Just like his coach predicted, Jerrett Villinger learned from his mistakes. After losing in the semifinals of the Gateway Athletic Conference Tournament earlier this month, Warrenton Head Coach Kevin …
Just like his coach predicted, Jerrett Villinger learned from his mistakes.
After losing in the semifinals of the Gateway Athletic Conference Tournament earlier this month, Warrenton Head Coach Kevin Fowler said Villinger wasn’t used to wrestling a full three-period match; a byproduct of pinning nearly every opponent this season.
Saturday at the St. Charles Invitational, Villinger got his shot at redemption.
After pinning his first three opponents in the 160-pound division, he beat Ladue’s Aiden Morley, 8-2, to capture the title.
“Jerrett looked strong throughout the tournament,” Fowler said. “He beat a state-ranked opponent in the championship match and was in total control throughout. He looked a lot better in the third period and I think that’s because it was a combination of being in that situation again and him doing some extra things outside of regular practice time now.”
Villinger cruised to the championship match with three pins.
He took down Orchard Farm’s Aaron Smith and Brentwood’s Josiyah Reed in the second period before taking out Sam Mulligan of John Burroughs in the first period of the semifinal match.
He improved his record to 28-2 on the season.
“He still has another level to get to,” Fowler said, “and I’m confident he’ll continue to do those extra things to put him where he wants to be at the end of the year.”
After losing in the first round of his bracket, Ben Chernaskey (170 pounds) pinned James Seitzer of Orchard Farm 21 seconds into their consolation first-round match, and eventually made it to the consolation semifinals, where he lost to Priory’s Greg Rolwes.
He was scheduled to face St. Charles’ Treyvon Ward in the fifth-place match, but won due to a medical forfeit, finishing the tournament with an official record of 4-2.
“Ben had a good showing as well. He’s a talented, hard-working kid that just needs to believe more in his abilities,” Fowler said. “He’s paid his dues for two years on the lower level and now needs to understand this is his opportunity to do some good things. He’s a much better wrestler than I think he gives himself credit for. Of course, this will come as he gets more matches under his belt, but we as coaches would like to see him seize the moment a little more.”
Zach Blackwood (220) won a pair of matches via pin to finish 2-2 overall.
“Zach had a nice tournament,” Fowler said. “He stepped in for really his first action of the year and was wrestling up basically two weight classes and got two nice wins. He didn’t have a bad loss, he just ran into two very good wrestlers that he was undersized against. He’s a very athletic, aggressive kid who is going to give you his best effort every time out, and we can’t ask more than that from him.”
Zach Alexander (145) also finished 2-2 for the tournament.
“It was a large tournament with some good teams,” Fowler said. “I’d say this was very comparable to the type of competition level we will see at districts in a few weeks.”
The Warriors, which were scheduled to compete at Union Tuesday before school was canceled due to the cold weather, will host the GAC North quad Wednesday.
“Overall, we’re still banged up and fighting some injuries, but the guys that are wrestling are giving us good effort and improving,” Fowler said. “We still need to keep working and improving on our basic techniques and conditioning, but we’re headed in the right direction. Districts is basically three weeks away and we have a lot of wrestling between now and then, so we’ve got to focus on improving ourselves every practice so we put ourselves in position to wrestle through to the state tournament.”.TOURNAMENT CHAMPION — Jerrett Villinger wraps up Orchard Farm's Aaron Smith last weekend at the St. Charles Invite. Villinger won the 160-pound division with a 4-0 record. Derrick Forsythe photo.