The Rolla wrestling team wrapped up their dual schedule for the season with a trip up to Camdenton on Monday, Jan. 29. The Bulldogs faced off against the Lakers and Smith-Cotton winning both matches comfortably with a 63-16 win over Smith-Cotton and a 59-15 win over Camdenton.
Smith-Cotton was open at two weights to give up six points on Monday night, so the first match came at 113. Xander Sederburg kicked off the night with a 30 second pin of Caleb Bush. Rolla's two undefeated wrestlers then went back to back at 120 and 126 when Nate Pulliam pinned Drake Keele in the first period and Zach Fennell pinned Connor Siron in the second. After an open at 132, Rolla's pin streak kept rolling when Coleman Brainard pinned Terrell Peck in the second period. Lucas Lambeth then pinned Ezra Kraft in 46 seconds.
Smith-Cotton then started a streak of their own, winning the next three matches. Blake Pomajzl won a major decision 17-5 over Bryce O'Connor at 152, Tyshawn Ward pinned Jaden Tate at 160 and Gauge Young pinned Jacob Phillips at 170.
After that, it was all Rolla. Colton Franks snapped Smith-Cotton's streak with a first period pin of Jayden Uptegrove at 182 to kick things off. David Bridges then won an 11-4 decision over David Reyes at 195. Jacob Dobkins and Justin Briggs ended things with back to back pins at 220 and 285. Dobkins needed just 45 seconds to pin Triston Cook, while Briggs was just seconds behind, pinning Brock Cooper in 47 seconds.
The Bulldogs also won six exhibition duals against Smith-Cotton. Wyatt Sowers and James Wick both won on major decisions, Tristan Lietz had a pin, while Matt Osman, and Eric Henson both won on decisions.
Rolla had similar luck against Camdenton. Anthony Sederburg kicked things off at 106 with a 10-6 win over Grant Garrett, before his brother Xander tech falled Jacob Fuglsang 16-0. Pulliam and Fennell kept their perfect seasons alive with pins. Pulliam pinned Colton Libby in the second period, while Fennell pinned Wyatt Stamper in the first. Both Pulliam and Fennell have had spectacular seasons and Fennell gives a lot of credit to his teammates for that success.
“First off, I’m here because I have great partners," said the Rolla sophomore. "From last year to this year, it has just been outworking everybody and no off days. I know that sounds cliche, but it has paid off.”
Fennell said this perfect season of 33-0 to this point has been a blast and having a teammate that's undefeated right alongside him has made it even more special.
“It is awesome. Coming off last year, I think I was 47-9 and now I’m going to be coming into districts 33-0. It is an awesome experience and I’m very thankful for it," said Fennell. "It has been a fun experience having another kid on my team that is undefeated and he is my practice partner with the same mindset. Awesome practices, it’s just a great time, it really is.”
Rolla took their first loss of the dual after the undefeated duo when Camdenton's Ryan Rothove beat Dathan Mickem in a close 2-1 match. Rolla came back with back to back wins at 138 and 145 when Brainard beat Gabe Blain 2-1 and Lambeth beat Winton Neal with a first period pin. Camdenton then got back to back wins when Jesus Ramirez pinned O'Connor and Angelo Alfano pinned Tate.
Rolla swept the rest of the matches, starting with a pin by Phillips over Bryce Leuenberger in the first period at 170. Camdenton was open at 182, before Franks pinned Reese Esqueda in the first period at 195. After another opening at 220, Briggs capped things off with a pin of Marcus Stephens in the third period.
Camdenton won the JV dual 23-15 with Rolla getting wins from Hayden Hicks on a pin, Justin McEnaney on a tech fall and Tristan Lietz on a major decision. Rolla also got an exhibition win from Issac Hunter.
Rolla head coach Marty Hauck was glad to sweep the final dual to finish the season with a dual record of 13-2, but he knows his team has some things to clean up before the Ozark Conference meet at Parkview on Saturday, Feb. 3.
“There is a lot of things we need to work on, actually. Camdenton did a good job of exposing some of that and so did Smith-Cotton," said Hauck after the duals. "There are things we need to work on and we have a big conference tournament coming up Saturday and districts the next week. We have to get momentum going and this definitely helped us with that.”
While Rolla has a great dual record and several ranked wrestlers, Fennell still things his team is flying a bit under the radar.
“We’re underrated it seems like, but we shouldn’t be because our team is awesome," said Fennell after the dual. "We have awesome kids on the team that are doing great things this year and it is going to shock a lot of teams and a lot of people coming into districts and state this year, it really is.”
Coach Hauck just wants his team to keep having fun and wrestling their hardest as they head down to the conference tournament this weekend. If they're doing that, the wins will keep coming.
“Let’s go out, let’s have fun, let’s wrestle as hard as we can and see what the score is at the end. Hopefully it goes our way," said the Rolla head coach. "That is what we told them tonight and every other night. Go out and wrestle, see who comes up with the most points at the end and the idea is to put somebody on their back so let’s do that.”