By Kary Booher
For Waynesville 138-pound senior Teyler Bruch, it’s easy to look at the state rankings. The hard part, of course, is to make it legit – and climb that ladder.
Fortunately for him and the Waynesville High School wrestling team, the grind of the schedule – a challenge by their coach – may be paying off.
Bruch scored one of seven pins for the Tigers on Tuesday night, giving Waynesville enough cushion late to hold on for a 47-33 dual victory against the injury-depleted Nixa Eagles. Three of their pins came in the third period.
This from a Waynesville team that, despite an 8-10 dual record, faced four state-ranked teams in one tournament alone as part of a loaded schedule.
“It’s really helping us in the long run,” Bruch said. “We’re just working hard in the wrestling room.”
For Bruch, he now finds himself with a 19-5 record and ranked No. 6 in Class 4. He didn’t face Nixa’s Jordan Eli, out with an injury.
“I want to be higher than that (in the rankings). And I’m working on it,” Bruch said. “I’m just improving on working from bottom and wrestling smart.”
His pin Tuesday was part of the decisive stretch for Waynesville, which saw Nixa freshman Hunter Christeson earn a pin and give the Eagles an early 6-0 advantage.
However, 113-pound Chance Carmack won by technical fall before Waynesville got pins from 120-pound Gavin Sax, 126-pound and No. 5-ranked Sean Sax, then Bruch, 145-pound Peter Lucitt, 152-pound Daniel Albrecht and 160-pound Floyd Moore.
Many of the matches looked the same – Waynesville scoring an early, two-point takedown and then catching a Nixa wrestler in a cradle, leading to a pin. It was 47-18 Waynesville after the 182-pound match.
“(Bruch) is good on his feet. And he’s so tall, it’s hard to get him balled up,” Waynesville coach Lucas Smith said, noting that Albrecht, a sophomore, and Moore, a junior, were pleasant surprises, given they have been in and out of the lineup this season.
Take note of Lucitt, a senior who has been nursing a shoulder injury. He is now 9-0 a year after qualifying for state at 152 pounds. Down a weight class, he is eyeing more, especially after a late, third-period pin Tuesday. He was leading 6-2 entering the third.
“I’m looking to win it, not just medal,” Lucitt said. “I’m just grinding away.”
Nixa finished strong with 170-pound Skylar Barber winning by pin, 220-pound senior Jonathan Ghering earning a pin, and 285-pound junior Ozzie Garcia winning 15-8. Nixa’s best wrestler, 195-pound junior and No. 3-ranked Donovan Benetti, won by forfeit.
However, the Eagles were without two injured wrestlers, 138-pound Eli and 152-pound Connor Snyder. That led coach Dustin Martin to tweak the lineup.
Unfortunately for Nixa, of the seven matches where they suffered pins, three came in the third period. Otherwise, it might have been a closer finish.
“Bonus points are what hurt us tonight. Not so much the matches we lost but the way we lost. We laid down,” Martin said. “Instead of taking a two-point team loss, we took a six-point team loss.”
Nixa is scheduled to host Lee’s Summit on Friday, and then will host Ozark next Thursday.
Waynesville 47, Nixa 33.
106 – Hunter Christeson, Nixa, pin Thomas Brady, WHS, 3:52
113 – Chance Carmack, WHS, tech. fall Brayden Christenson, Nixa, 17-2
120 – Gavin Sax, WHS, pin Ethan Shepherd, Nixa, 2:04
126 – Sean Sax, WHS, pin Mason Wilcox, Nixa, 2:48
132 – Chandler McAtee, Nixa, pin Mario Garza, WHS, 5:42
138 – Teyler Bruch, WHS, pin Logan Lewis, Nixa, 1:14
145 – Peter Lucitt, WHS, pin Charles Hawkins, Nixa, 5:12
152 – Daniel Albrecht, WHS, pin Mason Simmons, Nixa, 5:29
160 – Floyd Moore, WHS, pin Noah Gates, Nixa, 2:40
170 – Skylar Barber, Nixa, pin Colby Carmack, WHS, 1:15
182 — Devon Steans, WHS, pin Anthony Patinsky, Nixa, 5:57
195 – Donovan Benetti, Nixa, won by forfeit
220 – Jonathan Ghering, Nixa, pin Daniel Rodrigues, WHS, 2:43
285 – Ozzie Garcia, Nixa, def. Andrew Lietold, WHS, 15-8