By Pat Dailey (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
OZARK — With Ozark and Bolivar fans billing the 160-pound matchup between the Tigers’ Nicky Gladkov and the Liberators’ Daryian Sharp as Tuesday’s main event, the two lived up to the hype.
Gladkov upped his record to 12-0 during the night as he picked up a 15-9 victory versus Sharp, a third-place finisher in Class 2 at State last season.
The Ozark senior livened up the home crowd with his over-the-top intensity.
“I like to make the best out of every situation and have fun doing what I love,” Gladkov said. “Being a senior this year, I want to leave something behind. Whether it’s my energy, my work ethic or my pace, I want to know these underclassmen have something to remember. I want to set a good example for them.”
Tuesday’s triangular against Bolivar and Springfield Parkview was Ozark’s home opener. The Tigers downed Bolivar 45-22 and whipped Parkview 78-6.
Gladkov had his own personal cheering section made up of classmates.
“Having my friends come out and support me is always awesome,” said Gladkov, who collected a pin against Parkview. “They make it even more fun. I was hoping all day I would have two matches. I was spreading the word at school that I wanted to put on a show. I feel blessed I had two matches and came out with a bang.”
Gladkov valued the experience he gained facing Sharp.
“I’m always looking for good competition,” he said. “It was fun wrestling him. That makes me a better overall wrestler. I feel like I was dominant and always had better position against him. But I had to keep putting points on the scoreboard and finish out strong.”
“Early on, those are the kind of matches you want;” Ozark coach Tod Sundlie said. “You’ve got to take advantage of those and enjoy the competition. The Bolivar kid was tough. He kept throwing good hips into Nicky. Nicky had to make a few adjustments and got control later in the match.”
Likewise, Bolivar coach Glen Johnson thought Sharp benefitted from the matchup.
“It was good for Daryian to wrestle somebody of that caliber,” Johnson said.
Sundlie was pleased how his seniors helped settle down their younger teammates.
“I like the way our seniors showed up,” he said. “I thought we looked tight early. But our seniors were relaxed and loose and that helped our younger kids.”
In addition to Gladkov, Ozark received two wins from Clayton Moisen (106), Sean Evans (113), Wyatt Snyder (120), Logan Sorensen (138), Ryan Taylor (182), Joe Satterly (195), Hunter Tennison (220) and Jace Gorn (285).
Bolivar 126-pounder Luke Moffett, who was fifth at State last year, rolled to a 10-0 win against Ozark. He wrestled for the first time while wearing a mask designed to protect his broken nose. He suffered the injury last Thursday and has been told by doctors he will need to wear the mask while on the mat for six weeks.
“It definitely was really weird with it on tonight,” Moffett said. “It meant a big change in my style. I’m going to have to get used to it and adapt. I think I could have done a little better tonight. But I’m just excited I got to wrestle. I was worried for a little bit that I wouldn’t be able to wrestle for a while. But I got good news.”
“He wrestled very well,” Johnson said. “He did a good job overcoming adversity. It’s a little different when you’ve got a mask covering your eyes and face.”
Bolivar jumped out to a 16-9 lead on Ozark, thanks to consecutive wins by Moffett, Riley Hawk (132), Jacob Matlock (138) and Chase Hampton (145). Matlock recorded a pin, while Hampton prevailed 9-4 and Hawk won 5-2.
“Coming out strong like that was a big confidence builder,” Moffett said. “With a little more work in the practice room, maybe we could have pulled off a few more wins.”
Bolivar’s Hayden Burks (170) also picked up a win by fall.
The Liberators were open at three weight classes, thus hindering their chances of competing with the Tigers.
“We’re missing quite a few guys tonight,” Johnson said. “I wish we could have saw what we look like when we’re fully loaded. It might have been a little better fight.”
Johnson anticipates having quite a few of his grapplers go down a weight class beginning with Thursday’s triangular with Pleasant Hill and Monett.
“When they are all down where they should be, it’s going to get interesting,” he said.
Parkview’s shining star was 152-pounder Kenyen Keiber. He accounted for the Vikings’ lone win versus Ozark by posting a first-period pin.
“That happened a lot last year, too, where I was the only one to win and at our last dual that happened, too,” Keiber said. “This season and next season I’m trying to work to help my teammates get better because I don’t like to see them lose.”
Of course, Keiber is also striving to make State for the first time.
“I have every expectation that he is going to do some good things and qualify for State,” coach William Ressel said. “You can see his improvement on the mat. He’s doing what we’re asking him to do. You can see his growth in each match.”
Keiber added his coach helps motivate him.
“He puts in the work every day, so the least I can do is make it to State for him,” Keiber said.
The Vikings were open at seven weight classes.
Parkview’s De Ol’low Smith (195) nearly pulled off an upset. He was leading Satterly 6-4, before being pinned in the second period. Smith is wrestling this season for the first time.
“It’s a funny story about how I got him to come out for wrestling,” Keiber said. “I made a bet with him and beat him in a wrestling match. The deal was if I won, he was going to come out for wrestling and if he won, I was going to pay him $20 or something.”
“I’m excited to teach him more wrestling and see how far he can go in this sport,” Ressel said. “You can’t learn very much in only three weeks.”