By PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
The Rams wrestling team will have a pair of state qualifiers to build their lineup around this season.
Alex and Chase Vosburgh both advanced to state a year ago. Alex is a senior captain this year and will be wrestling in the 160 pound range for the Rams. His junior season ended one match away from the state medal round.
“He’s looking really good,” Mt. Vernon wrestling coach Sean Docherty said. “He’s looking really good. He worked hard in the offseason.”
Chase finished his freshman season with 40 wins. He was eliminated from the state finals after losing his opening two matches.
“He ended up losing his last match up there to the guy who eventually got third,” Docherty said. “It wasn’t like he was losing anybody that wasn’t any good.”
The coach added both have high expectations for themselves this season.
“Both of them, I don’t think they’ll be satisfied with anything less than a championship,” Docherty said. “To say that as a coach, you have to know where your kids are coming from, what they’ve been doing and everything else. I can say honestly I think they’ve got a really good shot at it.”
In addition to the Vosburghs, Docherty said the Mt. Vernon team has a deep lineup this season.
“We’ve really got just strong kids up and down the lineup,” he said. “Now how we match up against other teams, that’s what’s going to keep me up at night.”
At the 106-weight class, Mt. Vernon will have Kalen Roberts. The junior wrestled for the Mt. Vernon Lions Club during his youth years. Roberts lived in Salem during the last two years before his family returned to Mt. Vernon prior to the wrestling season.
“He’s picked up like he never stopped wrestling,” Docherty said. “And he’s a real good kid, real good wrestler. I think we’ll have a 106 for a change that will actually be there and get us some points.”
Quentin Favors, a two-time sectional qualifier, also returns for the Rams. The junior will wrestle in the 120 to 126 pound range. Favors struggled to stay in his 113 weight class last year after experiencing a growth spurt during the season.
The Rams gained a transfer — Tyler Lewallen — from Carterville, and Docherty said he could help the squad this season. He will wrestle around 138 pounds.
“He’s the real deal,” Docherty said. “You can tell he knows his stuff. He knows what he’s doing, and he’s one of those kids he’s helping other kids. He’s trying to show them things off of what we’re doing, and he’s a real good teacher and a good competitor.”
Tristan Penrod will also be a key wrestler for the Rams this year as a sophomore. He will be wrestling in the 195 to 220 pound range. He qualified for sectional last year as a freshman.
“He almost qualified for state as a freshman,” Docherty said. “He’s going to be a big point-getter for us this year, and I think he’s going to do some amazing things.”
Justin Armstrong, who play defensive lineman for the football team, will be one of the team’s heavy weights. He is expected to wrestle around 285 pounds.
“He missed going to sectional by one match last year, but I think he’s got some stuff to prove this year,” Docherty said.
Mt. Vernon opens the season at 6:30 p.m. against Belleville East on Tuesday. The match will be held in Changnon Gym.