Jarek Wehrle, Cutter Prater and Gavin Mouser won individual titles to lead Vandalia’s wrestlers to a second-place finish at the Rich Lovellette Panther Invitational at Litchfield on Saturday.
Lena Winslow, currently seeded No. 2 by Illinois Matmen, won the individual title with 253 points, and the Vandals, the No. 3 seed totaled 200½ points.
Lena Winslow recorded three firsts, five seconds, three thirds and two fourths in the individual competitions.
The Vandals had three firsts, three thirds, a fourth, three fifths and a sixth.
Other than Wehrle, Prater and Mouser, the individual results for Vandalia were: Owen Miller, fifth; Matthew Hobler, third; Eric McKinney, fourth; Ryan Kaiser, third; Logan Nance, did not place; Bradyn Kaiser, fifth; Tiler Worker, third; Robby Durbin, DNP; David Meyer, fifth; and Ethan Plunkett, sixth.
“I thought we had a pretty good tournament,” Vandals coach Jason Clay said.
“As always, I felt like there were some places where we could have won matches,” he said. “There were about 50 matches, and there’s always matches you look back on and be disappointed.”
However, he saw a lot of good things.
“We had some good performances,” Clay said.
“Cutter (Prater) had a pretty good tournament. He had a nice win in the semis over a kid from Pinckneyville, and then in the finals, he got down 5-0 early, came back all the way to tie it up late and was able to beat him in overtime.
“Jarek (Wehrle) was pretty workmanlike, as always, another first place with three wins, and Gavin (Mouser) the same. In the finals, he gave up the first takedown, answered with a takedown and back points, and another takedown and back points, so he ended up pretty dominant,” Clay said.
“We also had some guys who got bumped off on Friday night and were able to wrestle back to fifth place – David (Meyer), Bradyn (Kaiser), Owen (Miller) are ones I can think of,” he said.
“We also had a couple of real nice wins on Friday night,” he said.
“Ryan Kaiser had a real nice win over a kid from Oakwood that he lost to a couple of times last year. He wrestled tough. He had a pretty good bracket and to come back to a third-place finish is pretty good,” Clay said.
“Tiler Worker had a pretty good tournament, too,” he said. “He lost a close decision to a kid from Lena Winslow; he had the kid on the ropes and needed about 10 more seconds to get a takedown.”
Competing with Lena Winslow wrestlers, Clay said, “I thought we wrestled them a little tougher in head-to-head matches.
“Hopefully, we’re gaining ground on them and there’s still a month to go,” Clay said.
“We’re looking forward to regionals this week.”
The Vandals are now preparing to capture their 26th consecutive regional title, competing at the East Alton-Wood River Regional on Friday night and Saturday.
Another regional title advances the Vandals to the Shelbyville Sectional.
Other teams that could possibly advance to that sectional include Tolony Unity, which is ranked No. 4 by Illinois Matmen, and No. 6 Auburn.
Illinois Matmen currently has Dakota, 21-6, at the top spot in Class 1A.
Lena Winslow is 27-1 and the Vandals are 31-1, with the only loss coming to Lena Winslow.
Dakota defeated Lena Winslow, 26-19.
Tolono Unity is 34-6, including a 38-33 loss to Vandalia earlier this season.
The 31-1 record, Clay said, ties the 2017-18 team for most wins in a season. That 2017-18 team placed second in the state finals.
The lone loss this year is one more than the 1996 team that won the state championship with a 23-0 record.
The Vandals picked up their 31st win in a 50-21 win at O’Fallon road Wednesday.
In the postseason, the Vandals will be without their 285-wrestler, Anthony Enlow.
Enlow announced on Instagram early last week that his season and career at VCHS is over. Enlow placed sixth at the IHSA State Wrestling Tournament last year as a junior and was third in the state at 285 his sophomore year.
Clay confirmed that Enlow is no longer with the team.
No reason has been given for him no longer wrestling this season.
The individual results from the Litchfield invite are:
• 106 pounds-Jarek Wehrle – Bye; defeated Nick Calucchia of Sacred Heart Griffin by fall, 2:33; won by fall over Alex Powell of Litchfield, 3:18; and defeated Garrett Luke of Lena Winslow in championship match, 1-0. First place
• 113 pounds-Owen Miller – Won by technical fall over Andrew Raymer of Roxana, 17-1; lost to Chris David of Pinckneyville by fall at 3:03; won by fall over Ben Huber of Hillsboro at :27; defeated Dalton King of Auburn by tech fall, 21-4; defeated Ashtin Carver of Litchfield by major decision, 12-4. Fifth place.
• 120 pounds-Cutter Prater – Bye; won by fall over Brady Davidson of Litchfield at 2:47; defeated Ryder Parson of Pinckneyville, 9-6; defeated Zach White of Lena Winslow in overtime, 10-6. First place.
• 126 pounds-Matthew Hobler – Won by fall over Case Kopacz of Oakwood at 3:11; defeated Riley Maxey of Pinckneyville, 9-7; lost to Jaden Rice of Lena Winslow by major decision, 11-2; defeated Keenon Lindsey of Murphysboro by fall at 1:05. Third place.
• 132 pounds-Eric McKinney – Bye; defeated Patrick Campbell of Murphysboro, 7-5; lost to Will Carlile of Litchfield by major decision, 15-5; lost to Cole Peters of Rochester, 9-5. Fourth place.
• 138 pounds-Ryan Kaiser – Won by fall over Tysen Satterfield of Harrisburg at :33; defeated Connor Hutson of Oakwood, 5-3; lost to Rayce Zike of Cumberland by major decision, 9-0; won by default over Logan Peters of Rochester. Third place.
• 145 pounds-Logan Nance – Won by tech fall over Myles Bridges of Roxana, 15-0; lost to Simon Rillie of Lena Winslow by fall at 3:26; defeated Sam Martin of Harrisburg by fall at :34; lost to Kade Warner of Cumberland, 8-6.
• 152 pounds-Bradyn Kaiser – Bye; lost to Caleb Lashuay of Oakwood, 4-3; defeated Skyler Fay of Auburn by tech fall, 19-2; won by fall over Nik Espejo of Sacred Heart Griffin at 5:09; defeated Tyler Gade of Rochesters, 6-4. Fifth place.
• 160 pounds-Tiler Worker – Bye; won by fall over Jonah Harkins of Hillsboro at 2:56; lost to Andrew Haas of Lena Winslow, 11-10; defeated Lysten Syfert of Cumberland by fall at 5:45. Third place.
• 170 pounds-Robby Durbin – Won by fall over Doug Myers of Oakwood at :18; lost to Case Harmston of Lena Winslow by fall at 4:55; defeated Zinnen Kenney of Hillsboro; lost to Cory West of Sacred Heart Griffin.
• 182 pounds-David Meyer – Bye; lost to Gavin Keefer of Lena Winslow, 9-3; defeated Jaben Compton of Hillsboro by fall at :43; won by tech fall over Dylan Maxwell of Litchfield, 20-3; defeated Bryant Lester of Harrisburg by fall at 1:05. Fifth place.
• 195 pounds-Gavin Mouser – Bye; won by fall over Josh Miller of Oakwood at 1:03; won by fall over Jack Setterstrom of Lena Winslow at 1:02; won by fall over Reese Edwards of Sacred Heart Griffin at 2:48. First place.
• 220 pounds-Ethan Plunkett – Won by major decision over Chase Allen of Roxana, 14-6; lost to Brody Mulvaney of Orion, 5-0; won by fall over Drake Lewis of Auburn at 3:09; defeated Connor Sweeny of Rochester, 6-4; lost to Tucker Bryant of Harrisburg, 4-2. Sixth place.
• 285 pounds-No entry.