ROXANA — The Roxana wrestling team welcomed the Mater Dei Knights, Carlyle Indians, Sacred Heart-Griffin Cyclones and the East Alton-Wood River Oilers to Larry Milazzo Memorial Gym on Tuesday.
The evening started with a moment of silence and remembrance for Mr. Jeff Welker, a beloved history teacher, coach, weight room instructor, former assistant athletic director and inspiration to many. Welker passed away at the age of 65 on Monday, Jan. 19 at Anderson Hospital in Maryville.
The Shells wrestling team honored what they felt Mr. Welker would have wanted and continued with the scheduled meet. Roxana showed determination, winning all four of their pairings by more than 20 points.
The Shells defeated Mater Dei 48-24 in their first matchup. The second matchup for Roxana resulted in a 51-6 decision over Caryle. The Shells grabbed wins over Sacred Heart-Griffin with a final of 47-18 and the EA-WR Oilers by a score of 45-24 to sweep the meet.
"We were given the choice by the administration to have the meet or cancel," Roxana head coach Rob Milazzo said. "The guys were good with it and wanted to go ahead and compete. We felt that coach Welker would have wanted us to continue on. This is what we're shooting for coming down the stretch. We want to win the regional if we can. If not win regional, we hope to get quite a few guys out individually."
The Oilers didn't leave Shell Country empty handed. EA-WR faced off with Mater Dei and Sacred Heart-Griffin and secured two wins out of three matches. The Oilers were handed their only loss to the Shells.
EA-WR scored a 48-12 victory over the Knights and a 42-18 triumph over the Cyclones. Drew Sobol and Zac Blasioli secured multiple wins to secure success for the Oilers.
"I think we did pretty good tonight," EA-WR head coach Dave Sobol said. "We beat the teams we probably should have. We're so thin in numbers, but with two team wins tonight, I'm thrilled with that. Some of our freshmen came through. We had some questions going in and they answered them. Tonight's matchups were fun. Roxana was tough, they are a long tradition program that's well coached. We didn't match up well with them. I'm always proud of these kids, they're fighters and don't give up easy wins."
In other matches on Tuesday, Mater Dei bested Sacred Heart-Griffin 36-30, while Carlyle bested SHG 24-21.
The Shells now travel to Civic Memorial at 6 p.m. Wednesday for a dual. The Oilers will have time to rest before heading to the Rochester Invitational on Saturday at 9 a.m.