BETHALTO — With 15 teams and multiple top individual wrestlers, the Civic Memorial Tournament was a good barometer of where teams are headed for the '15-16 season.
The Waterloo Bulldogs proved best on Saturday, winning the team title with 159 points, while East St. Louis was second with 139 points and Highland finished third with 134.5.
Locally, East Alton-Wood River was fifth with 130.5 points and CM placed 11th with 67.5 points.
“A lot of good wrestling, you've got a lot of good kids coming in, some state placers so there are some really good matches in the finals,” Eagles' head coach Chad Young said. “Everybody was down a little bit coming in with numbers overall, but everything went smooth and there was some good wrestling. It was a successful tournament.”
EA-WR head coach Dave Sobol was stoked with his team's performance. The Oilers finished with three individual champions, including Drew Sobol (106) earning Co-Outstanding Wrestler honors with Maplewood-Richmond Heights' Ronald Stewart (113).
Other title winners for EA-WR were: Zac Blasioli (152) and Zach Kincade (195).
“We brought three to the finals and three champions and we brought nine kids and eight medaled,” a smiling Dave Sobol said. “We don't have a senior in the lineup and Zac and Drew's leadership has really spilled over... You saw Zach Kincade go from a little freshman boy to a man overnight, so they physically mature, but in this sport the mental aspect is just as important.
“I mean, when was the last time you saw Wood River score over 100 points in a tournament?”
Drew Sobol was honored to garner top individual accolades at the tournament. He feels it's a good start to the season for himself and the Oilers.
“It was really cool,” he said. “First time ever, so I was really excited about it. We did a good job as a team. We were first for 1A, so we beat every 1A team in here, which is really good with having Vandalia here. They are always good. It was a good team effort today for sure.”
Sobol's championship at 106 came via a bye, a pair of pinfalls and a 9-6 decision over Mattoon's Trevor Edwards in the finals. The EA-WR junior standout is now 8-0 on the young season.
Blasioli, also a junior, had a fantastic run at 152 pounds. He had a bye and won by pin and decision to get to the finals where he pinned Austin Stewart of Waterloo in 1:45.
It was Blasioli's first championship in the CM Tournament.
“It started out my freshman and sophomore year and I didn't place as high as I wanted to,” Blasioli said. “I came in this year and I was actually on weight this year, my cardio is good. It was my No. 1 goal to be in the finals and win the finals once I got there. It was my goal the whole day. Freshman year I was fifth and last year was third.”
As for Kincade, just a sophomore, he feels like he's progressing well on the mat. He's 8-0 on the young season, too.
Kincade's championship came via a bye and a trio of pins. He stuck Mattoon's Jacob Wiebking in 2:46 in the title bout.
“I think I'm progressing at a pretty good pace, because last year I was a pretty average wrestler and this year up to this point I haven't lost yet,” Kincade said. “I think I'm really making a change from my freshman year to this year.”
Other placers for the Oilers were: Austin Hammond (7th at 120), Jake Erslon (5th at 160), Shane Lindquist (4th at 182), Daron Austin (6th at 220) and Jon Wright (5th at 285).
CM had six placers on the day, including: Hudson Brown (5th at 113), Zach Wells (8th at 120), Brandon Copeland (3rd at 145), Ian McIntire (7th at 152), Dillon Lawrence (7th at 160) and Jordan Stagner (3rd at 220).
Senior Drake Boverie, who finished fourth at state a year ago, is not wrestling for the Eagles this season and they are still dealing with some injuries. Young hopes to get his squad healthier as the season progresses.
“We've got a lot of young kids and we've still got a couple guys out,” Young said. “(Brandon) Carpenter was a sectional qualifier for us last year and a match away from going to state and he's out right now with a shoulder injury. Stagner did real well and he's going to be bringing his weight down. These were our first matches for the season. It's a good spot for us to still figure out what we need to work on and tweak, but overall I thought the kids did really well. There were a lot of positives, but it's about what do we need to do to get to the next level and I think we learned a few things today.”
The team standings rounded out with: Waterloo, East Side, Highland, Mattoon (131.5), EA-WR, Vandalia (129), Benton (126), Jersey (112), Maplewood-Richmond Heights (78.5), Jacksonville (76), CM, Carlyle (52), Centralia (51), Herrin (39) and Freeburg (26).
The remainder of the individual champions were: Stewart (113), Chaston Womack of Vandalia (120), Cooper Secker of Freeburg (126), Tyler Dunn of East Side (132), Dylan Torrey of Jersey (138), Peyton Smith of Benton (145), Trent Rakers of Highland (160), Brody Kirsch of Highland (170), Korey Schaefer of Waterloo (182), Garrette Branson of Mattoon (220) and Kendrick Woolsey of Vandalia (285).