By Scott Vanscoy (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Ozark Tigers hosted the Nixa Eagles in a wrestling dual on Tuesday night, with the Eagles prevailing, 58-13. Any time these two Christian County schools get together, whether it is on the field, the court, or in this case, the mat, one can rest assured that both sides will bring their very best. Tonight was no exception even though the score seemed one-sided. Ozark and Nixa both have young squads with the Eagles having slightly more experience on the mat.
“Their kids are kind of young this year, and we are too a little bit, but the way we matched up with them worked out in our favor,” said Nixa head coach Dustin Martin. “Losing a couple of years to them, our kids were ready to come out and wrestle. Going into this dual we felt like we were maybe a little better team so we just had to come out here and perform and get it done.”
Leading the way for Nixa were sophomores Deagan Fugitt (113) and Marek Davis (182). Fugitt won a hard fought battle against Wyatt Snyder. Fugitt won 1-0 on an escape with little time left on the clock.
“It was a close one, closer than I wanted it to be, but I felt like I wrestled well,” said Fugitt. “My strategy was to wrestle smart, not give up easy shots, defend well, and take shots if I can get them. I was more offensive tonight. I was really controlling him with my 2-on-1 and then I wasn’t really getting anywhere off of it so I had to separate. Then nothing happened the first period so I decided to go bottom and I escaped pretty quickly. Then I just controlled him with my 2-on-1. That point for an escape is big, especially in close matches.”
Marek Davis, who suffered an injury last year, is trying this year to prove himself. Prove himself he did with a pin over Colby Allen at 1:31.
“My strategy was to do as much as I can on the mat against the opponents I could and keep my movement and avoid bad moves,” said Davis. “Last year I took an injury halfway through the season and that had a huge mental impact on me at the time. I feel that I’m a better wrestler this year. Last year I ended the season 15-10, this year so far I’m 27-4. My end-all goal is to place at state, I want to be on the podium. I think it is very possible.”
Ozark head coach Tod Sundlie thought he had some matchups in which his guys could compete but was disappointed with the outcomes.
“We just got beat by a better team tonight,” said Sundlie. “They just took it to us, there’s not much to talk about. They won matches that we thought could go either way; they won them. I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. I feel like they are definitely the better team. We are in shape but we just lost too many situations, moments where we kind of took a little break and they capitalized and put us in positions where we just couldn’t make up for it.”
Overall, Martin was pleased with his team’s efforts.
“It was a good dual, like always,” said Martin. “Our lower weights have been the strength of our team all season, our 106 and 113 are two of our better guys. Then we finished pretty strong at 182 and 195. Merrick Davis is one of the statistically best wrestlers on our team. This is a fun dual, it’s the one dual that people always ask every year if we won or lost against Ozark. In reality, it doesn’t mean anything more than any other dual but it is a fun one because of the rivalry.”
Nixa 58, Ozark 13
106: Peyton Moore (NIXA) over Dylan Billingsley (OZARK) (Fall 5:11)
113: Deagan Fugitt (NIXA) over Wyatt Snyder (OZARK) (Dec 1-0)
120: Cole Crahan (NIXA) over Sean Evans (OZARK) (Fall 4:38)
126: Elijah Maskrod (OZARK) over Connor Swensen (NIXA) (Fall 2:00)
132: Riley Newsom (OZARK) over Dylan Carter (NIXA) (Dec 5-4)
138: Ethan Shepherd (NIXA) over Riley Sundlie (OZARK) (Dec 5-2)
145: Kolyn Eli (NIXA) over Kaleb Doyle (OZARK) (Fall 3:29)
152: Kale Conway (OZARK) over Dylan Rust (NIXA) (MD 8-0)
160: Logan Lewis (NIXA) over Toretto Stine (OZARK) (Fall 0:55)
170: Dustin McCort (NIXA) over Max Schilling (OZARK) (MD 13-2)
182: Marek Davis (NIXA) over Colby Allen (OZARK) (Fall 1:31)
195: DeSean Downs (NIXA) over Braegan Patman (OZARK) (Fall 1:07)
220: John Gholson (NIXA) over (OZARK) (For.)
285: Taylor Cheek (NIXA) over Luke Hulse (OZARK) (Fall 1:21)