BY ALEX GRUBERMAN WEEKLY REPORTER
The Panther’s Wrestling team had a busy week of matches and tournaments. They had to travel to East St. Louis on Tuesday night, match at home against then ranked number 13 Vandalia and senior night against Belleville West on Thursday, before wrapping up the weekend by heading to the Francis Howell (Thrasher) Tournament on Friday and Saturday.
The Panthers faced off against the East St. Louis Flyers at the Jackie Joyner Kersee Center Tuesday night. It also was the Flyers senior night. The Flyers had a young squad this year only having three seniors in the starting lineup.
The match started with the 182 weight class. Panther Deven Monahan won by forfeit. Deven filled in for Mason Hewitt who was out of town. Kobey Bosworth also won his match by forfeit too. Nasim Chelbi won by forfeit also.
In the 220 weight class, Brian Ahle pinned Correy Midget in 3:37. Coach Glenn Exton was pleased with Brian’s victory,
“Brian struggles with short and stocky wrestlers, but eventually he found a way to get the pin,” Exton said.
Mason Baker pinned Joquan Ervin in ten seconds to wrap up the 285 class weight. Mason’s pin is the fastest so far this season and the second fastest for a heavyweight at OTHS.
“I actually thought the ref could have called the pin two or three seconds earlier” Coach Exton said about the quick pin victory.
In the 120 weight class, Andrew Nunez returned to the Panthers lineup and pinned Elisha White in 2:16. Exton said Nunez’s return was textbook perfect.
“He really looked good. It was like he never missed practice,” Exton said.
Alek Ziegler pinned Zion White in 1:13 to remain unbeaten at 25-0. The 132 weight class match featured the Flyers best wrestler Tyler Dunn. Dunn is a two time state qualifier.
“Dunn is really good on his feet and was just too quick for Alex. It also didn’t help that Alex was wrestling up a weight class” Exton added. Dunn defeated Alex Fulton 12-4.
Jalen Jones made quick work on his opponent pinning him in 51 seconds. Mike Faulkner added a quick pin to his opponent in 25 seconds.
“Mike came out ready to wrestle. He looked very aggressive and had sharp technique” mentioned Coach Exton after the quick pin.
Jack Bond continued his unbeaten streak also after a pinning victory. Jake Delange pinned Montey Russell in 3:52 to wrap up the match for O’Fallon.
“Jake looked really good tonight. I would say as good as he has looked all year. He transitioned well with his pinning combinations,” Coach Exton said after the match. The Panthers came away with the victory 66-12 over the Flyers.
“Their three toughest kids came through for them, but they lacked the depth to hang with us. Our kids came out very aggressive and took it to them,” Exton said.
On Wednesday, the Panthers welcomed not only 13th ranked Vandalia, but they also welcomed the Little Panthers wrestlers too. The Little Panthers took on Vandalia’s version of Little Panthers.
The O’Fallon Little Panthers are part of the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation (IKWF) and feeds into the O’Fallon middle and high school programs. They are committed to providing safe and supportive environment for kids ages four to 14 that want to learn the sport of wrestling. They provide a learning atmosphere that is appropriate for all skill and experience levels ranging from the fundamentals and basic rules of the sport to the more advanced technique for those wrestlers ready to compete at the highest levels.
And both teams competed at the highest level against the Vandals. The Panthers came out strong winning the first five matches against the Vandals, and ultimately, would come away with the victory. The Junior Panthers started off slow, but eventually got the victory against the Junior Vandals.
The Panthers took on Belleville West in their last conference match of the season. It was also Senior Night. Those seniors were Austin Schmidt, Justin Bennett, Jake DeLange, Jalen Jones, Alek Ziegler, Caleb Carriel, Mason Hewitt, Kobey Bosworth, Brian Ahle, Leviticus Mackey, Christopher Wu, and Christian Sanchez.