Carlinville Wrestling earns a split at Vandalia
By Jackson Wilson
Sporting emotions behave like a giant yo-yo.
The Jan. 8 wrestling meet at Vandalia High School proved to be one of the more topsy-turvy nights of the season for the Carlinville Cavaliers. The conference match against the host Vandals didn’t go as planned (69-9), but the Cavies walked away with a split thanks to a nailbiting win over the East-Alton Wood River Oilers in an intense opening dual (41-39). Despite a rocky finish to the evening, Carlinville head coach Tim Johnson is remaining extremely optimistic about the team’s progression as the campaign enters its final stretch.
“We had a good night. We are starting to compete at a higher level and at a higher pace. All of our coaches can see improvements each day. We are preparing to finish the season strong and peak at the right time,” Johnson said.
Nate Burns and Dustin Roberts both earned match wins against the Oilers. Ultimately, the dedications and commitments of the Carlinville wrestling community was the key difference in this match. The Cavies lost five of seven individual matches, but having more soldiers on the battlefield shifted the odds in their favor. Jake Egelhoff, Zaiden Reese, Mason Patton, Chase Michaelis and Jacob Bray were all awarded victories via forfeits.
Due to snow, the Carlinville senior night wrestling meet that was scheduled for Jan. 11 has been moved to this Friday at 6 p.m. In addition to him taking part in his final home duals, Tristen Burns will have the opportunity to join his brother, Nate, in the 100-win club.
As the postseason approaches, the Cavaliers are getting healthy at the right time. This week, Carlinville is anticipating the return of fomer state qualifier Tucker Hughes. The 145 lb. senior had missed the previous six weeks with hamstring issues and a broken pelvis.
“He’s a tough kid,” Johnson said of Hughes.
Carlinville is now 14-9 in team duals this season. As of next week, the Cavaliers will be on the road for the rest of the regular season. Regionals will begin on Feb. 2.
“The guys are motivated and excited for the next few weeks,” said an ecstatic Johnson.
Dustin Roberts gets a stranglehold on his opponent from East Alton-Wood River during a wrestling match at Vandalia High School on Jan. 8. Photo contributed.