By Chris Parker
The Monett wrestling team is a state champion for the second year in a row and third time in program history. The Cubs scored 149.5 points to beat second-place Odessa’s output of 142.
“I just love my kids. Just to see them accomplish their goal is just fantastic. We have had a great season. We have done a lot of good things. I am just happy we fought back and got things done. They are special,” Monett head coach Daryl Bradley said. “We all did this together. We are a big family. I am just glad we are bringing home another one to Monett.”
The Cubs had three finalists and two champions on Saturday.
Senior Joey Semerad got back on top of the podium with a 3-2 win over Benton’s Cristian Dixon at 138 pounds.
It was Semerad’s third state title. He finished runner-up last year.
“Ever since the day after state last year I have been looking forward to this day and getting back on top of the podium and that is exactly what I did,” Semerad said.
The team title made his senior year state tournament even sweeter.
“I would take the team title over myself any day of the week. Being able to win for them means a lot more than win for myself. I couldn’t care less about winning state individually. I would rather win it for the team and city,” Semerad said.
Sophomore Harrison Merriman may be an underclassman, but that didn’t stop him from coming away with his first state title via a 3-2 decision at 285 pounds.
“You just throw it (grades) out the window. That (grades) don’t matter. You are wrestling (at a) weight,” Merriman said.
Senior Garrett Bradley finished runner-up at 152 pounds to Damon Ashworth from Excelsior Springs.
Burks closes career with state title
Bolivar’s Hayden Burks had one goal in mind as he knew his wrestling career would end with the conclusion of the Class 2 170-pound final on Saturday: win.
“I have been telling my parents all week that I don’t want to go out on a loss. I was interviewed by you guys a few weeks ago and that was one of my big details. Don’t go out on a loss. Win state one more time,” Burks said.
Win he did. Burks avenged a loss from earlier this month with a 3-2 victory over Dexter’s Travis Waldner. Waldner brought a perfect 50-0 record into the tournament.
“I wrestled that kid three weeks ago. He beat me two to one. I thought it was time for some revenge,” Burks said.
Bolivar’s Drayton Huchteman finished runner-up at 220 pounds.
The Liberators finished third overall as a team.
Strausbaugh claims third state title
Rogersville’s Jay Strausbaugh thrives on competition. That is why he dropped down to 132 pounds late in his senior season. He wanted to be in a bracket with as many returning placers as possible.
“I dropped weight classes to get into the harder weight class because I like the competition. One through six all placed last year in different brackets. To be able to win this one with all that good competition means so much,” Strausbaugh said.
It wasn’t easy, but Strausbaugh picked up a 5-3 win on overtime over Fulton’s Sam Hrabovsky to finish a perfect 54-0 season. The win was the 193rd of his career.
“This one is more special because it is probably my last match where my dad is my coach and Coach Carter is my main coach. If I go wrestle in college they probably won’t be my coaches there. It means a lot that this was my last match with the coaching staff (here) and it was with a W,” Strausbaugh said.
Two Seneca wrestlers finish runner-up
Seneca moved up to Class 2 this year and had two wrestlers post runner-up finishes.
Freshman Brady Roark took second at 106 pounds. He finished with a 48-3 record on the season. Sophomore Kendon Pollard took second at 120 pounds. His record finished at 44-6.
THIRD & FIFTH PLACE MATCH RESULTS
113 – 3rd Place – Canyon Cunningham (Bolivar ) 45-12 won by decision over Kaden Scarborough (Oak Grove) 30-9 (Dec 5-2)
126 – 3rd Place – Matthew Bahl (Monett) 46-7 won in sudden victory – 1 over Landen Davis (Excelsior Springs) 44-8 (SV-1 2-0)
132 – 3rd Place – Karter Brink (Monett) 42-7 won by decision over Ryan Schepers (Osage) 40-8 (Dec 5-3)
145 – 3rd Place – Elias Barrientos (Monett) 46-7 won by decision over Anthony Erickson (Oak Grove) 27-9 (Dec 6-4)
152 – 5th Place – Austin Coons (Bolivar ) 40-7 won by decision over Jaden Ballinger (Kirksville) 33-7 (Dec 11-5)
160 – 3rd Place – Ethan Umfleet (Monett) 39-7 won by fall over Levi Haney (Blair Oaks ) 44-10 (Fall 0:24)
170 – 3rd Place – Blake Daher (Buffalo) 50-3 won by decision over Zane Cotten (Seneca) 43-7 (Dec 6-5)
182 – 3rd Place – Tristan Morris (Moberly) 56-2 won by decision over Pete Herrera (Buffalo) 37-9 (Dec 4-1)
195 – 5th Place – Zach Coenen (Cassville) 34-14 won in tie breaker – 1 over Camren Hedgpeth (Cameron) 47-11 (TB-1 2-1)
220 – 3rd Place – Peyton Hahn (Boonville ) 43-5 won by decision over Skyleer Commons (Seneca) 45-7 (Dec 1-0)
285 – 3rd Place – Levi Kenady (Buffalo) 40-9 won by injury default over Caleb Groff (Oak Grove) 29-8 (Inj. 2:49)
285 – 5th Place – Grant Durman (Seneca) 42-13 won by decision over Nick Wright (Odessa) 35-14 (Dec 1-0)