To say it was a big week for Monett Wrestling would be an understatement.
On Tuesday the Cubs defeated a tough Bolivar team at home 51-30.
Coach Bradley’s squad followed that up by handing Class 4 Joplin a 60-16 beat down to unveil its new wrestling facility.
And for an encore?
The Cubbies went 5-0 in Saturday’s Marshfield Duals, claiming the tournament championship and continuing to build momentum heading into next week’s district tournament at Clinton.
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“It was a good week. We beat Bolivar, beat Joplin, then to come here and go 5-0 today. I can tell we’re in the right place, guys are stepping up and preforming well and it’s encouraging to see. We are peaking at the right time, winning at the right time, our shape is good. Hopefully we can continue that into districts next week,” said Monett coach Daryl Bradley.
Monett, currently ranked No. 5 in the state’s Class 2 poll, was led by junior 113 pounder Chase Brennan and 106 pound freshman Sean Jastal.
Brennan, No. 2 at 113, pinned all five opponents he faced on the day, including a stagger six second pin of Owensville’s Casey Allen.
“It was pretty awesome. I liked seeing the look on the coaches’ face like ‘Are you serious?’ .It felt good,” said Brennan.
Brennan, who won state as a freshman at 103 pounds, is eager to work his way back after a third place finish last year. Regardless of his lofty ranking, knows that status alone won’t guarantee him anything.
“After last year I learned not to worry about it at all. Rankings don’t matter,” said Brennan.
Jastal, No.6 at 106, also went unbeaten on the day, tallying pins in his last three matches, agrees with his teammate's take on rankings.
“I try not to worry about ranks because they change. I don’t think about who I’m wrestling, I just worry about wrestling my match. I know there are kids ahead of me that I can beat and there are kids below me that are pretty good, so I really don’t worry about ranks,” said Jastal.
Junior 182 pounder Matt Wentz, who also went unbeaten and is currently No. 3 in his class, has a slightly different take on rankings.
“I don’t feel any pressure with being ranked, I like it. I feel like it puts a target on your back so it is more fun,” said Wentz.
Despite being in a district that features five other state-ranked teams, Bradley knows what his team is capable of next weekend.
“If we can go out there and wrestle to our capabilities I think we have a chance for a district title, and I believe we can do that. If we go out there compete, take care of business, we’ll bring home that district title,” said Bradley.
Saturday’s event will the last of the regular season for most of the team’s that participated. With the dual format, many coaches agree it was a great end to the season in preparation for districts.
“We like having this tournament a week before districts. It’s not a real stressful tournament so we get to relax, have fun and get ready for next week,” said Branson coach Robbie Pittman.
Marshfield coach David Nugent concurs.
“At this point in the season teams are in different places, some teams are resting guys to get them healthy, some are rest guys due to illness. At this point it is all about fine tuning things in time for districts, and this allows you to do that,” said Nugent.
For Branson and Marshfield, who are in Class 3 – District 4 featuring perennial powers Neosho, Carthage, and Lebanon, Saturday can best be summed up by Nugent.
“Tough wrestling today will hopefully prepare us for tough wrestling next week.”