The stage was set for the individual state wrestling tournament last week and the Greater Alton programs are well-represented.
Thursday marked the beginning of the three-day wrestling extravaganza at the University of Illinois’ State Farm Center in Champaign. State champions will be crowned Saturday evening following the annual Grand March, where all the finalists enter the floor together prior to the championship bouts and are introduced.
Roxana qualified four wrestlers and East Alton-Wood River advanced three for the 1A state competition. Civic Memorial sent one wrestler in 2A action and Alton qualified two in the 3A field. Marquette Catholic didn’t have a wrestling team this season.
This year’s crop of grapplers will try to replicate the successes of past Greater Alton standouts. Roxana, CM and EA-WR all boast state champions in their pasts. Kip Kristoff of the Eagles set the bar high with four state medals, including three state titles: 1982 (98), 1983 (112) and 1985 (145).
The local programs made their presences felt last season, as Alton’s twins Phyllip DeLoach (145) and Nicholas DeLoach (152) each finished fourth in ‘15, CM’s Drake Boverie (132) was fourth, Roxana’s Dalton Brito (126) was fifth and CM’s Brayton Williams (152) and Roxana’s James Henseler (106) were each sixth.
Alton advanced seniors Connor Broyles (132) and Alejandro Lopez (145) to the 3A state stage this season.
Broyles was ranked No. 7 in the state at 132, according to www.illinoismatmen.com at press time. He earned the 3A Bolingbrook Sectional championship, which in turn garnered him a No. 2 seed in the state 132-pound bracket. Broyles entered the tournament with a 41-3 record on the season.
Lopez was fourth at sectionals and faced an uphill battle with seedings. An honorable mention in the state at 145, Lopez was a No. 14 seed in the state bracket. He entered state competition with a 38-7 mark.
On the 2A circuit, the Eagles’ lone representative is junior Brandon Carpenter. He was fourth at 182 pounds at the 2A Mahomet-Seymour Sectional and garnered a No. 15 seed for the state bracket. He entered with a 29-8 record and was an honorable mention at 182 pounds in the state.
Roxana boasts the most entries of the Greater Alton schools, with four wrestlers in the 1A field.
Senior Jarod Foiles (132) nabbed second place at the 1A Carterville Sectional and was an eight seed entering state competition. Foiles was ranked fifth in the latest state polls at 132 and owned a 34-13 record going into state action.
Alex Maguire (138) is just a freshman for the Shells and getting his first taste of the state festivities. Maguire was second at sectionals and drew a No. 6 seed in the state bracket. He came in with a 30-12 record and was an honorable mention in the state rankings at 138.
Junior Brett Nyswonger (220) has been heating up for Roxana. Nyswonger was second at Mahomet-Seymour, garnering a No. 6 seed in the state bracket at 220. He entered with a 21-14 mark and was an honorable mention in the state rankings.
Owen Robinson is a senior heavyweight for the Shells and clawed his way to state with a fourth-place finish at sectionals. Robinson was the No. 15 seed in the 285 state bracket. He owned a 33-13 record going into state and was the No. 12 seed at www.illinoismatmen.com.
EA-WR is represented well in the 1A field too, and with all underclassmen.
Junior Drew Sobol rolled to the 1A Carterville Sectional championship at 106 pounds. Sobol entered state with a 36-3 record and garnered a No. 4 seed in the 106-pound state bracket. He was perched in second at 106 in the state rankings.
Fellow junior Zac Blasioli fell just short of a sectional crown, finishing second at 152 pounds in Carterville. Blasioli was the sixth seed in the state bracket. He entered with a 36-2 overall record and was sitting No. 4 in the 152-pound state poll. Blasioli owns a sixth-place medal at 160 pounds from his freshman campaign already.
The final entry for the Oilers is sophomore Zach Kincade (195). Kincade earned his way to state with a fourth-place finish in Carterville and is the No. 16 seed in the state bracket. He came into state with a 25-8 record and was an honorable mention at 195 pounds in the state rankings.
Let’s wish good luck to all our local state competitors and I’m certain there will be more state hardware brought back to the Greater Alton area by the end of the weekend.
State wrestling kicked off with preliminary rounds at 1 p.m. Thursday. The quarterfinals and first-round wrestlebacks in all three classes began at 8:30 a.m. Friday and the semifinals of the championship bracket are set for 7 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, the quarterfinal wrestlebacks are at 9 a.m., the semifinal wrestlebacks are at 11 a.m. and the third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place matches are on the docket for 1 p.m. with the Grand March scheduled for 5:30 p.m. with the state finals to follow. Title matches will begin at 285 pounds.
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