The Rolla wrestling team took part in the Republic Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 13. The Bulldogs were without two of their top wrestlers, but still managed to end up in second place, two points shy of Joplin for first.
Nate Pulliam (120) and Zach Fennell (126) both missed the tournament because they needed to manage their match counts. Wrestlers are not allowed to wrestle in more than 50 matches before Districts and both had at least half of those matches under their belts before the Republic Tournament. This was certainly a setback for Rolla, as Pulliam and Fennell are both undefeated on the season.
Collin Woods and Payton Lambeth stepped in for Pulliam and Fennell, respectively, and did quite well. Woods finished in fifth place by winning two matches after getting pinned with 10 seconds left in the match during his first bracket play bout. Lambeth placed sixth after getting pinned to open bracket play. Lambeth then pinned Justin Williams of Central before getting pinned in the fifth place match. The two combined to give Rolla 17 team points.
The rest of the Bulldog squad stepped up to make up for some of the points lost without Pulliam and Fennell and they did that with medals. Six Bulldogs finished in the top three and that started at the lightweights with the Sederburg brothers.
Anthony led off at 106, as the elder Sederburg pinned his way through pool play before pinning Reeds Springs' Riley Newsom to open bracket play. Sederburg then beat Preston Sleeth from Logan-Rogersville in the semi-final. Anthony finished off the tournament with a first place finish by pinning Kyler Carter from Webb City. Anthony currently sits with one loss and a record of 26-1.
The younger Sederburg, Xander, also had a strong weekend at 113. The freshman won both of his pool play matches with a pin and a major decision. He then went on to pin Shane Thompson from Reeds Springs. Xander took a tough 4-1 loss to Logan-Rogersville's Gabe Brandenburg to go to the third place match. Sederburg recovered in the third place match by pinning JC White from Rogers Heritage.
The next medal for Rolla came at 138 from Coleman Brainard. The Rolla senior earned his 150th win during the Bulldogs' last tournament and he kept rolling at Republic. Brainard had first period pins in all three of his pool play matches, before pinning Rogers Heritage's Justin Brown in his semi-final match. Brainard capped off his tournament with an 8-0 major decision over Willard's Tallon Heimbach to take home first place. Brainard's record now sits at 27-2 on the season.
The medals kept coming at 145 from Lucas Lambeth. Much like Brainard, Lambeth had first period pins in all three of his pool play matches, but that's where their paths diverged. Lambeth wrestled Lucas Campbell from Logan-Rogersville in his semi-final, where the Rolla senior lost on a 9-0 major decision. Lambeth came back in the third place match where he pinned Joplin's Terry Shuey in the second period.
Colton Frank finished in second place at 182 to earn a medal. Franks won his first pool play match on a pin before a 12-2 major decision win sent him into the championship bracket. Franks pinned Harold Pinks from Raytown South in the semi-final to advance to the championship where he was pinned by Joplin's Lucas Kuehnel to place second.
The final medal came from Justin Briggs, who also finished in second place at 285. Briggs had first period pins in his first three matches before a second period pin of Seth White from Parkview in his final pool play match. Those pins sent Briggs to the championship, where he wrestled Joplin's Jacob Booe. Booe edged Briggs 3-1 to take the championship and seal Joplin's two point win over Rolla as a team in the tournament.
Those weren't the only wrestlers for Rolla, as several other players chipped in points towards the second place finish.
Dathan Mickem finished in fifth place for Rolla at 132. Mickem went 1-1 in pool play before winning both of his matches in the consolation bracket in 10-9 and 4-1 decisions to finish in fifth.
Bryce O'Connor finished in sixth for Rolla at 152 after going 2-1 in pool play. He beat Hollister's Josh Neville with a 33 second pin in the consolation semi-final before losing a 4-1 decision to finish sixth.
Tristan Lietz finished in 10th a 160. After losing both of his pool play matches, Lietz won a 7-3 decision over Caleb Zweerink of Central. Lietz went on to lose 5-0 in the ninth place match.
Jacob Phillips placed sixth for the Bulldogs at 170. After going 1-1 in pool play, he beat Hollister's Liam Mefferd with a first period pin. He went on to get pinned in the fifth place to finish in sixth.
David Bridges took 10th for Rolla at 195. After getting pinned in his first two matches, Bridges beat Keith Allen from Central 3-1. Bridges was pinned in his final match to take 10th.
Jacob Dobkins rounded things out with a fifth place finish at 220. Dobkins went 1-1 in pool play, before getting pinned in his first bracket play match. Dobkins picked it up after that with two straight pins to finish in fifth place.
"They wrestled really really well. I'm very excited, very proud of them," said head coach Marty Hauck of his team. "We worked on a lot of things. We gave up a few matches because we were trying some things and the kids are starting to apply what we're doing in practice in matches and big matches. It cost us a couple of matches, but in the long run I think we're gonna get exactly what we want out of that."
Rolla finished the tournament in second place with 187 team points, just two points behind Joplin's 189. Despite the close score, coach Hauch said his kids weren't keeping an eye on that team score, they just wanted to take care of business during their matches.
"to be honest, the team didn't even look at the team scores until the end," said Hauck. "Halfway through the tournament we looked at it and saw we were in the top three, but other than that, we were just focused on what we'd been working on that week in practice. We weren't really worried about the score, I just told kids to work hard and see where the chips lie in the end and we came up two short."
Rolla is in the middle of a busy stretch. After the Republic Tournament, Rolla will wrestle Lebanon and Glendale on Tuesday, Jan. 16, weather permitting. They will then wrestle in the very competitive Platt County Tournament this weekend on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 19-20.
"We're trying to get some momentum," said coach Hauck of the busy schedule. "We're gonna see some great competition this week and this weekend. Going to Platt County this weekend, we're gonna see a lot of State rivals and State-level competition and see where we're at in the state.
"But at the same time, we've gotta get kids healthy, that's our biggest goal right now," added Hauck. "We need to get kids out of the sickness and at the same point in time watch match counts, make sure their eligible and and get that momentum going before conference, Districts and State."