Photo by Bill Roseberry
EA-WR’s Zac Blasioli shoots on Shelbyville’s Garrett Brachbill in the Class 1A state finals at 152 pounds. Blasioli lost 4-3 in the finals to bring home a second-place state medal. He led a large contingency of local wrestlers at state.
It was another successful season for Greater Alton at the individual state wrestling tournament.
Ten local grapplers made the cut for the state stage and in the end, three brought home medals.
East Alton-Wood River junior Zac Blasioli led the charge with a second-place finish at 152 pounds in the Class 1A field. Fellow Oiler junior Drew Sobol (106) was fourth, while Roxana senior Jarod Foiles (132) garnered sixth place, also both in 1A competition.
In addition, Alton senior Connor Broyles (132) fell a win short of the medal rounds in 3A and Civic Memorial junior Brandon Carpenter (182) did the same in 2A.
Other wrestlers to punch their tickets to state were: EA-WR sophomore Zach Kincade (195), Roxana freshman Alex Maguire (138), junior Brett Nyswonger (220) and senior Owen Robinson (285) in 1A and Alton senior Alejandro Lopez (145) in 3A.
EA-WR head coach Dave Sobol couldn’t say enough about the efforts of his Oilers. As a team this season, they were 11-9 in dual competition and he returns his entire squad next season.
“There was not a senior in the lineup and it was fun and we were 11-9 teamwise, but it’s (state) where we want to score and make our impact,” coach Sobol said. “And that’s throughout our wrestling community.”
Blasioli was bummed he didn’t complete his ultimate goal of becoming a state champion, but the fact he was in the title bout speaks volumes. He became just the third Oiler wrestler to compete in a state final in school history, joining Josh Bennett (2009) and Tony Kusmanoff (1961). Bennett won a title at 103 pounds, while Kusmanoff was second at 133.
Blasioli also became the first EA-WR grappler to own multiple state medals. He finished sixth at 160 pounds as a freshman in 2014.
“I’m coming back for it next year most definitely; there’s no stopping me,” Blasioli said of his quest for a state title as a senior.
Blasioli tied his title match with Shelbyville’s Garrett Brachbill at 3-3 in the final minute by logging a takedown, but Brachbill garnered an escape point late to eke out a 4-3 win for his state crown.
“As soon as I got the takedown I went for a quick, cheap tilt and put him to his back,” Blasioli said. “I didn’t get the count for the back points and then it was just keep him down and keep pressure on him. He’s a tough wrestler and it was definitely a close match (loss) at sectionals; I knew it was going to be a tough match (at state).”
Drew Sobol’s fourth-place finish secured another first in EA-WR history. It marked the first time two Oiler wrestlers brought home state medals in the same season.
Roxana’s Foiles rallied to bring home his state medal for the Shells. It was the second straight season Roxana garnered individual state medals. Last year James Henseler was sixth at 106 pounds and Dalton Brito was fifth at 126.
Foiles finished a round short of a medal as a junior, so head coach Rob Milazzo was pleased to see him bring home a medal in his final try.
“He had a good season; obviously we’re disappointed,” Milazzo said. “He had a really good match in the consolation semis and if that would have been a different story, maybe he would have gotten third. But everybody here has the same goal, all fighting for that medal so we’re proud of him no matter what. I’m proud of all my kids.”
The Shells have a bright future too, as Maguire and Nyswonger are back next season with a slew of other good young wrestlers.
“They work hard and once they get here I can’t do anything else,” Milazzo said. “It feels helpless sometimes because I want to be able to help them more than what I can. The future is bright for kids like Maguire and Brett Nyswonger had a great tournament. We’ll go back to drawing board and get after it soon and next year we’ll be back and hopefully have a better turnout than what we did, but first and foremost we’re proud of Jarod for completing his goal of getting a state medal.”
Alton sent five wrestlers to state in ‘15, led by four seniors and capped it with Phyllip and Nicholas DeLoach each nabbing fourth-place medals. They were the first multiple medal winners in the same season for AHS.
One of those five qualifiers in ‘15 was Broyles. He was joined by Lopez at state this year, during a season when the Redbirds were picked to be down by some wrestling pundits.
“(Broyles and Lopez) were two guys that put in a lot of time and hopefully the younger guys will look and see what they did and the sacrifices they made,” Alton head coach Eric Roberson said. “Connor was a two-time state qualifier and that’s tough to do in 3A. They’re both great kids, great students and we’re going to miss them.
“The five or six standouts we had last year were what everyone was focusing on and they didn’t really see the kids behind the scenes. This was the year for those kids and they got to shine a little bit.”
CM’s season was plagued with adversity, but Carpenter was definitely a bright spot.
The Eagles had two state medalists in ‘15 and Carpenter narrowly missed earning a medal in ‘16. He lost in an ultimate tiebreaker 3-2 to Hunter Crowley of Mahomet-Seymour just before the medal round.
Carpenter was the Triad Regional champion, pinning all his opponents on the way to the crown. He finished fourth at the Mahomet-Seymour Sectional to qualify for state.
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