Six Cavaliers advance to wrestling sectionals
Carlinville finishes fourth at Carlyle Regional
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Sports Reporter
The team season may be officially concluded, but plenty of wrestling Cavalier individuals are still in the running for the state tournament.
On Saturday, Carlinville traveled to Carlyle High School to engage in one of the more difficult regionals in the Illinois High School Association 1A Class. Despite falling way short of the regional team plaque, the Cavies advanced six individuals to this week’s sectional. Carlinville finished in a fourth place tie with Litchfield, scoring 76 total team points. Vandalia captured its 25th consecutive regional title with 208 points – beating out state-ranked Belleville Althoff Catholic by an impressive margin of 25.5.
“We didn’t have a good start but we always say ‘next best thing’. So, we had to have a short memory and a quick turnaround. It was awesome to see us go five for five in ‘do or die’ matches,” praised Carlinville head coach Tim Johnson.
Nate Burns suffered the Cavies’ only loss during the post-intermission period, but still advanced with a team-high second place finish in the 132 lb. weight class. Burns fell short to Belleville Althoff Catholic’s Anthony Federico in the final.
The highlight of the afternoon came from Nate’s brother, Tristen. Down 10-7 with his high school career on the line, T. Burns busted out of the coffin and killed the beast with a miraculous 4-0 swing in the closing three seconds of the 170 third place match. To top it all off, Tristen eliminated Carlyle’s Mitchell Keyton – the same wrestler that had pinned him at the Mt. Olive Invitational back on Jan. 5.
“I think he would be the first one to tell you that he didn’t wrestle his best during that match, but he found a way to make it work. It was exciting,” Johnson said of T. Burns’ clinching victory.
Jake Egelhoff (113), Dustin Roberts (132), Chase Michaelis (152) and Chase Lawless (285) also advanced to sectionals with a third place triumph.
With his team getting smaller every week, Coach Johnson remains upbeat going forward even though the sand in the hourglass is running out on this memorable season.
“We have to stay the course. We’ve got to stay committed. Even on our worst days, we have to know that there is a brighter future ahead,” said a determined Johnson.
N. Burns (34-9), T. Burns (36-9), Roberts (28-13), Michaelis (28-14) and Lawless (13-24) will take to the sectional mats on Fri., Feb. 8. Matches will begin at 4:30 p.m. at Carterville High School.
Tristen Burns puts the exclamation point on one of his victories during the Illinois High School Association Class 1A Wrestling Regional at Carlyle High School. Enquirer-Democrat photo by Jackson Wilson.