The Rolla wrestling team ended 2017 on a high note when they took part in the Kinloch Classic in Parkview on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 29-30. For the second time in program history, the Bulldogs win the holiday tournament with 364 team points. Four Bulldogs also earned individual first place medals.
Rolla's first individual championship came at the lowest weight. Anthony Sederberg had yet another stellar performance. For the second straight tournament, Sederburg earned a first place finish with an undefeated record over the span of two days. The elder Sederburg brother kicked off the weekend with a pair of pins, before winning his third match by major decision to advance to the bracket. Sederburg started with a :32 second pin in the quarterfinal, before pinning Jackson's Riley Wiseman in 1:23 to advance to the first place match. Sederburg capped things off with a shutout 6-0 win over Ozark's Clayton Moison, whom he beat by major decision earlier in the tournament.
"You take a kid like Anthony and last year he had a broken collarbone and was out for a bit of the season at the end. This year, in the last two tournaments he hasn't given up a single point," said head coach Marty Hauck. "That's phenomenal, it speaks highly of him and his work ethic."
Rolla's next first place finish came from Nathan Pulliam at 120. After winning his first match by major decision, Pulliam pinned his next three opponents to set up his quarterfinal match. The freshman faced off against Rogersville's Riley Williams, winning the match on a 17-0 tech fall. He then won a 4-2 decision over Helias' Evan Winder to advance to the championship. Pulliam ran into McDonald County's Oscar Ortiz in the first place match, winning the match on a 9-3 decision.
He was followed immediately another championship at 126 from Zach Fennell. Fennell rolled through his first two matches with pins before beating Jonah Gann Gann from Rogersville 5-2. That sent the sophomore into a quarterfinal against Ruger Leppert, where Fennell earned another pin. He then went on to beat St. James' Ty Lewis 16-0 for a tech fall to advance to the championship. Fennell kept his undefeated record alive by beating McDonald County's Jakob Gerow in a nail-biting 1-0 match, bringing that record to 23-0 with a first place finish.
Rolla's fourth championship of the day came from senior captain Coleman Brainard at 145. Brainard swept his first three matches on pins before beating Jackson's Noah Uhrhan 16-0 for a tech fall. Brainard then moved into the bracket where he pinned Keaton Rackley of Buffalo in the second period, before winning a 7-3 decision over Windsor's Grant Pauli to advance to the championship. Brainard faced off against Lucas Campbell of Rogersville for first place, winning the match 8-3.
Coach Hauck said that those four wrestlers set the tone for Rolla, as they have all season.
"Those guys have been wrestling well all year. They've been leading in drills and the practice room and doing good things on the mat as well," said coach Hauck. "They work extremely hard outside of the room that people don't see and that's really why they're doing so well. All the work that they're doing outside the room, as well."
Rolla had two more top five finishes on the day, the first of which came from the younger Sederburg, Xander, at 113. Sederburg got out to a great start in pool play with three straight pins, one of which came in overtime over Bentonville's Blake Wolff. Sederburg kept the pin streak rolling in his quarterfinal match against Bolivar's Zack Sokolik, getting the pin in the third period. Sederburg's run ended in the semifinal where he lost a 4-0 decision to Jackson's Alec Bailey. Sederburg recovered by winning his consolation semifinal 4-2 in a rematch against Wolff. That sent Sederburg to the third place match, where he beat Sokolik again, this time on a 3-1 decision.
Justin Briggs also earned a top five finish by placing fourth at heavyweight. Briggs started the tournament with a 4-3 loss on a tiebreaker to McDonald County's Bronnie Kinser, a two time State placer. Kisner won the match, but was forced to forfeit his remaining matches due to injury. Briggs, meanwhile, went on a roll, winning his remaining three pool play matches on pins. Briggs then opened bracket play with a last second pin of Tyson King from Raymore Peculiar. Briggs' run ended when he was pinned by Warrensburg's Tanner Karnes in the semifinal. The loss sent Briggs to the third place match, where he lost by injury default in the third period to Jackson's Owen Leible.
"I think he's gonna surprise a lot of people at the end of the year," said coach Hauck of his heavyweight. "He took a two time State placer...to an ultimate tiebreaker, so they went through three overtimes. We came out on the short side of that, but that was that kid's last match of the tournament. I think we really pushed the pace and pushed the tempo and I think that kid's eyes got a little bit wider, seeing that Justin is coming. Justin sees that he's on that brink of making it to State."
Other finishes for Rolla included an eighth place finish by Jacob Phillips at 170, as well as 10th place finishes by Colton Franks at 195, Jacob Dobkins at 220, Bryce O'Connor at 160 and Justin McEnaney at 132. The Bulldogs also had an 11th place finish from Dathan Mickem at 138, a 16th place finish by James Wick at 152 and a 21st place finish from Matt Osman at 182.
Those finishes combined to give Rolla 364 team points for a first place finish, edging Ozark's 357.5. Raymore Peculiar came in third with 349 points. This was the second time in program history that the Bulldogs have won the Kinloch Classic as a team.
"The kids were excited. They wrestled hard and they tried their best, that's all you can ask of them," said coach Hauck. "I told them at the beginning of the tournament that I didn't care if they won or lost, but we're working on certain things and certain moves and positions and they did a great job of working on those and improving on those throughout the whole tournament and obviously at the end they were excited to get a win on top of it."
Coach Hauck said this tournament win should propel the Bulldogs into a fantastic 2018.
"It's great. The kids are excited. When you walk in and we've got all our trophies and our plaques that we've won over the year, they walk in and they see that," said the Rolla head coach. "The kids see that we're still undefeated, we're still winning, but there's so much more that we want and what we're going for."
Rolla had a few days off before traveling to Waynesville for a dual on Thursday, Jan. 4.