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Photo by Theo Tate
Roxana senior Jared Foiles (top) wrestles Carlinville’s Kyle Dixon in the 132-pound championship match of the Class 1A Althoff Regional on Saturday. Foiles won 8-5.
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Photo by Theo Tate
East Alton-Wood River junior Zac Blasioli wrestles Mount Olive’s Jonny Darrah in the 152-pound championship match of the Class 1A Althoff Regional on Saturday. Blasioli won 19-8.
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Photo by Theo Tate
Roxana junior Brett Nyswonger holds his championship bracket on Saturday at the Class 1A Althoff Regional on Saturday. Nyswonger pinned Althoff’s Gage Rainey in the 220-pound title match.
BELLEVILLE – Jared Foiles can’t believe that his high school wrestling career is about to come to an end.
“It’s hard to think about and I’ve been thinking about it this whole past week while I was in practice,” the Roxana senior said. “When things are getting harder and I’m running out of breath, I push myself harder because I think I’ve got two weeks left of this after regionals and I've got to make it worth it.”
Foiles is a step away from another trip to the state tournament. He captured his first regional title after beating Carlinville’s Kyle Dixon 8-5 in the 132-pound championship match at the Class 1A Althoff Regional tournament.
“I’m pretty excited,” Foiles said. “I plan to win sectionals this year so I can get a good spot at state this year. I hope to place in the top six, for sure, so I can make it farther than last year and do better.”
Foiles is one of eight Roxana wrestlers who qualified for next week’s sectional tournament in Carlinville. The others are seniors Blake Whyers (120) and Owen Robinson (285), junior Brett Nyswonger (220) and freshmen Alex Maguire (138), David Akeman (113), Tyreik Holmes (195) and Drew Huff (170).
Nyswonger won his first regional title; Whyers, Robinson, Maguire and Huff each finished second and Akeman and Huff placed third.
“I’m proud of the boys,” Roxana coach Rob Milazzo said. “Obviously, you want to do better. But they did a nice job and I’m really excited to move on to next week and see what we can do at sectionals and hopefully we can get some kids to the state tournament.”
Roxana placed third in the eight-team regional with 126 points. The Shells trailed Althoff by one point going into the championship round.
“We knew we needed to have a bigger lead if we wanted to beat Althoff,” Milazzo said. “They had a lot of firepower going into that last round.”
Also on Saturday, the East Alton-Wood River Oilers placed fourth with 122 points. They qualified six to sectionals; four of them won regional championships.
The winners were juniors Drew Sobol (106), Zac Blasioli (152) and Jon Wright (285) and sophomore Zach Kincade (195). Sophomore Chris Staggs (132) and freshman Jake Erslon (160) finished third in their respective weight classes.
“We had four in finals and four champs,” EA-WR coach Dave Sobol said. “I’m elated over it. The kids looked really good. It’s all about peaking at the right time and we had a pretty hellacious week in the practice room and we’ve gone all out and the kids’ effort really paid off today.”
Sobol and Blasioli won a regional title for the third year in a row. They’re both looking to qualify for state for the third straight year.
“Drew and Zac are our two leaders,” Sobol said. “They’re our heart and soul. They’ve been to the state championships every year. Zac got his 100th win the other day and Drew got his 100th win today. They’re leaders without being vocal. They do it by their actions.”
Foiles is looking to qualify for state for the second straight season. Last year, he earned a trip to Champaign by placing second in the Vandalia Sectional.
Foiles also will be making his third straight sectional tournament appearance. He finished third in regionals at 132 as a junior and second at 120 as a sophomore.
On Saturday, Foiles earned a first-round bye and cruised to a 13-0 win over Althoff’s Grace Kristoff in the semifinals to earn a spot in the championship match against Dixon.
Foiles wrestled Dixon for the first time on Saturday.
“I haven’t looked at him before, but I was planning on doing what I need to do, stay tough on my feet and take some shots,” Foiles said.
Milazzo said Foiles has been valuable since he joined the Roxana wrestling program in his freshman year.
“He’s been phenomenal,” the Roxana coach said. “I’ve known him since he started in our program in third grade and he has done a fantastic job all the way through. We’re really proud of him. I hope the best for him. I hope we get him at the podium at the state tournament.”
Foiles started wrestling when he was in elementary school.
“It’s just me,” Foiles said. “Nobody on my team can mess up for me and it’s all me. So if I lose, it’s all me. If I win, it’s all me. You’ve got to have a little mental toughness and you got to go out there and it’s all you.”
Foiles said he was determined to continue wrestling after missing his entire freshman season with a dislocated elbow.
“In my freshman year, I went to regionals, sectionals and state with the team and I saw some people who placed at 106 and that’s where I was planning to go,” Foiles said. “I compared myself to them and I beat a couple of them and I could hang with those guys. I figured that if I went out, I can go out to state and try to do some damage up there.”
This year, Foiles is enjoying an outstanding senior season. Besides winning a regional title on Saturday, the Roxana senior won 33 matches.
Foiles credits Milazzo for his successful year.
“He’s been pushing me around and he’s been looking at my film,” Foiles said. “The things that I’ve been doing wrong, he’s been trying to fix those all year. A big credit goes out to him because I really changed my style of wrestling throughout the whole year and from last year. He always tries to fix things for me.”
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