East Peoria boys excel at Quincy

Bryan Veginski
The East Peoria wrestling team earned fourth-place distinction Saturday at the 23-team Quincy Invitational. The Raiders were credited with 178.5 points in the two-day tournament. Senior Casey McWhirter was the 132-pound champion. East Peoria, led by head coach Phil Johns with assistant Zach Fleming, faces Washington Tuesday in Morton in a rescheduled match.

East Peoria is back in a first-place tie with Washington in the Mid-Illini Conference wrestling standings.

The Raiders blasted host Limestone, 54-13, and Metamora, 56-18, Thursday in a triangular meet in Bartonville.

East Peoria, the No. 7 team in the Illinois Matmen Class 2A state rankings, moved to 4-0 in the league, the same record as the Panthers.

The Raiders also extended their season-long winning streak to 14 matches.

Phoenix Stuart, Jacob McCartney, Casey McWhirter, Drew Foster, Tony Hall, Clarence Gomez, Evan Betz and Shawn Hall all won twice for East Peoria.

Stuart claimed a 13-3 major decision vs. Limestone and doubled up a Redbird, 10-5, at 113 pounds. McCartney pinned a Rocket at the 5:37 mark at 120 and benefitted from a Metamora disqualification.

McWhirter was dominant at 132 with a 16-0 technical fall vs. a Redbird wrestler and a second-period pin against Limestone. Foster secured a 9-4 win over a 152-pound Rocket and was handed a forfeit.

Tony Hall had a similar combination as Foster with a 14-2 major decision at 160 against Limestone and a forfeit. It was a reversal at 170 for Gomez, who recorded a 7-4 victory vs. Metamora and was issued a forfeit.

Betz picked up a pair of decisions (6-2 vs. the Rockets and 8-1 against the Redbirds) at 182. Shawn Hall pinned both of his 220 opponents, including a 25-second fall vs. the Rockets.

Also against Limestone, East Peoria's Nick Spokely had a 17-6 major decision at 106 and Keenan Lee won with a pin in 55 seconds at 138. Bryce Sandoval pinned his 145 counterpart in 4 minutes, 48 seconds.

Raiders Shanen Pitzer and Karson Klyber pinned Redbirds at 126 and 285 pounds, respectively. Justin Doty won in a forfeit at 195.

Quincy Invitatiomal

East Peoria produced another high finish over the weekend.

The Raiders accumulated 178.5 points in the two-day tournament to take the fourth-place trophy in a field of 23 teams.

Eleven Raiders were among the top eight, including 132 champion McWhirter.

In his second title of the winter, McWhirter (22-2) won an 8-3 decision in the 132 final against Quincy's Michael Peters.

McWhirter also pinned Galesburg's Tanner Minon and posted a technical fall vs. Jerseyville's Trent Tucker before a pin of Jack Lucie of West Hancock in the semifinals.

Sandoval (13-4) made it all the way to the title bout at 145 before falling in an 11-6 decision to Matt Bilgri of Quincy.

To get to that point, Sandoval defeated Collinsville's Jordan May, 12-5, Devon Wagenbach of Mediapolis with a second-period pin in the quarterfinals and Gage Mast of the Quincy junior varsity, 10-2.

Foster (16-5) capped his day at 152 with a 6-4 win over Collinsville's Daniel Franke to attain third place.

Spokely (17-8) and Betz (21-6) were sixth in 106 and 182, respectively.

Seventh-place East Peoria athletes were: Tony Hall (160, 19-6), Gomez (170, 20-4) and Shawn Hall (220, 19-6).

Snagging eighth-place merit were: Stuart (113, 18-7), McCartney (120, 19-7) and Pitzer (126, 9-6).

Mediapolis won five brackets to win the championship with 324.5 points.

Top-10 grapplers: Two Raiders continue to be state-ranked by Illinois Matmen, while four others are listed as honorable mention.

At No. 3 at 132, McWhirter leads the East Peoria contingent.

Foster stayed in the 10th position in 152.

Spokely (106), Sandoval (145), Tony Hall (160) and Shawn Hall (220) all were HM picks in the Jan. 14 update.

Second try for showdown: East Peoria's highly-anticipated match vs. sixth-ranked Washington is at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Morton.

The battle of league unbeatens will be broadcast live by Illinois Matmen.

The triangular originally was set for Jan. 7, but was postponed by polar temperatures which followed a significant snowstorm.