The St. Joseph-Ogden High School wrestling team spent most of its season wrestling away from its home confines at SJO.
But the Spartans made sure to cap their season in a big way at home.
SJO won a trio of matches on Jan. 21, helping the Spartans finish with an 18-16 record in dual matches this season.
The Spartans concluded their solid regular season on Saturday, placing fifth at the 18-team Quincy Notre Dame Invitational.
Now, SJO will turn its attention to the start of the postseason, with Class 1A regional action set to get underway this Saturday.
Here’s what has transpired on the mat in the last two weeks for the Spartans and what’s ahead:
Performing well in Quincy
SJO made the long drive west to Quincy and came home with one individuals winning a title and four others placing in the top three of their respective weight classes, helping the Spartans finish fifth with 147 points.
Chatham Glenwood won the team title with 227 points, followed by runner-up Jacksonville (184.5), Kirkwood (Mo.) (161.5) and Illini Bluffs (148.5).
Junior Emmit Holt starred for SJO, taking home a championship at 113 pounds. Holt opened his tournament stay with a pin in 3 minutes, 18 seconds against Ethan Hoyt of Macomb before winning a 15-0 technical fall in the quarterfinals against Pierce Eddy of Quincy.
Holt then kept up his superb performance in the semifinals, pinning Wyatt Knowles of Illini Bluffs in 1:57 and then pinning Kayle Blankenship of Chatham Glenwood in 3:05 in the championship match.
Senior Kyle Meccoli also advanced to a championship match, ultimately placing second at 285.
Mescoli pinned Tate White of Herscher in only 34 seconds in his first-round match before earning a 4-2 decision against Aidan Brunier of Quincy Notre Dame in the quarterfinals. Meccoli advanced to the championship match by coming through with a 3-2 decision against Carter Rothzen of Monmouth United before Lorenzo Brinkley of Kirkwood pinned Meccoli in 23 seconds in the title match.
A trio of Spartans placed third in Quincy, with sophomore Holden Brazelton at 132, senior Peyton Sarver at 195 and senior Owen Birt at 220 all ending their tournaments with wins in third-place matches.
Freshman Coy Hayes at 152 (seventh place) and sophomore Jackson Walsh at 106 (eighth place) also registered top-eight finishes for the Spartans.
Finishing strong at home
The Spartans defeated Hoopeston Area 53-26, knocked off Decatur MacArthur 54-21 and cruised past Decatur Lutheran 72-9 on Jan. 21 at SJO.
The Spartans experienced success up and down their lineup against the Cornjerkers, with sophomore Jackson Walsh winning by pin in 2 minutes, 22 seconds at 106 pounds, while Holt won by pin in 3:28 at 113. Freshman Devan Swisher posted a pin in 5:41 at 160, while senior Hunter Ketchum rattled off a quick pin in only 22 seconds at 182. Sarver continued SJO’s dominance in the upper weights with a pin in only 39 seconds at 195, while Birt achieved a pin in 1:31 at 220 and sophomore Quincy Jones registered a pin in 2:34 at 285.
Brazelton also earned a victory for SJO with a 16-0 technical fall at 138, and the Spartans picked up a forfeit win at 132.
The Spartans had seven wrestlers compile pins against MacArthur and also picked up forfeit wins at 113 and 120 to overwhelm the Generals.
Walsh won in exactly one minute at 106, while it only took Brazelton 1:10 to secure a pin at 132. Sophomore Landen Butts secured a pin in 3:27 at 138, while freshman Coy Hayes picked up a pin in 1:26 at 152. Sarver achieved a pin in 2:35 at 195, Birt did so in 2:28 at 220 and it only took Jones 32 seconds to procure a pin at 285.
SJO won six contested matches — all by pin — against Decatur Lutheran and also won by forfeit at 106, 132, 160, 170, 182 and 285.
Freshman Brandon Goodwin produced a pin in 3:48 at 126, while Butts needed only 44 seconds to secure a takedown at 138.
Freshman Vance McComas got the job done in 29 seconds at 145, while Hayes did so at 152 in two minutes before Sarver (39 seconds) at 195 and Birt (1:15) at 220 rounded out the successful meet.
Spartans split pair of home matches
SJO beat Clinton 56-36 in a dual meet on Jan. 19 at home and also lost 76-24 to El Paso-Gridley on the same night.
Against Clinton, Walsh gave the Spartans a pin at 106, doing so in 4:47, while freshman Madie Wells won by pin in 2:48 at 120.
Sophomore Davin Alvarez won by pin in 1:10 at 145, while Hayes did so in 2:58 at 152 and Ketchum emerged with a pin in 2:55 at 182.
Holt won 20-3 via technical fall at 120, Brazelton won 11-2 via major decision at 132 and Butts won 16-0 via technical fall at 138. The Spartans also won by forfeit at 113 and 220.
In the loss to El Paso-Gridley, Holt won by pin in 2:50 at 113, Brazelton won by pin in 2:30 at 132 and Birt won by pin in 1:14 at 220. SJO also secured a forfeit win at 120.
Spartans finish third at Illini Prairie Duals
During the two-day Illini Prairie Conference Duals on Jan. 13-14 at Prairie Central High School in Fairbury, the Spartans compiled a 5-2 record and finished third at the eight-team event.
SJO opened its stay in Fairbury by going 3-0 on Jan. 13, defeating Chillicothe IVC 70-10, beating Rantoul 76-6 and edging Monticello 38-35.
SJO picked up forfeit wins against the Grey Ghosts at 120, 126, 152 and 285, but secured wins in eight of the 10 contested matches.
Holt at 113 (1:02), Brazelton at 132 (51 seconds), Alvarez at 145 (1:14), sophomore Carson Sarnecki at 170 (44 seconds), sophomore Gabe Mata at 182 (1:18), Server at 195 (48 seconds) an Birt at 220 (1:05) all won by pins. Butts picked up a 25-16 major decision win at 138.
The Spartans had five forfeit wins against Rantoul at 106, 113, 120, 182 and 285, and won eight of the nine contested matches.
Seven of those wins came by pin, with Goodwin at 126 (1:46), Brazelton at 132 (1:12), Butts at 138 (1:10), Alvarez at 145 (43 seconds), Sarnecki at 170 (1:56), Server at 195 (4:46) and Birt at 220 (3:33) all winning by pin. Hayes compiled a 19-7 major decision victory at 152.
Hayes delivered the crucial win for SJO against Monticello. With the Spartans trailing 35-333, Hayes secured a 21-6 technical fall at 152 to give SJO the three-point team win.
Five Spartans won by pins against Monticello: Holt at 113 (1:20), Brazelton at 132 (2:39), Server at 195 (36 seconds), Birt at 220 (5:03) and Meccoli (27 seconds). Freshman Camden Getty also won by a 9-5 decision at 120.
On Jan. 14, the Spartans went 2-2 by defeating St. Thomas More 54-30 and Prairie Central 48-30, but losing 67-6 to Unity and 54-26 to Pontiac.
SJO compiled all its points against STM by forfeit, winning at 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 152, 160 and 182.
In the win against Prairie Central, SJO had forfeit wins at 132, 138, 152 and 285. Freshman Gary Page won by pin in only 20 seconds at 106, while Holt won by pin in 1:18 at 1132, Sarver did the same at 195 in 1:39 and Birt needed only 46 seconds to pin his foe at 220.
SJO only got two wins against Unity, with Holt winning by a 5-0 decision at 113 and Brazelton winning via an 11-2 major decision at 132.
The Spartans registered five wins against Pontiac, with four by pin: Holt at 113 (59 seconds), Brazelton at 132 (46 seconds), Butts at 138 (46 seconds) and Birt at 220 (2:52). Goodwin earned an 11-7 decision at 126.
SJO will wrestle in the Class 1A LeRoy Regional this upcoming Saturday
The Spartans are one of 11 teams in the field, along with Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin/Armstrong-Potomac, Clinton, Decatur Lutheran, LeRoy/Tri-Valley, Monticello, Olympia, Rantoul, St. Thomas More, Unity and Warrensburg-Latham.
The top three finishers in each weight class will move on to the individual sectional round that will take place Feb. 10-11 at Clinton. If SJO emerges with the team title, the Spartans will wrestle in a dual team sectional at El Paso-Gridley on Feb. 21.
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