Six of Litchfield's nine wrestlers who competed in the Panthers’ home tournament on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, finished in the top six at the Rich Lovellette Panther Invitational, helping the team finish sixth overall in the 17-team tourney.
The Panthers would pick up 105 points on the day, just three behind Oakwood for a top five spot. Lena-Winslow would take first overall with 253 points, followed by Vandalia with 200.5, Auburn with 152.5 and Orion with 111.5.
Leading the way for Litchfield was Will Carlile, who extended his unbeaten streak to 29 this year by taking first at 132 pounds. Carlile would beat Tyler Jones of Mt. Olive, by fall, and Eric McKinney of Vandalia, by major decision, to advance to the championship match, where he beat Lena-Winslow’s Marey Roby in a narrow 3-2 decision.
Carlile was one of two Litchfield wrestlers in a championship match, joining 126-pounder Carter Powell, who took second. Powell defeated Matthew Olbert of Roxana by decision and Kennon Lindsey of Murphysboro by fall in his first two matches, then lost a close 7-5 decision to Jaden Rice of Lena-Winslow in the finale.
Carlile wasn’t the only Panther to win his final match. Senior Jefferson Thomas took third at 220 pounds, beating Brady Stitch of Lena-Winslow in a 5-2 decision. Thomas made it to the third place match after pinning Tucker Bryant of Harrisburg and losing a close 7-4 decision to Cade Borden of Oakwood.
On the opposite end of the weight classes, Alex Powell finished fourth at 106 pounds. Powell won his first two matches over Blake Dickerson of Mt. Olive and Trenton Schach of West Frankfort, but fell to Jarek Wehrle of Vandalia and Reef Pacot of Oakwood, who went on to finish first and third respectively.
Litchfield’s other two medals came at 113 and 120 pounds, where Ashtin Carver and Brady Davidson would both place sixth. Carver went 3-2 on the day with wins over Caden Wegerer of Orion, Andrew Raymer of Roxana and Adam Gribbins of Rochester, all three by fall, while Davidson went 2-2 with pins against Hunter Suanda of Murphysboro and Justin Theis of Roxana.
In addition to the medalists, Seth Kenter went 0-2 at 152 pounds, Aaron Roach went 1-2 at 138 pounds and Dylan Maxwell went 2-2 at 182 pounds.
The tournament was the final warm-up before the postseason for the Panthers. This year’s regional tournament will begin on Friday, Feb. 7 and will continue on Saturday, Feb. 8, at East Alton-Wood River. In addition to Hillsboro and the host school, Belleville’s Althoff Catholic, Carlyle, Metro-East Lutheran, Mt. Olive, Litchfield, Red Bud, Roxana and Vandalia are also at the East Alton-Wood River Regional.
Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Litchfield
Rich Lovellette Panther Invitational
Team Results: 1. Lena-Winslow 253; 2. Vandalia 200.5; 3. Auburn 152.5; 4. Orion 111.5; 5. Oakwood 108; 6. Litchfield 105; 7. Sacred Heart-Griffin 99; 8. Cumberland 93; 9. Rochester 87.5; 10. Roxana 55; 11. West Frankfort 54.5; 12. Carlinville 49; 13. Harrisburg 43.5; 14. Hillsboro 41; 14. Murphysboro 41; 16. Pinckneyville 35; 17. Mt. Olive 18.
106: Alex Powell (4th) - def. Blake Dickerson (Mt. Olive) by fall at :23; def. Trenton Schach (West Frankfort) by dec. 4-3; lost to Jarek Wehrle (Vandalia) by fall at 3:18; lost to Reef Pacot (Oakwood) by maj. dec. 13-1.
113: Ashtin Carver (6th) - def. Caden Wegerer (Orion) by fall at 3:00; lost to Dillon Raab (Lena-Winslow) by fall at 5:25; def. Andrew Raymer (Roxana) by fall at :29; def. Adam Gribbins (Rochester) by fall at 1:41; lost to Owen Miller (Vandalia) by maj. dec. 12-4.
120: Brady Davidson (6th) - def. Hunter Suanda (Murphysboro) by fall at 5:29; lost to Cutter Prater (Vandalia) by fall at 2:47; def. Justin Theis (Roxana) by fall at 1:32; lost to Gavin Mann (West Frankfort) by fall at 1:00.
126: Carter Powell (2nd) - def. Matthew Olbert (Roxana) by dec. 7-5; def. Keenon Lindsey (Murphysboro) by fall at 3:09; lost to Jaden Rice (Lena-Winslow) by dec. 7-5.
132: Will Carlile (1st) - def. Tyler Jones (Mt. Olive) by fall at 1:02; def. Eric McKinney (Vandalia) by maj. dec. 15-5; def. Marey Roby (Lena-Winslow) by dec. 3-2.
138: Aaron Roach - lost to Matthew Donathan (Sacred Heart-Griffin) by maj. dec. 13-5; def. Jadon Smilanich (West Frankfort) by maj. dec. 12-2; lost to Bryce Freer (Auburn) by maj. dec. 19-6
152: Seth Kenter - lost to Caleb Lashuay (Oakwood) by fall at 1:52; lost to Tyler Gade (Rochester) by fall at :37
182: Dylan Maxwell - def. Colton Stock (Rochester) by fall at 1:54; lost to Mason Clem (Sacred Heart-Griffin) by fall at 4:30; def. Evan Bethard (Carlinville) by fall at 1:36; lost to David Meyer (Vandalia) by tech fall 20-3.
220: Jefferson Thomas (3rd) - def. Tucker Bryant (Harrisburg) by fall at 3:17; lost to Cade Borden (Oakwood) by dec. 7-4; def. Brady Stitch (Lena-Winslow) by dec. 5-2.