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LITCHFIELD – Despite a tough time in the championship semifinals, five Vandals finished in the top three at the Litchfield Invitational to give Vandalia a fourth-place team finish.
Six Vandalia wrestlers were in the semifinals on Saturday, but only freshman Chaston Womack prevailed at 106 pounds. His second-place finish would lead the Vandals, who scored 141 team points.
“We had a rough go-around in the semis,” said coach Jason Clay. “The competition is good for us, since we’ll run into those guys down the road at regionals, sectionals and state.”
Seniors Zach Jackson (160) and Sean Newcomb (195), and sophomores Dalton Blankenship (138) and Ryne Lipsey (113) each rallied from their semifinal loss to finish in third place.
Junior Tyler Dagen (145) placed fourth, and sophomore Jake Stewart (152) and freshman Kendrick Woolsey (285) finished sixth. Woolsey was wrestling in his first-ever varsity tournament.
The finals opened with an exciting match for the Vandals, as Womack and Litchfield’s Victor Kalaher needed four overtime periods to decide a winner.
Womack, who was 2-1 in the event, trailed for the first 4:31 of the match before putting Kalaher in a near-fall to go ahead, 5-4, but Womack’s control was reversed with 13 seconds left in the bout.
Right before the buzzer, Womack escaped Kalaher’s control, and neither wrestler would score until Kalaher reversed Womack’s hold with one second left in the fourth overtime.
Kalaher is ranked No. 11 at 106 pounds by Illinois Matmen.
Lipsey then controlled the lead for the entire match against Mt. Olive’s Lee Welch to win 9-6, while No. 10-ranked Blankenship scored six points in the second period of his 6-3 win against Litchfield’s Caleb Thompson, who is ranked No. 12.
Both Vandals finished the invitational at 2-1.
Jackson had little trouble defeating Roxana’s Aaron Leuck, winning, 11-3, and Newcomb took down Mt. Olive’s Dakota White, 1-0.
Both were 3-1 at the event.
“I am proud of them for coming back,” Clay said. “Sometimes, it’s hard to come back and win (after losing in the semifinals earlier in the day).”
Dagen battled tough against Litchfield’s Justin Wright, but came out on the wrong side of a 4-0 decision to finish the event at 2-2.
Stewart lost, 20-10, and Woolsey was pinned. Both wrestlers were 3-2 in the invite.
The Litchfield Invite was the final tuneup before this Saturday’s regional tournament, which will be held at Mt. Carmel High School.
There, Vandalia will be seeking its 19th straight regional championship.
“Our expectation is to go down there and win, but it will be a battle,” Clay said. “We have to wrestle tough and expect a dogfight.
“We have to score points at multiple weight classes, and I think we can.”
at Litchfield Invite
106 – Chaston Womack
•First round: Bye
•Quarterfinals: Won by fall at 3:24
•Semifinals: Won, 10-2
•Championship: Lost, 8-6 (4 OT)
113 – Ryne Lipsey
•First round: Bye
•Quarterfinals: Won, 10-2
•Semifinals: Lost, 8-4
•Third-place: Won, 9-6
126 – Adam Palmer
•First round: Won by fall at 3:37
•Quarterfinals: Lost by fall at 2:40
•Consolation: Lost by fall at 3:38
132 – Rodney Tedrick
•First round: Won by fall at 0:29
•Quarterfinals: Lost, 6-3
•Consolation: Won, 11-3
•Consolation SF: Lost, 8-5
138 – Dalton Blankenship
•First round: Bye
•Quarterfinals: Won, 16-0
•Semifinals: Lost, 7-3
•Third-place: Won, 6-3
145 – Tyler Dagen
•First round: Won, 10-2
•Quarterfinals: Won, 14-6
•Semifinals: Lost, 8-2
•Third-place: Lost, 4-0
152 – Jake Stewart
•First round: Won by fall at 5:19
•Quarterfinals: Lost, 5-2
•Consolation QF: Won, 14-6
•Consolation SF: Won by fall at 5:22
•Fifth-place: Lost, 20-10
160 – Zach Jackson
•First round: Won, 13-3
•Quarterfinals: Won, 9-2
•Semifinals: Lost, 9-8
•Third-place: Won, 11-3
170 – Bobby Bradley
•First round: Won by fall at 2:25
•Quarterfinals: Lost, 13-2
•Consolation QF: Won by fall at 1:48
•Consolation SF: Lost, 16-5
182 – Nathan Lutz
•First round: Lost by fall at 2:37
•Consolation: Lost, 18-3
195 – Sean Newcomb
•First round: Won by fall at 0:31
•Quarterfinals: Won by fall at 1:54
•Semifinals: Lost by fall at 5:06
•Third-place: Won, 1-0
220 – Blake Richards
•First round: Lost by fall at 2:38
•Consolation: lost by fall at 1:08
285 – Kendrick Woolsey
•First round: Won by fall at 1:27
•Quarterfinals: Lost, 11-4
•Consolation QF: Won by fall at 0:47
•Consolation SF: Won by fall at 1:49
•Fifth-place: Lost by fall at 0:47
•First: Lena-Winslow, 278.5
•Second: Litchfield, 197
•Third: Roxana, 157
•Fourth: Vandalia, 141
•Fifth: West Frankfort, 133
Last Thursday, the Vandals had their final dual meet of the regular season, falling 50-19 at O’Fallon.
Senior Zach Jackson recorded the team’s only pin in the match, while senior Sean Newcomb, junior Tyler Dagen, and sophomores Dalton Blankenship and Ryne Lipsey each won minor decisions.
Vandalia closes the regular season with a 19-11 mark, but could still make it to 20 wins if it advances to the dual team state tournament.
Thursday, Jan. 24
•106: Chaston Womack lost by fall at 3:01
•113: Lipsey won, 7-4
•120: Luke Tessman lost by fall at 1:39
•126: Adam Palmer lost, 18-3
•132: Rodney Tedrick lost by fall at 3:25
•138: Blankenship won, 7-1
•145: Dagen won, 3-2
•152: Jake Stewart lost, 17-5
•160: Bobby Bradley lost, 17-5
•170: Jackson won by fall at 4:42
•182: Nathan Lutz lost by fall at 0:19
•195: Newcomb won, 11-3
•220: Kolten Etcheson lost by fall at 2:39
•285: Kendrick Woolsey lost by fall at 4:36