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Reeds Spring would find themselves with several open spots where they did not have wrestlers. It would cost them as they would fall in both duels, but the Wolves would have several standout wrestlers on the evening.
Standout matches of the night included Reeds Spring senior and defending state champion Zach Kearney, who won both of his matches, including a tightly contested match against Nixa’s Ben Melton 2-0.
Nixa senior and state qualifier Xyah Ra also looked impressive, pinning both of his opponents in the first period.
However, the Eagles were without Joe Velliquette, a two-time state champion, who did not wrestle due to an injury.
The duel of the night was Willard versus Nixa.
The two traditionally strong programs would fight it out and find themselves tied 33-33 with one match to go.
In the 132 match, Willard senior Kaleb Crook would wrestle Connor Langdon to decide the winner of the duel. When Crook defeated Langdon by pin fall at the 2:48 mark, the Willard bench erupted.
“I just wanted to get the pin for my team,” said Crook. “It’s a big match up for us. Nixa is probably the toughest team we’ll duel. It meant a lot to everyone and we worked hard to get to where we are. I just wanted to put him away and end it on a good note. I attribute it to a lot of hard work, every day, grinding it in the practice room.”
“These are two big wins for us,” said Willard head coach Kiiler Stephens. “They are two great teams that are both well-coached and they are always prepared. On Monday we issued a challenge to the kids. If they went out there and wrestled their hardest, we felt like they could compete and possibly win. And I’ll tell you what, before we came out of the locker room, they were determined to win. If somebody had to pull off an upset, then they were going to do it.”
Willard would receive unexpected wins at the 170 and 195 pound classes when Nick Yanez and Sky Cope would pin their opponents.
“With Cope, we were just kind of hoping he could weather the storm,” said Stephens. “Early on the guy was kind of beating up on him a little bit and then Cope came through big, late, and he got a pin and that really kind of propelled the team. Nick Yanez, he also pulled off a nice pin.”
The Willard team was wrestling with a heavy heart as Brice Pattison was unable to wrestle due to a death in the family.
“He opted not to wrestle, and we agreed with him, leaving open the 126. We thought that if we are really a better team, we’ll be able to win even with an open spot. That’s a decision we made so we really wanted to come out and win.”
Willard hopes this strong showing will help them build momentum going into the New Year.
“Seriously, this is the greatest bunch of kids I’ve ever coached,” said Stephens. “I’m looking forward to what we can do.”
Willard defeats Reeds Spring, 52-24
Willard defeats Nixa ,39-33
Nixa defeats Reeds Spring, 48-33
|106||Matt Kahnert||Nikolas Chavez||Chavez pins Kahnert 3:15|
|113||OPEN||Wyatt Smith||Smith win by forfeit|
|120||Colton Evans||Tyler Wisdom||Wisdom wins decision 12-3|
|132||Ryan Dowling||Kaleb Crook||Crook pins Dowling|
|138||OPEN||Kyle Caldwell||Caldwell wins by forfeiet|
|145||Michael Hunt||Connar Loderhose||Loderhose pins Hunt 3:18|
|152||Hank White||Quintin Bisbey||White pins Bisbey 1:47|
|160||Nathan Stallings||Thomas Masengale||Masengale pins Stallings 2:29|
|170||Broden LeMaster||Nick Yanez||LeMaster pins Yanez 5:01|
|182||Ian Stallings||Hunter Yeargan||Yeargan pins Stallings :33|
|195||Matt Barsch||Sky Cope||Cope pins Barsch 4:47|
|220||Zach Kearney||Kaleb Anderson||Kearney pins Anderson :26|
|285||Dalton Haddock||Austin McMillen||Haddock pins McMillen 1:22|
|106||Noah Gates||Nikolas Chavez||Chavez pins Gates :30|
|113||Stanton Finley||Wyatt Smith||Finley pins Smith :59|
|120||Nick Baxter||Tyler Wisdom||Baxter wins decision 8-2|
|126||Naseeph Al-Roubaie||OPEN||Al-Roubaie wins forfeit|
|132||Connor Langdon||Kaleb Crook||Crook pins Langdon 2:48|
|138||Marshall Osborne||Kyle Caldwell||Osborne wins decision 5-3|
|145||Cameron White||Connar Loderhose||White wins decision 1-0|
|152||Jye Harris||Quintin Bisbey||Bisbey wins decision 7-3|
|160||Maverick Cowens||Thomas Masengale||Masengale pins Cowens 3:29|
|170||Gunner Harris||Nick Yanez||Yanez pins Harris 1:53|
|182||Drake Freeman||Hunter Yeargan||Yeargan pins Freeman :19|
|195||Austin Heatherly||Sky Cope||Cope pins Heatherly 4:29|
|220||Ben Melton||Kaleb Anderson||Melton pins Anderson 1:58|
|285||Xyah Ra||Austin McMillen||Ra pins McMillen 1:51|
|106||Matt Kahnert||Noah Gates||Kahnert pins Gates :35|
|113||OPEN||Stanton Finley||Finley wins forfeit|
|120||Colton Evans||Nick Baxter||Baxter pins Evans 2:48|
|126||OPEN||Naseeph Al-Roubaie||Al-Roubaie wins forfeit|
|132||Ryan Dowling||Connor Langdon||Langdon wins forfeit|
|138||OPEN||Marshall Osborne||Osborne wins forfeit|
|145||Michael Hunt||Cameron White||White pins Hunt 1:15|
|152||Hank White||Jye Harris||White pins Harris :28|
|160||Nathan Stallings||Maverick Cowens||Stallings pins Cowens :46|
|170||Broden LeMaster||Gunner Harris||LeMaster pins Harris 2:47|
|182||Ian Stallings||Drake Freeman||Stallings pins Freeman 1:15|
|195||Matt Barsch||Austin Heatherly||Heatherly pins Barsch 3:01|
|220||Zach Kearney||Ben Melton||Kearney wins decision 2-0|
|285||Dalton Haddock||Xyah Ra||Ra pins Haddock 1:21|