- Our Sites
- The News-Gazette
- NewsTalk 1400 WDWS-AM
- Lite Rock 97.5 WHMS
- 107.9 WKIO
- Community News
The tuneup to the postseason for the St. Joseph-Ogden wrestling team hit all the right notes.
The Spartans, who will take part in the eight-team Class 1A Bismarck-Henning Regional that starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, hosted the 14-team Eastern Illinois Tournament last Saturday and came away with the team championship.
The Spartans compiled 193.5 points ahead of runner-up Champaign Central (175). Lawrenceville (155), Robinson (127) and Cumberland (126) rounded out the top five schools. SJO had three individuals — junior Austin Hedrick, sophomore Gunnar Meeker and senior Austin Upton — win titles to dominate the middle weight classes.
“Our middle weights have been solid for us all season. It was nice that they were able to wrestle well in our final regular season tournament and help bring home a first place trophy,” head coach Richard Vetter said. Those weren’t the only weight classes the Spartans excelled in either. Of the 12 wrestlers SJO used on Saturday, 11 placed.
Hedrick improved his record to 30-6 after he won a 10-5 decision against Champaign Central’s John Whalen in the 152-pound championship match. Hedrick pinned Rantoul’s Javen Cobb in 5 minutes, 2 seconds during the semifinals after he opened his tournament with a 19-3 technical fall against Olney’s Levi Slover.
Meeker joined Hedrick with a championship at 160. Meeker won a 9-4 decision against Tryster Schoonover of Champaign Central in the championship match after he edged Lawrenceville’s Gage McIntosh 5-3 in the semifinals. Meeker, now 19-9, opened his tournament with a pin of Olney’s Nick Foerster in 2:41.
Upton continued his superior season with a 16-5 major decision win against Bismarck-Henning’s Jarod Noel in the championship match at 170 and takes a 37-1 record into the postseason.
“Austin has been very level headed all season. We have bumped him around in the line up get him the best matches possible,” Vetter said. “He knows that the regular season is just a stepping stone for the post season. Austin will be mentally and physically ready for the state tournament. “Upton won his semifinal match after he pinned Carterville’s Joe Behan in 1:41, which was preceded by a pin of Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac’s Cody Ayers in 1:54. Freshman Corbin Wolken had an impressive debut at the Eastern Illinois Tournament. He placed second at 106, only losing a 10-3 decision in the championship match to Champaign Central’s Riley Staab. Wolken (17-17) won a 19-10 major decision against Westville’s Demarco Brown in the semifinals and earned a 16-5 major decision against Carterville’s A.J. Dees in the quarterfinals.
“Corbin Wolken has been wrestling well as of late. He has made vast improvements over the course of the season and it was nice to see him wrestle in the championship match this past weekend,” Vetter said. “We have worked on a couple small things that has helped him become more successful.”
Freshman Shane Skinner (18-22) placed third at 113 after he won a 9-4 decision against Hoopeston Area’s Dylan Pate. Freshman Gage Haga (16-11) came in third at 132 after an injury default to Hoopeston Area’s Gage Foster and junior Ryan Koss (18-15) pinned Cumberland’s Kody Cohen in 26 seconds to take home third at 220.
Junior David Trewyn (20-22) at 126 and sophomore Skyler Pumphrey (21-14) finished fourth while junior Ty Waller (13-21) at 138 and freshman Wesley Kibler (22-11) at 182 claimed fifth place.
Prior to Saturday, SJO closed out its dual meet portion of the schedule with a 36-15 home win against Hoopeston Area on Jan. 22 to finish the season at 20-12. SJO received a forfeit win at 220 while Trewyn, Haga, Upton at 182 and Kibler at 195 all won via pins. Skinner earned a 7-5 decision win at 113 while Waller came through with a 12-6 decision win at 138.
“This tournament basically replaces a conference tournament. It was nice that we came out and wrestled well in this season ending tournament. We have preached all year that you want to be wrestling your best at the end of the season; we are very close,” Vetter said.