The St. James wrestling team traveled to Parkview to take part in the 50th Annual Kinloch Classic on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 29-30. The Tigers were without Mikey Crocker and Cole Petty, two of their top wrestlers, over the weekend, but still earned three top five finishes on their way to a 16th place team finish.
With two of their top wrestlers out, more pressure was on the remaining Tigers. The top finisher for St. James was Drake Ortiz, who earned a third place finish at 220. Ortiz cruised through his first three matches with three pins. Ortiz then earned a spot in the quarterfinal with an 11-5 win over Rogersville's Barrett Beaird. Ortiz went on to pin Republic's Austin Moody before losing on a pin to Buffalo's Colton Kenady in the semifinal. The loss sent Ortiz to the third place match, where he beat Beaird again, this time on a pin in 4:56, to finish in third.
Ty Lewis took fourth for the Tigers at 126. Lewis opened the tournament with two wins, one pin and a tech fall, before losing to Republic's Michael Taylor on a 13-2 major decision. After the loss, Lewis had a tough match against Obi Smith from Bentonville for a quarterfinal. The two needed overtime, but Lewis was able to win by sudden victory 9-7. Lewis then faced off against Rolla's Zach Fennell, who beat him on a tech fall 16-0. The loss sent Lewis to the consolation bracket, where he beat Riley Hawk from Bolivar on a tiebreaker 6-2. That win set up a rematch against Taylor. Lewis made things closer the second time around, but Taylor took the match 8-2, putting Lewis in fourth place.
The final top five finish for St. James came from Thomas Henderson at 138. Henderson won his first five matches, three of which came on first period pins. After five straight wins, Henderson faced off against Helias' Zack Carr, who took down the Tiger 7-2. The loss sent Henderson to the consolation bracket, where he beat Brock Carter from Rogersville 2-1 for the chance to wrestle for fifth. Marshfield's Will Snider stood between Henderson and fifth place and Henderson was able to pull out a 7-5 victory.
Cort Petty fell just outside the top five at 195, finishing in sixth. The younger Petty earned pins in each of his first four matches, the final three each taking less than a minute. Those four wins put Petty in a quarterfinal against Warrensburg's Jacob McKinney, where he was pinned in the third period. Petty recovered in the consolation bracket to beat Noah Jennerjohn from Kickapoo with a first period pin. Petty wrestled against Raymore Peculiar's Joey Stalone for fifth and lost a nail-biter 2-1.
Nick Wilson had a solid tournament for the Tigers, but was held back by an injury on Saturday. Wilson went 4-1 in this first four matches, winning two of those matches by one point. He also earned a pin and a tech fall win. Wilson then went to the quarterfinal. where he lost a 4-2 decision to Cole Amelunke from Jackson. After that match, Wilson was not able to continue wrestling due to an injury and finished the weekend in eighth as a result.
Other finishes for St. James included Kaylynn Crocker, who had two wins over the weekend to place 13th at 106. Jaden Settle finished in 16th at 120 for the Tigers with one pin. Sage Gibson wrapped things up with a 19th place finish at 160, winning three matches during the tournament.
Those finishes gave St. James 174 team points, which put them in 16th place. Rolla won the tournament with 364 team points.
The Tigers were supposed to kick off 2018 with a dual against Potosi on Tuesday, Jan. 2, but that dual was postponed. They will now open the new year with a dual at Fatima on Thursday, Jan. 4