By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON —
A harsh winter storm earlier this week briefly derailed the Rams wrestlers practice for Saturday's regional.
Several inches of snow and ice hit Mt. Vernon on Tuesday. The poor weather resulted in the cancelation of Tuesday's wrestling practice along with every other school-related event. The wrestlers returned to practice Wednesday, and coach Sean Docherty said he liked what he saw from his group.
“Really these guys are hard nosed,” Docherty said. “They know what they need to do. They were ticked off we couldn't practice Tuesday, just for safety reasons. They came in (Wednesday) and just worked their tails off.”
Mt. Vernon wrestlers will compete against eight other schools at Saturday's Centralia regional. In addition to the host team, Mt. Vernon will face Carbondale, Charleston, Effingham, Herrin, Marion, Mattoon and Taylorville. Wrestlers must finish in the top three of their weight class to advance to the Chatham Glenwood sectional.
“Team stuff as far as I'm concerned ended with the South Seven duals, and now it's on them,” Docherty said. “What do you want to make out of your season. This is why we do everything we do all year, why we wrestle the tournaments and dual meets we wrestle in is to get them the experience to be successful in the postseason.”
A pair of Mt. Vernon wrestlers enter the postseason with more than 100 career wins. Quentin Favors (120 pounds) notched his 100th win at the South Seven Conference tournament. Docherty recalled the senior's first varsity competition.
“I still remember him as a first year freshman, his first match, him looking pretty scared, not knowing what's going on,” Docherty said. “He ended up winning that match. That just took off for him.”
Chase Vosburgh (152) also hit the 100-victory plateau. His win came at Marion.
“To get that as a junior, that's pretty amazing to me,” Docherty said. “It takes a lot of kids four years to get that 100th win. It only took him three.”
The strength of the Rams team has been in the lower weights this season. That includes Kalen Roberts (106) and Josiah Fitzjerrells (113).
“(Fitzjerrells) just works his butt off, and he's not anywhere where he wants to be, which is great,” Docherty said. “That's what I like to see out of him, but I think he'll have a good shot at getting out.”
Two of the Rams stronger competitors in the higher weights are Tristan Penrod (220) and Alex Hopkins (195).
"(Hopkins) missed some duals in the middle of January that I think if he would have wrestled in those that he probably would have had over 30 wins by now too.”
Early rounds of the regional start at 10 a.m. Saturday morning with the final rounds expected to begin around 1 p.m.
“To be honest, I think there's a lot of kids that a lot of people may not be counting on to qualify for sectionals,” Docherty said. “I'm kind of looking at it as wild cards. I've seen them. I know what they've done all year and how they've progressed and that's one thing as a coach I always look for.”