The O’Fallon Township High School wrestling team opened their winter season with an impressive string of victories over the past two weeks. Emerging from the Edwardsville Super Duals unscathed, the Panther grapplers reeled off six consecutive triumphs despite relinquishing points in the lightweight classes.
Integral to the squad’s initial success has been the efforts of 138-pound senior Jalen Jones. With forfeitures in two of the lighter weight classes, Jones, Alek Fulton and Alex Ziegler have had to compensate for the loss of points, and to this juncture in the season, they have come up big, allowing the Panthers to rally from early point deficits.
Jones has been perfect through the first two weeks of competition, compiling a 7-0 record, the most recent win coming over his 138-pound Granite City opponent. The O’Fallon grappler, the son of Rachelle and Dwayne Jones, showed determination and grit in rallying to defeat his Warrior opponent in the first match of the evening — a momentum-changer, according to O’Fallon coach Glenn Exton.
Jalen was our first wrestler on the mat against Granite, and his win provided a much-needed boost for our team.
Glenn Exton, O’Fallon wrestling coach
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“It’s never a good thing to spot teams points, especially a team with the tradition of Granite City,” Exton said. “Jalen was our first wrestler on the mat against Granite, and his win provided a much-needed boost for our team.”
“I wrestle so I can let out stress, and it’s also fun to dominate on the mat,” Jones said. “I began wrestling my eighth-grade year. I started because my older brother had wrestled. I have been able to succeed in the sport because of a lot of people encouraging me and because I have put in a lot of time on the mat in the off season.
“I’ve learned that it is necessary to work hard for your spot, because no position is promised to anybody. You end up investing a lot of time, which makes you think before quitting something and realizing why you started participating in the sport in the first place.”