The Rolla and St. James wrestling teams made the trip down to Springfield on Thursday, Dec. 29 and Friday, Dec. 30 for the Kinloch Classic at Parkview. The Bulldogs had three champions, eight medalists and finished in second as a team. St. James had five medalists to finish in 12th.
Rolla's Anthony Sederburg and St. James' Kaylynn Crocker wrestled at 106. Sederburg went undefeated on the first day to advance to the top bracket on Friday, while Crocker was swept in her three matches on day one to wrestle in the bottom bracket. On day two, Sederburg pinned Glendale's Ian White in the second period before losing to Helia's Evan Winder, the eventual champion at 106, by major decision. That sent him into the wrestlebacks, where he earned two straight wins by points to finish third. Crocker was swept in her two matches on Friday, finishing 15th.
Rolla and St. James each had competitors at 113, as well. Rolla's Collin Woods went 2-1 on the first day with his sole loss coming in a 6-4 decision to McDonald County's David Lazalde. Even with loss, he still wrestled in the top bracket on day two. Woods lost another nail-biter to Benton's Scott Lome 9-6. After the loss, a 14-9 win over Riley Hawk sent Woods into a rematch against Lazalde. Woods lost the rematch 7-2 to wrestle in the fifth place match, where he lost by a point to Central's Brandon Williams. The loss in the fifth place match gave Woods a sixth place finish and a place on the medal stand. St. James had Logan Saxbury at 113. Saxbury was swept on day one, sending him to the bottom bracket. Two losses to start day two sent him to the 13th place match, where he pinned Glendale's Kolter Hackworth in the first period.
Rolla had the only local wrestler at 120 in Mason Henderson. Henderson went 2-2 on the first day, sending him to the bottom bracket. He swept his way through the bracket with a pin and two decisions to finish in ninth place.
Rolla had their first champion at 126 with Zach Fennell. Fennell won all four of his matches on Thursday with two pins, a tech fall and a major decision. That 4-0 record on day one made Fennell one of the top seeds in the top bracket, where he won a great match 4-3 against Benton's Obi Smith. He then went on to face Raymore Peculiar's Garrett LaBelle, where he won on a 5-1 decision to head to the championship. Fennell faced Colby Benge from Warrington in the championship with another great match to cap off a great tournament, winning a 6-5 decision to finish in first place. St. James' Ty Lewis wrestled in his first action of 2016 at 126. He went 1-3 on day one, trying to shake off some rust, while also wrestling up a weight class from where he will be at the end of the season. He had two wins on day two and finished in 11th place.
"Zach's putting his name out there," said Rolla head coach Marty Hauck. "We'd like to keep him as an underdog, but right now he's ranked in the top four in State and he's beating kids that are above that right now. He's wrestling at a high level."
Rolla and St. James both had phenomenal performances at 132, as two of the top wrestlers at each school sprinted toward a championship. Rolla's Tristan Barr and St. James' Mikey Crocker both went undefeated on Thursday and ended up on opposite sides of the top bracket on Friday. Both wrestlers had pins in their first match to advance to the semi-final. In their semis, Crocker pinned Raymore Peculiar's Zach Brown, while Barr beat Glendale's Chris Hansen by major decision to meet in the championship. Barr got the best of his friend in St. James, winning an 8-3 decision.
"Tristan and Mikey have known each other for a long time, they've wrestled several times in the past," said St. James head coach Beau Moreland. "Mikey and Tristan both have spent more hours on the mat in the offseason than probably during the season. These guys are taking it to the next level, going to tournaments...it's kinda like they're not necessarily enemies during the season, but when it's the offseason, they kinda all come together to work together to try to get better and whenever it's season time they put their game faces on and go each other their best. A friendly rivalry, but they both want to win."
Rolla and St. James had great performances at 138 as well, with both of their wrestlers finishing in the top four. Rolla's Coleman Brainard and St. James' Thomas Henderson each went 5-0 on day one to head into the top bracket. Brainard earned a pin in hist first match, while Henderson earned a tech fall to set up a semi-final dual between two local competitors. Brainard controlled the match to earn a 14-3 major decision to advance to the championship. Brainard was trailing Warrington's Taylor Brown, who is ranked in the top five in the nation, in the final round when he was slammed to the mat hard. The trainer made the decision to keep Brainard from finishing the match, leading to an injury forfeit and second place finish. Henderson's loss to Brainard put him in the third place match, where he lost to Rogersville's Lucas Campbell 7-4 to finish fourth.
"Coleman's wrestling at a high level right now, he did a great job all tournament long," said coach Hauck. "We ran into a beast in the championship round and it's a beast we're going to beat come February."
Both schools again had wrestlers at 145 with Kevin Casados representing Rolla and Tyler Teague representing St. James. Both wrestlers were in the same pool on day one with Casados winning their head-to-head dual with a first period pin. Casados went 2-2 on day one, putting himself in the second bracket. Teague went 0-4, going into the third bracket. Casados went 1-2 on day two to finish 11th, while Teague went 1-1 to finish 19th.
Gage Maxwell was the lone local wrestler at 152. Maxwell had three pins on day one to sit atop the top bracket on day two. After winning by major decision in his first match, he pinned his way to a championship. The championship pin came against Windsor's Jacob Warren with just three seconds left in the match. The win gave Rolla their third and final championship on the day.
"Gage is staying at the top of his game right now," said Hauck. "We just gotta keep him healthy and keep him flowing. He's a tough kid to beat."
Bryce O'Connor and David Deluca wrestled at 160 for Rolla and St. James. O'Connor went 3-2 on day one to sneak into the top bracket, while a 1-3 performance by Deluca sent him into the bottom bracket. O'Connor lost to the eventual champion, Buffalo's Floyd Miller, in the first round before a pin sent him into the fifth place match. He went into the fifth place match and was tech falled 20-4. Deluca had two losses on day two before winning the fifteenth place match on an injury forfeit.
St. James had the lone local wrestler at 170 in Nick Wilson. Wilson went 3-1 on day one to secure a spot in the top bracket. A first round loss on Friday sent him toward the fifth place match. Wilson had to take down Buffalo's Austin Reid to advance to the fifth place game, which he did with a 14-9 decision. He faced Rogersville's Issac Swearingin in the fifth place match, where he won on an 11-4 decision.
"Nick Wilson just keeps getting better and better and better," said coach Moreland. "We've really got our eye on him, he's gonna be something to watch this season come Districts and State time."
St. James' Cole Petty and Rolla's Colton Franks wrestled at 182. Petty went 4-1 on day one, while Franks went 2-2. Petty made it into the top bracket on Friday, but Franks fell just short and ended up at the top of the second bracket. Petty was pinned in his first round match, but won back-to-back matches to finish in fifth. Petty capped that off with a pin in the fifth place match. Meanwhile, Franks swept his day two matches and finished ninth.
"Cole Petty came out and he's been struggling a little bit this season with his conditioning," said coach Moreland. "He showed he's getting healthier...he did well."
Rolla's Xaviar Douglas and St. James' Cort Petty were both in the same day one pool at 195. Douglas went 3-1, including a pin of Petty, to advance to the top bracket on day two. Petty went 1-3 to wrestle in the second bracket. Douglas was pinned in his first match on Friday, but earned a win in his second match to secure a medal. He wrestled in the fifth place game after that win, where he lost a 6-2 decision to Fayetteville's Matt Muller. Petty also lost his first match before winning his second. After the win, he faced Rogerville's Cameron Chesick, but was pinned to finished 14th.
St. Jame's Drake Ortiz had the final local medal on the day with a third place finish at 220. Rolla's Jacob Dobkins also wrestled in at 220, but went 0-3 on day one to end up in the bottom bracket. Meanwhile, Ortiz went 3-0 to win his pool. Ortiz won his first match on Friday by major decision before losing a heartbreaker to St. Clair's Josh Richards 3-1. Richards went on to take the championship at 220. The loss sent Ortiz into wrestlebacks, where he earned two straight wins to finish third. In the bottom bracket, Dobkins swept his four matches to finish 11th.
Alton Heyer was the final wrestler, representing Rolla at 285. Heyer went 3-1 on day one, but losses in his first two matches on day two sent him into the seventh place match, which he won, leaving him one spot short of a medal.
In the end, Rolla finished in second place just six points behind Buffalo for the tournament win. St. James was ranked as high as eighth, but ended up finishing in 12th.
"We're still gelling as a team," said Hauck. "Placing is a great thing for our kids and a great thing for our program. We're very excited with what we're doing, but we know there's so much more and our goals are bigger than what we're doing right now."
Coach Moreland had a similar mindset with his Tigers.
"We still have quite a bit of work to do," said Moreland with a chuckle. "It was a good tournament to see where we are and we had five guys make it to the medal stands. A couple did pretty well, but could've done better. Really there should've been more. We don't have everybody where they're going to be for Districts, we've got a few guys that are moving weight classes a little bit and once they get there, I expect them to be up there as well."
This week will be a busy week for wrestling. St. James kicks things off with a trip to Potosi on Tuesday, Jan. 3. After that, Rolla and St. James both host duals on Thursday, Jan. 5 with Rolla hosting Waynesville and St James hosting Fatima. St. James will also wrestle in the Park Hills Central Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 7.