EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville wrestling team took six of its bouts by way of forfeit, and another six on the mat, three of them by fall, in going on to a 58-12 win over Granite City in the Tigers' second dual meet of the season at the Jon Davis Wrestling Center Thursday evening.
The Tigers came out and wrestled very well, and it's been a direct result of their hard work during their practice as the season began last week, the last of the IHSA sports to get underway due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Well, I think my kids came out and wrestled hard," said Edwardsville head coach Jon Wagner. "They've been practicing hard, and it's kind of without the tournaments on the weekends. They're all fueled up for these dual meets, because this is all they really have, because there's no tournaments. I just thought they wrestled with a lot of energy, like they've been working hard and we're ready to go."
It's the sign of another good team, as the Tigers are always working hard and preparing well for their meets.
"We were extremely aggressive tonight," Wagner said. "That's how you get better and improve your skills, by being aggressive. We're incredibly aggressive, we cross the line every time onto our opponent, we're very solid throughout, we wear our opponents out. The kids, they're getting in shape, so everything's going positive tonight."
The wrestlers in the heavyweight classes were the big standouts on the evening as the Tigers performed well in all their bouts.
"All the big guys stood out," Wagner said. "Our heavyweights did real good, all of them. We had a bunch of guys wrestle tonight, so our heavyweights did real good. I thought Connor Surtin and Drew Landau wrestled really well against one of their better kids, and even Jack Summers in a loss did some good things. But the heavyweights were the performers tonight, and I think they came out real solid. That's Lino Gramaglie and Mason Taylor, both those guys performed real well."
Of course, Wagner and his team are very grateful to have the season this year, with all the complications caused by the pandemic.
"Yeah, exactly. Exactly," Wagner said. "I think both sides are. Granite is a little down, but their kids were still in 'this is what I do, this is my trade. I come out here and I wrestle,' so we get the opportunity. I think all the kids are just having fun and are waiting to get after it. So this was a great night of wrestling."
The first three matches were forfeits, as Olivia Coll of the Tigers won at 106 pounds, and the Warriors' Trenton Phelps and Caleb Scott won at 113 and 120 pounds respectively to give Granite a 12-6 lead in the team score. In the first contested bout of the meet, Summers pinned O'Brian Pigee at 43 seconds of at 126 pounds, and Surtin won the 132 pound match over Dylan Bond 8-4 to give the Tigers a 15-12 lead.
Dylan Gvillo at 138 and Landau at 145 won by forfeit in their bouts to extend the Tiger lead to 27-12, but Landau wrestled an exhibition match and pinned Boyd at 1:10. At 152 pounds, Jordan Johnson scored a pinfall over Dezmond Price at 1:19, and in the 160 pound match, Drew Minh defeated Ardonia Briagus 11-1 to give the Tigers a 37-12 lead.
The 170 pound match was a double forfeit, and Drew Gvillo at 182 and Evan Holder at 195 won by forfeit to further extend the Edwardsville lead to 49-12, and in the final two matches, Stuart Lech won by fall over Carlos Neci in the 220 pound match at 40 seconds, and Mason Kelb in the 285 pound bout 5-2 to give Edwardsville their 58-12 win.
The Tigers are 2-0 in dual meets for the year, and next wrestle Friday evening at Belleville West, and Wagner knows the Maroons will give his team a good test.
"They've got some solid guys, they've got a state champion and a third place finisher back from last year, and some other good kids," Wagner said. "So we'll be tested real well tomorrow night."
But so far, so good for the team, and Wagner gave credit to assistant coach Doug Heinz for helping the heavyweight wrestlers prepare for their bouts.
"Yeah, keep going, have fun and get better," Wagner said. "That's what we're going to work on. Like I said, my heavyweights, they work with coach Heinz; coach Heinz is tough on them. He's tough on them every day, and that came out. So, kudos to coach Heinz for getting these guys ready, because they performed real well."