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Starting in his freshman year, Vandalia Community High School wrestler Alex Foster got off to a pretty good clip in stacking up victories. After his sophomore season, he was already at 62 wins, more than halfway to the coveted 100 wins club. It's an exclusive club that only 18 former Vandal wrestlers are a part of.
“Knowing that not everyone is going to get their hundred wins, this is a pretty hard achievement,” Foster said.
On Saturday afternoon, the group welcomed Foster as its first new member since Adam Bowling a few years ago.
“I’m pretty excited, I’ve worked hard for it for four years now. It just takes hard work and you have to keep at it,” Foster said.
Foster’s accomplishment is even more impressive due to the fact that he has wrestled in four different weight classes in four years.
As a freshman in 2006, he was at 112 pounds, and the following season he jumped up to 125. For his junior year, he came out at 140 and this year, he is even bigger at 152. Foster said just growing up plays a large role in his size transformation.
“It makes you stronger and bigger to wrestle different people (and weight classes), because once you wrestle the same person over and over again, it gets to where you know them and they know you, and you’re not going to get anywhere,” he said.
Entering this season just a handful away from 100 wins, Foster decided to change up his wrestling style. In past seasons he played more of a defensive role. This season, he took a more aggressive offensive role.
“This year, I try to be more offensive and just try to break people, try to get them down. Once you get them down, you should win every time,” Foster said.
Foster’s style differs from other wrestlers. In a lot of cases, once both wrestlers are down, they lock up and just try to out last the other wrestler. Not Foster. Once his opponent is down and he racks up a few points, he and the other wrestler are on their feet again, just so Foster can break them again.
“I think a major part of letting them up and taking them down constantly is it just breaks their spirit,” he said. “Once they figure out they can’t do anything against you and you just keep taking them down they’re like, ‘I don’t want to wrestle anymore,’ and they want to quit.”
Foster isn’t quitting though now that he has his 100th win. He is shooting for 130 and to get in the top five in VCHS wrestling history. He will need 133 total wins to break the top five, edging Gary Cox’s 132, set in 2004.
Jo-E Smith holds the record for most wins with 155, set in 2007.
As for how the season is going, Foster is happy with how the team is progressing. This past weekends triangular showed Vandalia where some of its weak spots are. Foster thinks that by the end of the year, Vandalia will once again be state contenders.
Foster’s 100th win came against Oakwood on Saturday in a 22-9 victory. Vandalia would go on to beat Oakwood, 53-23.
Vandalia had eight pins against Oakwood, including five straight too close the match. Marcus Mosley pinned his man in just five seconds.
A lot of Vandalia weaknesses were exposed in a 42-25 loss to Leroy. Vandalia opened with three straight losses, but Trevor Pyle was about to break the skid with a come-from-behind victory. Trailing 3-2 with 30 seconds in the third period, he scored three points to take a 5-3 lead, but gave up two points before time expired. Pyle pulled out the win in overtime, 7-5. Vandalia would win two straight matches before losing again. Foster picked up his 99th win against Leroy.
The Vandals won only six matches against Leroy. John Vosholler won, 8-3. Jake Haris won, 12-3 and Jacob Whalen won, 5-3.
Vandalia defeat Herrin, 39-32, and Althoff, 56-21.
Against Herrin, Vandalia lost five matches. Justin Hill won the 119-pound match, 10-5. Pyle was also victorious, winning 9-3.
Vandalia lost only four matches to Althoff. One was by forfeit and the other three were the 189-, 215- and 285-pound weight classes. Jake Harris (140-pound weight class) pinned his opponent in 22 seconds.
The Vandals beat Hillsboro on Dec. 10, 63-3.
They were in action again on Wednesday night at Civic Memorial High School. Results were not available at press time.
Vandalia’s next meet is the Mascoutah Tournament. Starting Friday at 4 p.m. and continuing Saturday at 9:30 a.m.