Just a freshman, Pleasant Hill’s Olen Brattin was confident he would be coming home with a medal from the MSHSAA Class 2 Wrestling Championships Feb. 14-16 at Mizzou Arena, Columbia.
And Brattin was right. In fact, he captured second place at 126 pounds, losing the title match by a close 8-6 decision to Oak Grove’s Tyler Brown.
“I was hoping to medal,” Brattin said. “I figured I would place in the top six. I figured I was going to.”
Brattin battled through the first rounds, winning the opening match by a 13-1 major decision over Excelsior Springs’ Bret Rider, the quarterfinal 5-2 over Mexico’s Jordan Jones and the semifinal in a 4-2 overtime victory over Ste. Genevieve’s Cole Reynolds.
And Brattin was barely shaken going into the title match.
“I was confident,” he said. “Nervous, but confident. I was just thinking, ‘I have God on my side. I got this.’”
In the first period, Brown got a takedown, but Brattin escaped. Brown took him down again, but once again Brattin escaped to make the score 4-2. Brown earned another takedown with just a few seconds left to lead 6-2.
Brown got another takedown in the second period, but in the third period Brattin earned another escape and then a reversal to close the gap to 8-5. A stalling penalty was called on Brown with just a few seconds left to make the final score 8-6.
Brattin ends the season with a 49-8 record.
“The beginning of the season I started off a little rough,” he said. “But by the end of the season I got a lot better. My coaches helped me with a lot of stuff. I worked hard in the practice room and now I got a silver medal at state.”
And since he is just a freshman, he has three more years to make it to the top of the podium.
“I’m going to work hard in the offseason and I hope to get first next year,” Brattin said. “Hopefully I will be a three-timer.”
Pleasant Hill tied for 15th place in Class 2 with a team score of 44 points. Brattin was joined at state by Rooster teammates freshman Cole Sullivan at 132, junior Brady Franklin at 145, sophomore Kolin Rogers at 160 and junior Dalainey Taala at 285. Taala finished in fifth place by pinning Moberly’s Jeff Kinder in 39 seconds.
Harrisonville took 25th place with 22.5 points, led by fourth-place finisher sophomore Ty Cochran at 126 pounds. Cochran lost the third-place match to Ste. Genevieve’s Reynolds by a 5-2 decision.
“Ty placing fourth is just great,” Harrisonville head coach Eric DeVenney said. “Ty lost two tough matches. He was in both matches and battled hard. He just came up on the short end.”
Other Wildcat wrestlers that qualified for state included sophomore Jericho Harris at 113 pounds and senior Aaron Rampani at 160 pounds.
“We want more,” DeVenney said. “We will keep battling and keep working for that next year to climb higher. We knew that we lost eight seniors last year and it was going to be tough to replace them. I was very proud of all the kids that stepped in and worked so hard and there were some points in this season that it was pretty rough. The perseverance of the guys was incredible. I’m excited about the guys we will get back next year. They have big plans for themselves and high expectations for next year.”
In Class 1, Sherwood finished tied for 35th with a team score of 8 points, led by junior Curtis Quick at 170 pounds with a sixth place finish. Quick lost the fifth-place match to Whitfield’s Andrew McLaughlin by fall in 3 minutes, 43 seconds, but Quick set some school records this season, including the most wins with 47 and the most pins with 34. Freshman Landon Howard (220) was the other Marksmen wrestler that qualified for state.
“I was really happy with the way both kids wrestled,” Sherwood head coach Jim Gurney said. “Being a freshman in one of the heavier weight classes is difficult, but I thought Landon wrestled tough. He’ll be back next year. I was so proud of Curtis. He wrestled what I thought was his best tournament of the year. He beat a couple of higher ranked kids on his way to his sixth place medal...I asked him how he felt about finishing sixth and he said he was proud but not satisfied. He feels like he can come back and finish even higher next year.”
Raymore-Peculiar tied for 30th place with a team score of 19 points with junior Carter Mackender (195) earning a fifth-place medal. Mackender won by an 8-1 decision over Marquette’s Matt Bruer.
“Carter stepped up for us big time,” Raymore-Peculiar head coach Brett Barbarick said. “He lost first round to a real tough Timberland kid and was able to go all they way through the backside and place fifth. He lost to the same kid twice, which was a style match-up problem for us. It’s something we will have to address going into next season.”
Other Panther wrestlers qualifying for state included freshman Miles Robinson at 106 pounds, junior Mac Diaz at 132 pounds, senior Dustin McElroy at 145 pounds and junior Cail Cooper at 182 pounds. Cooper suffered a concussion the week before state in practice and couldn’t participate at the tournament.
“I thought as a team after we relaxed and just wrestled we did well,” Barbarick said. “Even in matches we lost, we left it all on the mat and have nothing to be ashamed of after the first round. The thing is, the first round we were more than a little nervous and being in the big arena, some of us didn’t deal well with that. I’m hoping to do some things different next season and hopefully we are able to make a return trip with even more wrestlers and wrestle better the first day.”
Belton placed 31st with a team score of 14.5 points, but didn’t have any wrestlers medal. Pirate wrestlers qualifying for state included junior Clay Stine at 132 pounds, freshman John Hiltner (182) and sophomore Andruw Goin (220).