Photo by Bill Roseberry
Alton’s Phyllip DeLoach hand fights with Edwardsville’s Gavin McBride at 145 pounds on Jan. 15 at AHS. DeLoach, who hasn’t lost this season, will be a favorite to win a regional championship on Saturday as the wrestling postseason gets under way.
When Saturday hits the real season begins for the Greater Alton area wrestlers — the postseason.
The Alton Redbirds are part of the Class 3A Belleville West Regional, Civic Memorial heads to the Class 2A Waterloo Regional and East Alton-Wood River and Marquette Catholic join Roxana at Larry Milazzo Gym for the Class 1A Roxana Regional. It looks to be a grueling first weekend on the playoff mat.
“That’s what we preached to the boys; everybody’s record is 0-0 right now,” EA-WR head coach Dave Sobol said. “It doesn’t matter what you’re ranked, or how good or bad your season has been. The fact is you can make a bad season good and good season great.”
Alton has had a stellar season, winning tournaments in Mascoutah, Geneva and Batavia. The Redbirds (20-3) finish the regular season ranked No. 23 in the state in Class 3A, according to www.illinoismatmen.com. They matched a team record in wins, tying ‘03-04 and ‘10-11.
Phyllip DeLoach (145) is ranked fourth, while his brother Nicholas DeLoach (152) is No. 7 and Qiant’e Wagner (160) is 10th. The trio of seniors looks to lead the Birds after qualifying for state last year.
Junior Connor Broyles (120), sophomore KeOntay Holmes (182) and senior Darian Pierson (285) are honorable mentions in the state, too.
Alton will be joined at regionals by: Belleville East, Belleville West, Collinsville, Danville, Edwardsville, Granite City, O’Fallon and Quincy. EHS is ranked 21st in the state, while West is rated No. 25.
CM heads to Waterloo with Cahokia, East St. Louis, Highland, Jersey, Mascoutah, Quincy Notre Dame, Triad and the host Bulldogs. Triad is ranked No. 10 in the state in Class 2A, while Waterloo is 20th.
The Eagles will be led by junior Drake Boverie. Boverie is No. 5 at 132 pounds. Boverie is riding high after winning an individual Mississippi Valley Conference title on Jan. 31.
Brayton Williams (152) is No. 4 in the state and was second at the MVC Tournament. He looks to be a top dog for CM on Saturday, along with Brandon Copeland (182) and Jordan Stagner (195).
Fans who want to stay local and see good grappling, head to Roxana. Head coach Rob Milazzo is happy to host the grueling Class 1A showdown.
The field at Roxana will include: Marquette, Althoff, Carlinville, Carrollton, Litchfield, Mount Olive, Pittsfield and EA-WR.
After winning the regional a year ago and eventually qualifying for dual team state, Milazzo knows that will be tough to repeat.
“Oh yeah, there are going to be some really good individuals and I’d say Althoff and Litchfield are the favorites,” Milazzo said. “Althoff has a few holes, but Litchfield I know is the only team with a full lineup, so I think they’ll be battling it out.”
Unfortunately, Dalton Brito of the Shells, ranked No. 6 in the state at 126, has been sidelined with a non-wrestling-related arm injury and hasn’t been on the mat for a couple weeks. Milazzo is confident he can perform Saturday.
“We’re working closely with our trainer and she seems to think that he’ll be able to go,” Milazzo said of Brito. “We don’t know at what capacity. Right now he hasn’t been on the mat in almost two weeks. He’s making good progress and we’ll see how it goes.”
James Henseler, No. 9 at 106; Jarod Foiles, No. 10 at 132; Luke Curtis, an honorable mention at 182; and Brett Nyswonger, an honorable mention at 220, have chances for success for the Shells. Curtis is going for his third straight regional crown.
Henseler will be mired in arguably the toughest weight class in the tourney at 106. He’s joined by Collin Davidson (No. 6) of Litchfield and Drew Sobol (No. 8) of the Oilers.
Sobol topped Davidson 2-0 in a recent bout. He and Zac Blasioli (152), both sophomores, will be the heavy hitters for EA-WR. Blasioli finished sixth in the state at 160 a year ago. Sobol hasn’t been scored against on the mat since the Mascoutah Tournament on Dec. 20.
EA-WR head coach Dave Sobol thinks Zach Kincade (182) and Austin Hammand (113) have shown flashes this season and should compete Saturday.
“If we get more than two out, it’s kind of a bonus,” Dave Sobol said. “They’re all freshmen and some of them have the taste of blood, but with freshmen you never know.”
Marquette, competing with a limited squad, will see its best chance to get through come from Deyton Mitchell, an honorable mention at 120 pounds.