Last year the Litchfield wrestling team took seven wrestlers to regionals. This year, nearly that many made it out as six Panthers and one alternate punched their tickets to the sectional tournament in Vandalia next weekend.
Litchfield would finish fourth overall in the team standings at the East Alton-Wood River Regional, which began on Friday, Feb. 7, and wrapped up the following day. The Panthers would come home with two champions, a second place finisher, three third place finishers and a fourth place finisher from their time on the Oilers’ mats as the young program continues to rebuild under coaches Chance and Coy Davidson.
Four of Litchfield’s six sectional qualifiers also made it to the second round of the postseason last year, including Will Carlile, who improved to 34-0 with a regional championship at 132 pounds. Carlile, who finished fourth at state last year as a sophomore at 120 pounds, pinned his way through the regional, dispatching Paxton Osmoe of Roxana, Jakob Schroeder of Metro-East Lutheran and Eric McKinney of Vandalia by fall.
Senior Jefferson Thomas would take home the other title after going 3-0 at 220 pounds. Thomas scored a 9-1 major decision victory over Chase Allen of Roxana, then advanced to the finals with a 6-4 victory over Ethan Plunkett of Vandalia. In the final, Thomas scored another decision win in the championship, holding on against Caleb Bass of Red Bud for a 3-0 win and a regional title.
Thomas and Carlile made up two-thirds of Litchfield’s wrestlers in the final round, with Carter Powell rounding out the trio. Powell would beat Mathew Olbert in an 8-5 decision to earn his spot in the final, but an injury kept him from facing Isaiah Bernal of Althoff Catholic in the championship.
Senior Dylan Maxwell, who joined Thomas, Carlile and Powell at sectionals last year, will be making the trip again this year after beating Jackson Hamby of Hillsboro in his third place match at 182 pounds. The veterans will be joined by freshman Ashtin Carver, who pinned Andrew Raymer of Roxana in 39 seconds in the 113 pound third place match, and sophomore Brady Davidson, who pinned Justis Theis of Roxana at the 2:24 mark in the 120 pound third place match.
Alex Powell would nearly come away with a sectional spot as well, going 2-2 on the day with a loss to Aaron Niemeyer of East Alton-Wood River in the third place match at 106 pounds. Powell will serve as an alternate at the Vandalia Regional. In addition to the sectional qualifiers and Powell, Aaron Roach and Seth Kenter also competed at the regional at 138 and 152 pounds.
Both Carlile and Thomas will earn first round byes at the Vandalia Sectional, which starts on Friday, Feb. 14, and continues on Saturday, Feb. 15, by virtue of their regional titles, while the rest will take on qualifiers from the Carterville, Jacksonville ISD and Robinson regionals.
Carter Powell will face Dylan Ritter of Olney Richland County (22-12), who he beat by major decision earlier in the year at the Olney duals, while Dylan Maxwell takes on Garrett Cardwell of Benton.
At 113 pounds, Ashtin Carver will face Dalton King of Auburn, who finished second at the Jacksonville ISD regional, while Brady Davidson will take on Elliott Stifle of Robinson, who was second at the Robinson Regional. Davidson hasn’t faced Stifle this season, while Carver lost to King at the Princeton Invitational.
Will Carlile will await the winner of the match between Darion Miller of Sacred Heart-Griffin and Blayne Donsbach of Toledo Cumberland. Carlile beat Donsbach 12-10 in the first dual of the season, but hasn’t face Miller this year.
Thomas will get the winner of the opening match between Aiden Foster of Richland County and Zachary Blankenship of Carterville. Thomas defeated Foster by decision at the Olney duals, but hasn’t faced Blankenship.
Those who finish in the top four at the sectional will move on to the IHSA State Finals in Champaign.
at Wood River
Class 1A EAWR Regional
Team Results: 1. Vandalia 286; 2. Roxana 125; 3. Althoff Catholic 122.5; 4. Litchfield 115; 5. East Alton-Wood River 106; 6. Hillsboro 65; 7. Mt. Olive 58; 8. Red Bud 49; 9. Carlyle 43; 10. Metro-East Lutheran 33.
106: Alex Powell (29-14) - def. James Coleman (Roxana) by fall at 5:23; lost to Matthew Minick (Althoff Catholic) by fall at :54; def. Keegan Murray (Hillsboro) by maj. dec. 13-0; lost to Aaron Niemeyer (EAWR) by fall at :56 to place 4th
113: Ashtin Carver (25-9) - def. Andrew Raymer (Roxana) by fall at :59; lost to Dominic Federico (Althoff Catholic) by maj. dec. 9-1; def. Ben Huber (Hillsboro) by fall at 1:05; def. Andrew Raymer (Roxana) by fall at :39 to place 3rd
120: Brady Davidson (13-7) - def. KennyRay Moses (Hillsboro) by fall at 1:06; lost to Cutter Prater (Vandalia) by fall at 4:49; def. Jake Fiudo (Metro-East Lutheran) by fall at 2:00; def. Justis Theis (Roxana) by fall at 2:24 to place 3rd
126: Carter Powell (30-8) - def. Mathew Olbert (Roxana) by dec. 8-5; lost to Isaiah Bernal (Althoff Catholic) by injury default to place 2nd
132: Will Carlile (34-0) - def. Paxton Osmoe (Roxana) by fall at 1:11; def. Jakob Schroeder (Metro-East Lutheran) by fall at 2:25; def. Eric McKinney (Vandalia) by fall at 1:31 to place 1st
138: Aaron Roach (11-19) - lost to Ryan Kaiser (Vandalia) by fall at 2:48; lost to Travis Clayton (Carlyle) by fall at 2:34
152: Seth Kenter (6-26) - lost to Bradyn Kaiser (Vandalia) by fall at :36; lost to Kaden Simpson (Carlyle) by dec. 7-5
182: Dylan Maxwell (15-12) - lost to David Meyer (Vandalia) by dec. 14-10; def. Jackson Hamby (Hillsboro) by fall at 1:05 to place 3rd
220: Jefferson Thomas (31-6) - def. Chase Allen (Roxana) by maj. dec. 9-1; def. Ethan Plunkett (Vandalia) by dec. 6-4; def. Caleb Bass (Red Bud) by dec. 3-0 to place 1st