Kale Schrader’s journey to the area’s only individual Class 4 state champion has been a winding one over the last year.
Schrader wrestled for Class 1 Seneca in his first two years in high school and finished runner-up last year. He transferred to Carthage over the summer then Carthage got moved up from Class 3 to Class 4 before the season.
He took all the changes in stride and posted a 54-0 record on his way to winning the Class 4 220-pound state championship via a pin of Park Hill’s Ashton Sharp at the 5:31 mark of the match.
“It took me a second, but once I got up it was all smiles, I was pumped. I’ve worked all year for this and to hear the hand hit the mat in the finals match, it was crazy,” Schrader said.
Schrader and Sharp wrestled to a 0-0 tie through one period. The Carthage junior was on top to start the second period and promptly went to work. He turned Sharp to his back and earned a 2-point near fall and make it 2-0 after two periods. He would continue to dictate the tempo in the third period on the way to a pin and state title.
“I knew if I worked him in the first he’d be gassed in the second and the third, and that’s when I’d go to work. That’s exactly what I did and it paid off,” Schrader said.
The journey from Class 1 state runner-up to nationally ranked undefeated Class 4 state champion has only been possible thanks to coaches at both Seneca and Carthage. Schrader was able to celebrate with his former coach at Seneca Jeff Sill after the match.
“He (Sill) took me from my freshman year and he transformed me into a lot better wrestler. He is my mentor and made wrestling so much more fun for me. Just to share this moment with him in very special,” Schrader said. “It’s such a big jump from class 1 to class 4, and to go undefeated, it was an amazing, amazing journey.”
In the first match of the Class 4 finals, Nixa freshman Peyton Moore fell in a 10-0 decision to Liberty freshman Easton Hilton to finish as a state runner-up. Moore’s final record for the season finished at 43-10.
Carthage had two additional placers with Dalen Moore beating Ft. Zumwalt North’s Teddy Hickey in a 7-0 decision to earn a fifth place finish at 126 pounds. Brener Ocana finished sixth place a 285 pounds to round out Carthage’s placers.
Waynesville had two placers with Gaven Sax posting a 9-2 decision over Park Hill’s Grayston Diblasi in the 145-pound third place match. Micheal Cassidy wrapped up his high school career with a fourth place finish at 152 pounds.
Joplin’s Jady Withrow was the area’s final placer in Class 4 finishing sixth place at 220 pounds.