The East Peoria wrestling team took care of business Thursday.
With a pair of Mid-Illini Conference home victories, the Raiders stayed within striking distance of first-place Washington.
East Peoria improved to 5-1 in the league. It blistered Metamora, 69-9, and Limestone, 53-15.
Ten Raiders — Phoenix Stuart, Zach Hogan, Austin Harper, Casey McWhirter, Wolfgang Nelson, Tony Hall, Jacob Lovell, Evan Betz, Kade McDonald and Lucas Joseph — had pins against the Redbirds at Allison Gymnasium.
Bryce Sandoval received a forfeit win vs. Metamora, and East Peoria teammate Drew Foster won an 8-2 decision.
The match against the Rockets played out in a similar fashion, with seven of the nine Raider wins producing six points.
Stuart, Harper, Sandoval, Hall, McDonald and Joseph all registered pins. Shanen Pitzer was handed a forfeit.
McWhirter overpowered his foe for a 21-5 technical fall. Foster was credited with a 12-6 decision.
East Peoria will enter the Jan. 26 M-I tournament it hosts one win behind Washington, which holds the last three titles.
The Raiders are listed No. 25 in the Jan. 9 Illinois Matmen Class 2A state rankings, down three spots from the previous week.
The Raiders made a leap of nine spots over the weekend.
After placing 11th a year ago at Quincy, East Peoria was second this January in the 44th edition with 190.5 points.
Joseph won his third tournament championship of the season with a first-place finish in 220 pounds.
He pinned John Riddle of Lincoln before a pin of Mediapolis’ Mike Rubey in the quarterfinals. Joseph then produced a 17-7 major decision over Dennis Wilson of Waterloo.
He capped his title run with a 15-7 major decision vs. Alton’s Joe Shimchick.
Joseph earned crowns in December at Chatham Glenwood and Metamora.
McWhirter rose to second place in the 126 division.
McWhirter pinned Belleville Althoff’s Cody Harris, then squeaked out a 9-7 win against Mascoutah’s Kelton McDonnell to reach the semifinals.
The Raider athlete ensured a title-bout appearance with a pin of Jewell Webb of Cahokia.
Foster was a third-place recipient in 152.
Following a setback in the semifinals, Foster rebounded for a 7-4 wrestleback decision over Quincy Notre Dame’s Blake Schutte.
He concluded his day with a 9-7 win over league rival Derek Schrodt of Canton.
Sandoval (145) was fifth for East Peoria, while Harper (120), Pitzer (132) and Lovell (170) all were sixth.
Also contributing wins for the Raiders were: Stuart, Hogan, Nelson, Hall, Betz and McDonald.
Mediapolis, with five champions, won the team title with 310 points.