COLUMBIA – Ty Cochran sobbed uncontrollably as he ran off the Mizzou Arena floor Feb. 22, just moments after he was crowned a state champion.
A reason to celebrate? Of course. But the Harrisonville junior also had a reason for shedding some tears beforehand.
“Because I worked my butt off and it paid off, finally,” Cochran said. “I’ve been waiting for this ever since I started wrestling.”
Cochran’s hard work paid off with a gold medal in the Class 2 126-pound division at the Missouri state wrestling championships. Cochran was one of two Wildcat wrestlers and four from Cass County to reach the finals as the area made a strong showing.
Cochran, a junior, won the title with a 6-1 decision over Ethan Rentschler of Kirksville. But his biggest match may have been the one that got him to that point.
In the semifinals, Cochran had to get past Travis Jones, a two-time state champion from Ste. Genevieve with a 45-2 season record. Cochran pinned Jones in the third period, and then he crossed another goal off his list.
“I met my goal from my freshmen year to beat the semis,” Cochran said. “So I set a new goal, and I achieved that.”
Cochran hoped to achieve his ultimate goal with a quick pin in the final, but Rentschler’s length and scrambling ability kept that from happening. Cochran still got him on his back early and never lost control after scoring his first takedown in the opening period.
“Ty wrestled a great match,” Harrisonville coach Eric DeVenney said. “He maintained great position the whole time. “We told him he had to finish his moves because this kid is such a great scrambler.”
Jericho Harris, Harrisonville’s other finalist at 120 pounds, finished second after falling to Chase Brennan of Monett 10-5 in the title match. Besides facing an undefeated three-time state medalist, Harris also had to deal with a broken finger he suffered early in the match.
“I kept trying to get him to stop, to look at it and tape it up, but he wouldn’t let me do it,” DeVenney said. “But I finally made him stop. That just shows the heart and desire that kid has.”
Harrisonville also had Austin Schaub finish fifth in 106 and 170-pounder Austin Moreland pick up a victory in wrestlebacks. The Wildcats tied for ninth in the team standings with 65 points.
“We bring four guys down here, all of them win matches, three come home with medals, get two in the finals … that’s a great tournament,” DeVenney said.
Pleasant Hill coach Jeff Wyatt wouldn’t say his team had a great tournament, even though the Roosters took fifth in the Class 2 team standings and also had two finalists. Wyatt had just hoped the Roosters would finish a little stronger on the final day.
“We had a really good Thursday and Friday but just came up a little short on Saturday,” Wyatt said. “Our guys battled, though.”
Olen Brattin battled his way to the 138 final, where he lost a 6-4 decision to Trevor Waldner of Dexter. Brattin came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the match 4-4. But he gave up points in the final seconds after getting called for locked hands and surrendering an escape in the hopes of scoring another takedown.
“He’s a great competitor,” Wyatt said. “He gave up a takedown in the first period that ended up costing him the match. The locked hands really didn’t decide the match.”
James Franklin reached the 145 final, where he lost to Bryce Mercer of Oak Grove 5-2. The Roosters also had Dalainey Taala take fourth at 285, Kolin Rogers fifth at 160, Cole Reeves fifth at 195 and Tommy Williams sixth at 220. Larry Kiger (106) and Cole Sullivan (132) each won a match.
“We improved, and that’s our goal to improve every year,” Wyatt said. “We didn’t get our team goal, which was to win a trophy. We’re going to come back next year and we’re going to get one.”
Belton had two medalists in the Class 3 tournament. Caleb Chevalier placed third at 152 with an 8-4 decision over Caleb McIntosh of Rockwood Summit in the third place match. Heavyweight Tyler Gorman finished fourth after losing to Collin Braun of Warrensburg 3-1 in another third-place bout. Clayton Fenzl won three matches before falling in the third round of 120 wrestlebacks, Malik Clayborn won a match at 195 and Sergio Ramos won a match at 220.
Raymore-Peculiar had no medalists among its four entries in Class 4. Jacob Paddock had two wins at 160 for the Panthers. Carter Mackender reached the 220 quarterfinals and Kason Tabor had a win at 195.
Hunter Davis of Sherwood had two wins at 170 in Class 1. The Marksmen’s Curtis Quick reached the 160 quarterfinals but lost his last two matches.