The Benton wrestling team swept a River-to-River tri-match last Tuesday against Murphysboro and Pinckneyville to win its third dual match in a row to continue to ride the momentum from its best finish in program history at the prestigious Murdale Wrestling Tournament.
Benton (14-4) had beaten Goreville, 73-6, the Monday after the Murdale before the Rangers beat Murphysboro, 57-21, and beat Pinckneyville, 54-24, the next day.
"We knew they were going to be a hand full of tough matches against Murphysboro and we got the best of those matches," said Benton coach Aaron Robinson. "Pinckneyville started with six forfeits, so the dual was actually over before it started, but the kids that they brought were pretty tough."
The Rangers will return to the mats this week at the Olney Duals on Saturday. The 8-team field is Olney East Richland County, Benton, Herrin, Mt. Vernon, East St. Louis, Lawrenceville, Litchfield and Robinson.
"We got 10 days off before we go to Olney where we'll have three duals," Robinson said. "We have a chance to put in a couple good days of practice and not have to worry about weight or anything just focussing on technique. Hopefully going into Olney we can keep our momentum."
Junior Gabe Craig (38-0) sat out the last three matches and will have a 12-day rest before he returns to action at Olney. Craig is chasing the season record of 45 wins set by four-time state qualifier Oliver Davis in 2016.
Against Murphysboro senior Garrett Cardwell was bumped up from 182 to 195 to face Red Devil senior Nicholas Blaise.
"Cardwell was beating him 3-2 in the third period when he hit a move and Blaise kind of twisted his ankle and ended up with an injury default and out of the match," Robinson said. "At 113 Chris Morris pinned a kid who has beaten a lot of good kids. It was kind of a surprise. Chris went out and pinned him in the first period. It was kind of easy. He's turned it on really well the last few weeks. He got third at Murdale and won the other night against Goreville."
At 132 junior Peyton Swigonski wrestled sophomore Patrick Campbell and beat him by a 7-0 decision.
"Campbell got fifth at Murdale and he's very strong, so we knew it was going to be a little bit of a tough match," Robinson said. "Swig dominated the match taking him down a couple times in the first period. We're really happy the way he's wrestled so far."
Pinckneyville gave up forfeits at 152, 160, 170, 182, 195 and 285. Swigonski, who was bumped up to 138, and junior Tyler Golliher at 145 won by pins.
"Junior Hunter Roberts has been injured and we got him back for his first match of the year at 220," Robinson said. "He's done really well in practice and we've been waiting for him to get healed up. He got a pin in the second period. He's going to be our full time 220 moving forward."