EA-WR split four duals on Saturday, defeating Carlyle 39-18 and Carrollton 42-18, but fell 36-18 to CM and 46-18 to Pinckneyville.
Sophomore Zac Blasioli of the Oilers, who finished sixth in the state in Class 1A at 160 as a freshman, had a good day Saturday. Blasioli (152) picked up three pinfall wins. His coach was stoked to see him perform well after struggling recently on the mat.
“Zac had a real good day. He looked as strong as ever,” Dave Sobol said. “He's been having a rough time the last week or two, but he really bounced back. Going into regionals, everything we do prior to that is preseason. You can make a good year great, or a bad year good. Going into regionals everyone is 0-0 and it's a new start.”
Drew Sobol (106), Austin Hammand (113), Donnie Meadows (138) and Tristan Moore (145) all logged wins on the mat for EA-WR, too.
Unfortunately, many of the weight classes weren't filled, leading to a fair amount of forfeits. Drew Sobol only got to wrestle once, but won via pin. He was just glad to be on his home mat.
“It's fun because we only have like two home matches a year so I try to have all my friends and stuff come out,” Drew Sobol said.
Ranked No. 8 in the state in 1A, he believes he's on the right track to a solid postseason.
“I feel great right now,” Drew Sobol said. “My goal this year is to be regional and sectional champ like I was last year and then get on the podium this year at state. That's a big goal for me this year.”
The Eagles had a solid day on the mat too, despite being shorthanded due to injuries and illnesses. Besides besting the Oilers, CM beat Pinckneyville 39-36 and Carrollton 40-6.
Head coach Chad Young said its tough for the Eagles right now as they try and get healthy.
“Right now we've got five guys out with injuries, so we're kind of hurting,” Young said. “We were worried about dual meet wise how this was going to work out, but the kids wrestled well and really got some good matches in. That's an important thing.
“We actually lost a guy last night to an appendicitis last night, (Brandon) Carpenter, he'd be our 182 pounder. He went home, they sent him to the hospital and they think he has an appendicitis so he's over at Children's Hospital right now, so we don't know if he'll even be able to come back this year. It changes the whole dynamic.”
Luckily the Eagles do have Drake Boverie, who remains undefeated on the season and ranked fifth in Class 2A at 132 pounds. Boverie had a pair of pins on Saturday and feels he's ready for postseason action.
“It's been really good and it's probably my best season so far,” the junior Boverie said. “I haven't lost yet, so nothing I can complain about. My plan is to just keep going like that. I want to get pretty high on the podium (at state) this year.”
Outside of Boverie, CM had wins on the mat Saturday from: Zach Brunden (113), Trent Brown (126), Brandon Copeland (138), Eian McIntire (145), Brayton Williams (152), Dillon Lawrence (170) and Jordan Stagner (195).
For the Explorers, it was a good day for both of their wrestlers, who battled in exhibition matches Saturday.
Deyton Mitchell (126) picked up a pair of technical fall victories and lost 10-4 to CM's Brown. Marquette's Xavier Jones (160) picked up his first win of the season 14-12 in overtime against Pinckneyville.
“It's absolutely good stuff when it comes to extra matches,” Marquette head coach Steve Mitchell said. “We can't even line up duals because we don't have enough kids. We only get four tournaments a year and some of the kids only get two or three matches because some tournaments aren't as big as others. These are very vital to end of the season prep. We take every opportunity we can when teams let us come in and get an exhibition match. Whatever it takes.”