Vandals top PORTA, fall to O’Fallon

Quantity is good. Quality is even better.

And the combination of the two is downright fantastic – especially when there’s an element of revenge involved.

Those facts considered, the Vandalia wrestling team could not have had a better week last week, as it went 4-0 and improved to 21-1 on the season.

One of those wins came against a team that topped the Vandals a year ago – a team that is ranked fourth in the state this season.

The Vandals went 3-0 Saturday at the Clinton Quad, with the highlight of the day being a 41-25 victory over Petersburg PORTA.

The Vandals could not keep the revenge trend going at O’Fallon on Tuesday, however, as former VCHS coach Glenn Exton’s team handed the Vandals just their second loss of the season, 36-22. Exton’s emerging Class 2A power topped Vandalia last year as well.

Vandalia can still hang its hat on a signature win over PORTA, a team that finished ahead of the Vandals three weeks ago at the Princeton Invitational.

‘The guys wrestled real well,’ Vandalia coach Jason Clay said. ‘PORTA’s a quality team. It’s kind of neat that we got to wrestle them last, and it was a real good match.’

After the teams split their first six matches, Alex Foster got the Vandals rolling by pulling off a 9-4 upset of Jake Bultmann in the 125-pound match.

Bultmann came into the day as the No. 4-ranked Class A 125-pounder (according to illinoismatmen.com), but Foster nearly recorded a pin in the opening quarter before going on to a decisive decision.

‘Foster’s match was huge,’ Clay said. ‘It was a big upset in my book. Alex is extremely capable, but he hasn’t been wrestling his best lately. He really picked it up there.’

Kevin Paulding followed with a win in his 130-pound match against Morgan Thurman, suddenly ending a scoreless duel at the 3:17 mark with a pin from the scrambling position.

‘Kevin’s real good at scrambling,’ Clay said. ‘He’s scrappy, he’s got good strength and he’s a fighter. He came out and won the scramble, which was nice.’

Vandalia suffered a 14-2 defeat in the 135-pound match, but Cody Pyle put Vandalia back in control with an 18-10 win over Zach Langloss in a contentious 140-pound match.

Pyle dominated the first two quarters, building a 15-6 lead, but narrowly avoided getting pinned in the final frame before pulling out the win.

‘I’ve got a lot of respect for their kid at 140,’ Clay said. ‘He beat Adam Hosick last year in a match just like that. He kept coming, and Cody did a good job.’

Bowling put Vandalia on the brink of victory with a pin of Jake Brue just before the first-quarter buzzer in the 145 match. Jake Etcheson then clinched the win for Vandalia with an 8-3 win over Zach Minor in the 160-pound match.

Devin Cook picked up Vandalia’s first win on the mat with a pin of Nick Herkertt in the 215-pound match moments before Josh Eller held on for a 2-0 win over Luke Standley in the 112-pound match, as an early takedown proved to be the difference.

Curtis Hemminghaus capped Vandalia’s big victory with a 16-6 win over T.J. Stewart in the 171-pound match.

‘It was a real good team win,’ Clay said. ‘They’re a quality program every year, and if you beat them year-in, year-out, you’re doing something right.

‘They got us last year, so we’ve avenged two of our losses from last year.’

Clay was most impressed with his team’s ability to pick up teammate Nate Stone, who suffered a rare loss to state-ranked David Devine early on in the dual.

‘Stone, one of our leaders, always wins for us,’ said Clay of his team’s top heavyweight. ‘He didn’t win today, but we had guys step up and pull off some upsets.’

The Vandals started the day off with a 49-22 win over a tough St. Joseph-Ogden team. Foster kicked off a 3-0 day with a pin, and Bowling, Matt Shroyer (189) and Stone (275) also recorded pins for Vandalia.

‘They were missing a couple guys today, which doesn’t hurt, but they’re tough,’ said Clay of St. Joseph. ‘It was a good battle, and had they been 100 percent, it’d been even tougher.’

Paulding followed up a 5-0 win in the St. Joe dual by taking a 14-9 decision over state-ranked Cody Haas, helping Vandalia to an easy 65-10 win over the host Maroons.

Eller, Zac Ledbetter, Pyle, Bowling, Hemminghaus, Shroyer and Stone all recorded pins in the victory, with Shroyer needing just 46 seconds and Stone winning by fall in 12 seconds.

Tuesday’s Dual

O’Fallon 36, Vandalia 22

Shroyer (189), Hemminghaus (160) and Bowling (145) all recorded pins, but O’Fallon swept the 103-130-pound weight classes and won 10 of 14 matches overall.

Bowling needed just 34 seconds to pin Matt Monie, while Shroyer continued his dominance by pinning Ryan Hesse in 1:35.

Hemminghaus won by fall in just 1:38, while Paulding continued the momentum generated by a 3-0 showing Saturday by taking a 10-1 win over Chris Leverette.

But O’Fallon – currently 15-3, according to stltoday.com – pulled out six matches decided by three points or less.

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