They call the consolation semifinal matches “bubble matches” at district wrestling tournaments because the winner goes to state and the loser calls it a season.
When the consolation semifinals got under way at the Class 4 District 3 tournament last Saturday at Lee’s Summit, Raymore-Peculiar found itself precariously on the bubble. Not a single Panther made the finals, and 11 faced the do-or-die of consolation semifinals.
“It’s nerve-wracking,” Ray-Pec coach Brett Barbarick said. “I know how hard the kids work and know how hard the staff works. But sometimes that spotlight comes on and it’s hard to work under those circumstances.”
Much to Barbarick’s relief, Ray-Pec’s season didn’t go bust in the bubble round. Seven Panthers won their bubble matches, guaranteeing themselves to be among the top four finishers in their weight class and advancing them to the Class 4 state tournament going on this weekend at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
Ray-Pec wound up with two third-place finishers and five fourth-place finishers, good for fourth in the team standings with 103.5 points.
One of those taking third was Maren Cahill, whose third consecutive trip to state took a detour when he lost an 8-5 decision to Ozark’s Cole Roark the day before in the 120-pound weight class quarterfinals.
Cahill pinned way through the consolation bracket and avenged his loss to Roark with a 5-2 decision in the third-place match.
“We had a tough Friday,” Cahill said. “A lot of us hit the back side early. We had a nice talk with our coach (Friday) night and that really got us all back in it today.”
Ray-Pec’s Coleton Cahill also placed third with a 9-0 major decision over Alex Noble of Lee’s Summit North at 106 pounds after pulling out a 4-0 decision over Garrett Buttell of Jefferson City in the consolation semifinals. Garrett LaBelle (126 pounds), Garrett Browne (145), Mason Pratt (160), Shane Martin (170) and Joey Stalone (182) all won their bubble matches and lost their third-place matches.
But they had all survived, which allowed their coach to breathe a little easier afterward.
“The kids grounded it out and showed a lot of heart,” Barbarick said. “They showed a lot of character in those matches.”
ROOSTERS QUALIFY FIVE: Pleasant Hill advanced five wrestlers to the Class 2 tournament and took fourth place at the Class 2 District 3 tournament at Clinton.
Chance Sullivan took first at 126 pounds and Cole Lightfoot won the 170-pound weight class for Pleasant Hill, which finished with 114 team points. Lightfoot placed fifth in last year’s state meet at 160 pounds and Sullivan was also a state qualifier.
Also qualifying for the Roosters were Lane Jellison, who placed second at 195 pounds, Nolan Miller, who took third at 160 pound and Ryan Edenburn, who was fourth at 182 pounds.
CLASS 3 DISTRICT 4: Belton crowned four district champions among its four state qualifiers at the Class 3 District 4 tournament at Raytown South. Brandon Bailey won the 106-pound division for the Pirates, while Joe Biondo took first at 145 and Robert Weber was first at 152. Malik Clayborn reached 220 final and placed second.
Belton finished fifth with 116.5 points. Smithville edges Kearney 179-178.5 for district title.
Harrisonville had one champion and three qualifiers and finished seventh with 77.5 points. Austin Campbell won the 285-pound weight class for the Wildcats, pinning Tanner Karns of Warrensburg in the final.
Braden Danner earned a return trip to state with a second-place finish at 160 pounds. Danner, who place fifth last year at 152 pounds, lost a 6-2 decision against Austin Purtle of Smithville in the district final. Harrisonville also had Michael Messer place fourth at 152 pounds.