O’Fallon wrestlers continue to impress on the mat

Jalen Jones graples with an Alton Redbird during their match at OTHS last week. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Jalen Jones graples with an Alton Redbird during their match at OTHS last week. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

The Panther wrestling team put no halt to their successful season last week with a seventh place finish in the Geneseo Invitational and a conference win over the talented Alton Redbirds.

Although head coach Glen Exton and the Panthers believe they could have done better, the team trenched through a tournament of stacked competition and totaled for 122 points at Geneseo. Senior Mason Hewitt performed the best for O’Fallon with a first place finish in the 182-pound class. Hewitt won the title match against Steven Djurina from Franklin high school in a 13-5 decision.Before winning the title match, Hewitt defeated wrestlers from Stagg High School, Mineral Point High School, and Eldridge High School. The first place performance from Hewitt earned the Panthers 28 points.

Also turning in notable performances for the Panthers were Alex Fulton and Jack Bond. Fulton took third place in the 113-pound class and Bond also took third place in the 152-pound class. Bond defeated Lucas Sanchez from Mineral Point high school 20-11, while Fulton won 19-11 over Caden Carey, also from Mineral Point.

While several Panthers performed well at the invitational, Exton believes his team could have easily placed in the top three spots.

“There were a couple spots where we did not wrestle up to par and it made the difference between seventh place and the top three. If everyone had performed normally we would have easily placed in one of the top places,” said Exton.

Later in the week the Panthers took to their home mats against a very solid Alton Redbirds team. The Panthers defeated Alton by a score of 44-19 and improved their record to an impressive 17-1.

“They’re a pretty good team,” said Exton. “We were kind of status quo against them so it was a pretty good sign that we were able to beat them as easily as we did.”

Coach Exton and the Panther wrestlers have had an explosive season so far, but they do not plan on letting up on the mats anytime soon.

“It’s been a really rewarding year so far and it’s without question the most solid and balanced team we have had here in the 10 years I’ve coached,” said Exton. “Across all the weight classes we have a solid kid and there is almost no holes in our roster. I think we’re tougher in duals than tournaments but we are still working on it. We got a lot of kids back from last year and we’ll have quite a few coming back for next year as well.”