Eagles Wrestlers Excelling As District Tournament Approaches
With just nine days left to go until the Class 2 District 1 tournament at St. Clair, Eagles head coach Matt Peregoy said the team is in solid position for its first-ever championship.
Sullivan is coming off a second place finish on Saturday at the Bob Georger Classic in De Soto. Nine wrestlers took home medals and Peregoy said they are ready for what will be a tough slate ahead.
“I am definitely pleased with our team’s progress toward the goal of a district title,” Peregoy said. “We talk every day about the things we need to do to keep our best foot forward when considering districts and state. These young men are on point and ready to meet the challenge.”
Sullivan will wrestle Odessa and Chillicothe on Friday, two programs that rank among the toughest in Class 2.
The Eagles face Dexter and Bolivar on Saturday. Both schools are top 10 programs in Missouri.
Peregoy said it will be a good barometer for where the team stands heading into districts.
“While there are a number of uncertainties in our sport, there are definitely things within our control,” he said. “I am telling the guys to focus on what we can control to get the job done and enjoy the ride.”
Sullivan’s January schedule kept getting interrupted by weather, but the Eagles were able to square off against two tough opponents — Rolla and Ste. Genevieve.
The Eagles lost to Rolla 40-25, but Peregoy felt the team wrestled hard “and gave them everything they wanted” on the mat.
Sullivan defeated Ste. Genevieve, a tradition-rich wrestling school that always dominates the district tournament.
Peregoy said the Eagles wanted to send a message that they were the team to beat.
“The team answered that challenge,” he said.
Sullivan’s performance at the Bob Georger Classic demonstrated how good the Eagles can be.
“Every athlete that stepped on the mat over the weekend gave everything they could,” Peregoy said. “They had to make sure our team reached the highest level of success.”
Dillon Witt and Evan Shetley came away with championships. Tristan Brown took second and went to double overtime against De Soto’s Landon Porter, a Class 3 champion last season.
Peregoy described it as one of the most “epic” high school heavyweight battles he’s witnessed.
Kobie Blankenship and Carter Dace both came away with third place finishes and Peregoy is impressed with Dace’s progress.
“Carter has been really coming on strong in only his second year of wrestling,” he said. “To finish third in a tournament of this caliber is a stellar achievement for him considering the learning curve that he has to beat to have an impact in this sport.”
Ty Shetley and Trey Eplin took fourth, while Joey Lewis and Ethan Hurt were fifth.
“Joey is a second-year wrestler who has been turning a huge corner in his wrestling, getting better with each match,” Peregoy said.
Sullivan will look to continue their strong performances to close out the regular season and build on last season’s success at the district tournament, when 10 wrestlers qualified for state. Peregoy is keeping the focus on that title and the journey.
“No matter what happens, it’s going to be an exciting one,” he said.