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Wrestlers take third at Litchfield Invitational

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By Jonathan Stark

Heading into the individual regional this weekend, the Vandalia wrestling squad is on a nice clip after picking up a third-place finish at the Litchfield Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

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"I though we wrestled pretty well all weekend," Vandalia coach Jason Clay said. "We had some matches that we could have won, but we had some matches that I didn't know how we'd do in. So it was a good tournament all the way around."

Vandalia had eight wrestlers finish in the top five of their weight class, with two of them taking home first-place honors.

Justin Hill made it to the championship of the 112-pound weight class and was pinned in the second period, taking home second-place honors.

In the 119-pound weight class, Trevor Pyle won a thrilling 11-4 decision in the championship.

"Trevor Pyle looked good this weekend," Clay said.

John Vosholler made it to the third-place match. The sophomore pinned his opponent in 1:21, to take home third place.

Sophomore Daniel Edwards, who has come on strong of late, also made it to the third-place match. He fell behind 1-2 in the first period and couldn't make up any ground in the second. In the final period, he was able to get a takedown and go up 3-2, winning the match by decision.

"It seems like Edwards just keeps getting better," Clay said.

Controversy struck and Vandalia's three-match win streak came to an end in Senior Alex Foster's 152-pound match.

Foster fell behind 2-1 in the first period and then 3-1 in the second. In the final seconds of the third period, he was able to get a point on an escape to cut the score to 3-2. With less than 10 seconds remaining. Foster looked to have taken down his opponent for a two-point score, but the official didn't see it that way and did not award Foster the points that would have won the match.

"It's a judgment: It's the officials judgment. There's not much you can do," Clay said. "I felt like he had both legs and the kid's hip was on the mat, beyond reaction time, it was two points. But that's OK, we're not going to use that as an excuse, because we had other opportunities in the match to win, other than that last situation. Sometimes that happens, it's a human judgement."

Vandalia fans were on the feet in frustration and head coach Jason Clay tried plead his case to no avail. A frustrated and upset Foster took fourth place, while the Vandalia faithful let the official know what they thought of his call, or lack of one.

Levi Ulmer made it to the 160-pound championship, a class he won a few weeks ago at the Princeton Invitational. Ulmer couldn't pick up any points in the first two periods, falling behind, 0-4. He made a run in the third, tying the match at 5-5, but would lose taking home second place.

Senior Caleb Walton pinned his 189-pound foe in 1:29 to place fifth.

Jacob Whalen closed out Vandalia's trip to Litchfield with a first place finish in the 215 -pound weight class. The senior won a 3-2 decision.

"Jacob Whalen continues to add to and improve," Clay said. "He had a critical take down. He had a nice shot in there and took him down to win the match. That's good for his confidence to see that he can attack and shoot and score."

Even with two first place finishes and eight total top five finishes, Vandalia had to settle for third with 149 points.

"It's good to get some quality matches in here and I saw some good performances and saw some good things," Clay said. "We've got some confidence going into the regional, because that's what we're going for."

The seed meeting for the regional tournament was on Wednesday, results were not available at press time.

"Hopefully we'll keep wrestling well, I think we will be in good shape team-wise so we'll have a good chance."

Senior night

Four senior wrestlers were honored prior to Thursday nights dual against O'Fallon.

Alex Foster, Jacob Whalen, Caleb Walton and Jake Harris were acknowledge at the final regular season home dual.

"This was a really good group of men" Clay said. "They're really well grown. The four of them have always been there and they're good leaders. They do a good job being dedicated. I just wish we could have got a win for them on on senior night."

The night was bitter sweet as Vandalia could not pull off the win, falling to O'Fallon, 40-22.

"We left some points out there," coach Jason Clay said. "We only got one pin tonight, so that's a credit to O'Fallon."

After Trevor Alstat and John Vosholler dropped their matches, Harris came through with a big 9-0 win, to get Vandalia on the board.

Following a forfeit at the 140, Daniel Edwards won a hard fought match. Edwards fell behind 6-8 in the first period but came back in the second and third to take a 10-8 lead before getting a pin with 38 ticks left on the clock. Clay said that Edwards has shown flashes of being outstanding.

Foster won his final home match by decision, 20-6, in the 160-pound class. And sophomore Levi Ulmer followed up with a 14-0 victory.

The final two seniors on the mat were Walton and Whalen, who were both defeated. Walton was pinned in the second period and Whalen lost a 3-1 decision.

Trevor Pyle picked up a 15-3 win in the 119-pound class.

Of the 12 matches that went to the mat, only three were ended via a pin.

"Hopefully we'll be able to get these seniors through to the state championship, " Clay said.