Pleasant Hill knew going into the Class 2, District 3 tournament Feb. 8-9 at Clinton that they had a chance to take home the district title.
The Roosters were close, taking second with 147.5 points behind Monett with 166.5 points, but they still are accomplishing some great goals, such as sending six wrestlers to the MSHSAA state tournament this weekend at the Hearnes Center in Columbia.
“The coaches and I knew going into districts that we would be in the running for a district title,” Pleasant Hill head coach Jeff Wyatt said. “It’s a huge step for our kids considering that we placed ninth at districts last year, we graduated both state qualifiers and we lost two juniors to injury (Cole Reeves and Kace Beattie) that were both in the bubble matches to qualify for state last year. Monett had a great final round winning seven of eight matches and getting big pins from their guys. I am very proud of the improvements that the team made and how they responded to the pressure of being in the race for a tournament title, something that they haven’t experienced much this year.”
Pleasant Hill had two district champions. Brady Franklin finished first in the 145-pound weight class with a 2-1 decision over Clinton’s Grant Taylor in the championship match and Kolin Rogers (160) took first with a pin over Harrisonville’s Aaron Rampani in the title match in 3 minutes, 26 seconds.
“Brady beat two guys that had beaten him earlier in the year on his way to first place,” Wyatt said. “He has really stepped it up the second half of the season.”
Dalainey Taala (285) took second place, losing the championship match by fall in 3:31 to Nevada’s Sam Ellifrits and Olen Brattin (126) finished second, losing the title match by a 13-3 major decision to Harrisonville’s Ty Cochran. Jacob Randle (182) placed third, winning his third-place match by a 10-6 decision over Bolivar’s TJ Ridge and Cole Sullivan (132) took fourth, losing the third-place match by an 8-4 decision to Marshall’s Aaron Sims.
“Olen Brattin and Dalainey Taala lost finals matches that I know they would like to have back, but they are looking forward to getting a chance for a rematch at state,” Wyatt said.
Harrisonville finished in ninth place with a team score of 83 points at the same district tournament, qualifying three wrestlers to state.
Taking first was Cochran at 126 pounds with the win over Brattin in the championship match and placing second was Rampani with the loss to Rogers in the title match. Jericho Harris (113) took third, winning his third-place match by a 5-4 decision over Bolivar’s Logan Myers-Webb.
Raymore-Peculiar had five state qualifiers from the Class 4, District 3 tournament held Feb. 8-9 at Jefferson City. The Panthers finished ninth as a team with a score of 85.5 points.
“The team competed very hard all weekend, and I’m very proud of how our kids wrestled all season,” Raymore-Peculiar head coach Brett Barbarick said. “We have a younger team and some of our kids got a valuable lesson on how to compete in a pressure-filled tournament like districts.”
The Panthers were led by Mac Diaz (132) with a second-place finish and a loss in the championship match by a 6-3 decision to Rock Bridge’s Jason Kiehne. Carter Mackender (195) took third place, winning his third-place match by medical forfeit over Kickapoo’s Tony Grant.
At 106 pounds, Miles Robinson finished fourth, losing the third-place match by fall in 2:47 to Nixa’s Stanton Finley. Dustin McElroy (145) took fourth, with a loss in the third-place match by pin in 3:39 to Jefferson City’s Rodney Webbe. Cail Cooper (182) also took fourth with a 6-5 decision loss to Eureka’s Mitchell McCain in the third-place match.
“The thing with Carter’s bracket is that the number 1, 2, and 3 ranked kids in the state were all in the same district,” Barbarick said. “Dustin McElroy will be making his third trip back to the state tournament and we’re prepared for him to wrestle well and compete hard.
Barbarick also said that senior Zach Short (152), lost in the bubble match in the last 15 seconds and second-year wrestlers Aaron King (220) also lost in a bubble match.
“Aaron is sophomore who wrestles 220 even though he only weighs about 195,” Barbarick said. “So for him to win a couple of matches against bigger, more experienced wrestlers is a good confidence builder going into next season.”
Belton competed at districts in the Class 3, District 4 tournament Feb. 8-9 at Liberty, finishing in sixth place with a team score of 89 points.
“The kids have had a charmed year finishing with a 13-3 dual season,” Belton head coach Jeff Davis said. “They placed in all regular season tournaments – winning two. Districts were held in arguably the most difficult in the state of Missouri.”
The Pirates qualified three wrestlers for the state tournament and had five wrestlers lose in the bubble round. John Hiltner (182) took second place, losing the championship match by a 16-1 technical fall to Winnetonka’s Anthony Flores. Andruw Goin (220) also finished second, losing the title match by fall in 1:03 to Platte County’s Trent Sluder. Clay Stine (132) placed third, winning his third-place match by an 8-0 major decision over Staley’s Robert Bastarache.
“The wrestlers have been hampered by the flu and season-ending injuries,” Davis said. “We respect their perseverance in a great effort.”
Sherwood had two wrestlers earn spots at state from the Class 1, District 2 tournament held Feb. 8-9 at Versailles. The Marksmen finished in ninth place with a team score of 48 points.
Curtis Quick (170) placed second with a loss in the championship round by a 16-0 technical fall to Holden’s Max Mickey. Landon Howard (220) finished fourth, losing the third-place match by pin in 2:26 to Seneca’s Devin Madison.