The Rolla wrestling team traveled to Platte County for a tournament against some of the top tournament in the state on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 19-20. The Bulldogs managed to earn a second place finish as a team along with a pair of individual championships over the two day tournament. One of the biggest highlights wasn't a championship, but a new school record, as Coleman Brainard broke the school record for career wins at Rolla.
Anthony Sederburg got things started with a phenomenal weekend at 106. He stormed through pool play with four pins, three of which came in the first period. Sederburg didn't slow down when he advanced to bracket play. After pinning Olathe North's Joe Triscornia, Sederburg earned a spot in the championship against Seneca's Levi Connelly, the top ranked wrestler at 106 in Class 1. Sederburg's pin streak ended in the championship, but he was able to get a 9-0 major decision win over Connelly to win the tournament. Sederburg has a glowing record at 28-1 and is ranked second in Class 3 at 106.
"He's lost one time this year. He lost that by two points to the guy that's ranked number one, he's ranked number two," said Rolla head coach Marty Hauck. "His work this year is going to pay off, hopefully."
Nate Pulliam kept the ball rolling at 113. Pulliam has wrestled at 120 for most of the season, but dropped down to 113 for the tournament and continued to shine. The freshman cruised through pool play with two pins, a 16-0 tech fall and a 12-4 major decision. A pin of Oak Groves' Anthony Erickson sent Pulliam to the championship against defending State Champion Brayden Bradley from Belton. Pulliam beat Bradley earlier this season and was able to pull off the feat again for come from behind 8-4 win. The win gave Pulliam a first place finish and kept his perfect season alive at 33-0.
"His offseason and his work up to this point is obviously paying off for him and that's exciting for a coach to see," said coach Hauck. "He was behind in the championship match 2-0, we come back and tie it and he falls behind again 4-2 and come back and end up winning 8-4. It was great to see him overcome those things."
Coleman Brainard also found himself on the medal stand during the tournament at 138. Brainard had a fantastic run through pool play with three wins, including a 2-1 tiebreaker victory over the state's top ranked wrestler at the weight, Sam Frankowski from Rockwood Summit. Brainard went on to beat Kirksville's Blake Howard on an 11-3 major decision to earn a spot in the championship. The Bulldog senior faced off against Jevon Parrish, a three-time Kansas State Champion from Olathe North, in the championship, falling 9-5 to finish in second. While Brainard fell in the championship, he had the biggest highlight of the weekend by breaking the school record for career wins on Friday. The record of 162 was set by Tristan Barr last season. Brainard now sits at 165 wins and has a record of 27-3 on the season.
"He's a very dedicated kid and it's great to see," said coach Hauck of his senior 138 pounder. "He's got great grades, great personality and his character is outstanding. He's what you want your wrestler to be and it's exciting for him to get that reward of being the all-time win record holder and he's going to continue to build on it. We've got several more matches ahead of us and he's already raised the bar and he's going to continue to do that."
The final medal for Rolla came from Bryce O'Connor at 152. O'Connor opened the weekend with two first period pins, but was pinned by Joe Biondo from Belton, the top ranked wrestler at 145 in Class 3. O'Connor bounced back with another pin in pool play before going to the bracket. After getting pinned by Seneca's Dayton Fields, O'Connor went to the third place match, where he beat Helias' Jackson Careaga 11-6.
Rolla also had a slew of other great finishes. Collin Woods took fourth at 120, stepping in for the injured Zack Fennell. Woods only had two pool play matches, getting pinned in his first, before getting a win by medical forfeit. He took a tough 4-0 loss to Helias' Evan Winder in his semi-final, before falling to Oak Grove's Tucker MacWilliam 10-0 to finish in fourth place.
Dathan Mickem also placed fourth for the Bulldogs at 132. Mickem went 3-1 in pool play with his sole loss coming against Seneca's Max Roark on a 10-3 decision. Mickem lost his semi-final match 4-0 to Helias' Zack Carr to set up a matchup against Roark in the third place match. Roark again had the upper hand again, winning 6-0 to put Mickem in fourth.
Jacob Dobkins also had the chance to wrestle for third at 220. He won his first three matches, but was pinned in his final pool play match by Platte County's Sage Smart. Dobkins then faced Kirksville's Colton Gillespie, where he was pinned at the end of the second period. Dobkins faced Keegan Bradley from Belton for third, getting pinned at the end of the first period to finish in fourth.
Justin Briggs found himself in the same boat at 285. The Rolla heavy weight won his first three matches of pool play, before taking a tough 1-0 loss to Matthew Knopp from Platte County. Briggs was forced to forfeit his next two matches due to an injury, which put him in fourth place.
Other finishes for Rolla included sixth place finishes from Justin McEnany, Lucas Lambeth and Jacob Phillips, as well as an eighth place finish by Colton Franks and 12th place finishes from David Redding and David Bridges.
"It was phenomenal, it was a good tournament for us. I'm excited about what the future is gonna be for this team, especially once we get some guys back and get over some sickness and stuff," said coach Hauck. "I think we're gonna be a contender."
Rolla ended the weekend in second place with 245.5 team points. Platte County won their tournament with a team score of 279.5, while Seneca rounded out the top three with 223.5. While coach Hauck was thrilled with the finish, one of his biggest takeaways was Rolla's good health.
"We came out of this weekend healthy. It's a bruiser of a tournament, that was one of our goals on the coaching staff was to come out healthy and ready to go for this week," said the Rolla head coach. "We've got a weekend off to stay healthy and get the bodies rejuvenated and ready for conference, District and State."
Rolla will have one event this week before that well deserved weekend off, when they host Sullivan and Hillcrest for Senior Night on Tuesday, Jan. 23.