Boys Varsity Wrestling
Game Summaries & Headlines.
photo by Bill Roseberry
Roxana’s Alex Maguire and Alton’s Pierre Evans battle during a dual match in Roxana on Jan. 24. The wrestling postseason gets underway Saturday. Roxana is cast in the 1A Carlyle Regional and Alton is at the 3A Granite City Regional.
It’s that time of year, the time when the wrestling mats heat up — the postseason.
The regional portion of the postseason begins on Saturday. Roxana and East Alton-Wood River are cast in the Class 1A Carlye Regional, while Civic Memorial competes in the 2A Jersey Regional and Alton heads to the 3A Granite City Regional.
“It’s peaking time and at this point you’ve got to be tough on your feet,” Alton head coach Eric Roberson said. “You’ve got to get more takedowns. This is a takedown game… The deeper you get into postseason you’ve got to be in great condition and you can gain a lot in a couple of weeks. They realize that because they’re experienced wrestlers and they know what they’ve got to do.”
There’s plenty of experience with all of the Riverbend programs. EA-WR has had a state qualifier for seven straight years and Alton has qualified one for nine consecutive seasons. The last time a CM Eagle didn’t wrestle at state is 1991, while Roxana’s streak dates back to 1976, which is the only season the Shells haven’t had a state wrestler.
Roxana’s Alex Maguire leads a collection of Riverbend wrestlers into the 2019 postseason. He’s ranked No. 2 at 152 pounds in the state, according to illinoismatmen.com. Maguire is coming off a junior campaign where he finished third in the state at 145.
That was the highest placement for a Roxana wrestler since Tommy Hill took third in 2006.
Other matmen entering the postseason who gained state experience last season include CM sophomores Caine and Caleb Tyus and EA-WR senior Jake Erslon. Caine made it at 106, Caleb at 113, and Erslon at 170. None were able to bring home medals. Caleb is ranked sixth at 120 pounds in 2A this season.
Maguire said he’s ready for a big postseason run, building off that third-place finish.
“The beginning of this season it motivated me to go win the thing, but then I had some stuff outside of wrestling going on in the middle of the season,” Maguire said. “I’ve gotten right at the end of the season, and I can’t settle for third place. I realized that I’m only going to have four more weeks of this for the rest of my life. I’m ready to crack down, and I think I’m going to come out with a win this year.”
Maguire has a loss to top-seeded Brody Ivy of Sterling Newman this season, but Shells head coach Rob Milazzo believes that won’t be repeated.
“He did lose to the kid who’s ranked first, but I think we’ve fixed some of those problems,” Milazzo said. “We’re looking forward to the big show. It’s all about getting to the finals and he’s ready and I think he’s going to peak at the right time like he always does.”
Alton graduated its state qualifier from last year — Courteney Wilson — but has guys that could make noise. Junior heavyweight Kyle Hughes is an honorable mention in 3A and made sectionals last year. Fellow junior Pierre Evans was also a sectional qualifier as a sophomore and senior Garrett Sims is a three-time sectional qualifier and has 100 wins for his career at AHS.
The 100 wins motivate Sims.
“It helped a lot because after looking up on the board and seeing how many people have gotten 100 wins and I look at the names and they’re all state qualifiers,” Sims said. “Now I’ve got to do that. I got my 100th win, I’ve got to qualify for state.”
Hughes’ motivation comes from his tournament success, including a top finish in Mascoutah, and help from past solid Redbird postseason performers like his older brother Qian’te Wagner.
“I wrestled all those guys and it was a good experience,” Hughes said. “You just learn a lot wrestling with them in the wrestling room.”
Roberson and Milazzo both admit it’s a new season now. Everyone starts with a new slate.
“You can get a lot better physically, technically and mentally in these next couple of weeks,” Roberson said.
“Anything can happen in the postseason,” Milazzo said.
2018 sectional qualifiers
Gus Kodros, 120
Garrett Sims, 126
Pierre Evans, 145
Courteney Wilson, 152
Nolan Woszczynski, 182
Kyle Hughes, 285
Caine Tyus, 106
Caleb Tyus, 113
Hudson Brown, 126
Peyton Bechtold, 145
Isaac Wojickiewcz, 152
Hunter Morales, 160
Jake Erslon, 170
Zach Kincade, 220
Adam Newberry, 285
Cody Cherry, 113
Zach Hayes, 120
Matthew Olbert, 126
Jordan Katzmarek, 132
Alex Maguire, 145
Logan Carpenter, 152
Blake Harkey, 195