Posted: Saturday, 01 December 2012 11:29PM

Willard wrestlers claim two titles; Neosho wins team champinship at home

Neosho, Mo (  -- Neosho was dominant as a team at its home tournament as the Wildcats put 11 wrestlers in the finals and won championships in eight of the 14 weight classes.

Even with the dominance, the Willard duo of Codey White and Hunter Yeargan carved out a good day with back-to-back titles at 160 and 170 pounds for the Tigers.



Both wrestlers accomplished their titles in vastly different ways.

White cruised through the tournament with pins of 0:14, 0:28 and 3:16 in his three pool matches. This was followed by an injury default to get to the final. In the final he needed just 37 seconds to put Neosho’s Chance Branstetter on his back for the title.

The Willard senior has taken a long road to get here. After qualifying for State as a freshman, he missed his sophomore season due to injury. Last year as a junior he was rolling along at 18-1 and was injured once again ending his season.

This year he is healthy and a leader for Willard. The four-pin performance is not something that surprised his coach Kiiler Stephens.

"He has been such a leader this year in the wrestling room we kind of expect him to do that," Stephens said. "If you have seen the way he practiced you would understand."

White’s freshman training partner Yeargan found his path to a title a bit more difficult.

Yeargan won his first bout of the day over Lebanon’s Nick Brown 6-4 in come-from-behind fashion and then rolled through his next two matches by pin and major decision.

In the semifinals, he battled Neosho’s Garrick Fausett and took the 9-6 win, which set up a rematch of his first bout of the day.

There was no love lost between the two grapplers as a physical early pace led to the wrestlers colliding heads in the first period, which sent Yeargan to the mat for several minutes and it looked as if the match might be over early.

"The trainer I think wanted to stop the match because he suffered a pretty good head injury. I asked him if he wanted to continue and he said yes I do," Stephens said. "I told him you need to find a way to win and I reminded him how tough our practice room is and there isn't anything you haven't already seen so you can overcome this."

The match did continue and Yeargan came out very aggressive after the injury time, but quickly settled down and got into a rhythm.

"I knew I needed to keep my rage down and not get out of control which could lead to bad technique," Yeargan said. "I just calmed myself down and did what I know to do."

Yeargan found himself trailing into the middle of the third period when he came up with a clutch reversal to take a 4-3 lead with 1:15 left in the match. After a 75-second ride, Yeargan claimed the first title of his high school career.

His gutsy victory is something Stephens has already become accustomed to in Yeargan’s young career.

"Hunter is a tough kid," said. "You can't explain the kid's heart. It looks like he is down and out or he may be quitting, but all day long he came from behind to win."

Neosho put the team title away early as the Wildcats won the first championship matches on the day.

Even with eight titles and 11 finalists, there is still room for improvement according to Neosho head coach Jeremy Phillips.

"We work for 14 (titles), but we know that is not realistic. Perfection is not attainable, but I always say if you chase perfection you can catch excellence,” Phillips said. “We step on the mat and expect to win every one of them. It is unrealistic, but that is how we train. You have to be confident."

Championship Bout Results:
106 – John Williams, Neosho def. Logan Beuhausen, Lebanon; 9-0
113 – Kyler Rea, Neosho def. Dylan Burns, Lebanon; 10-5
120 – River Buttram, Neosho def. Derek Creel, Columbus; 21-3
126 – Dakota McGarrah, Neosho def. John Rogers, Lebanon; 24-9
132 – Nate Rodriguez, Neosho pinned Kaleb Crook, Willard; 3:09
138 – Clay Stine, Belton def. Connar Loderhose, Willard; 5-0
145 – Austinn Goinn, Belton def. Dennen Porter, Kickapoo; 11-6
152 – Taylor Watkins, Columbus def. Sam Williams, Neosho; 1-0
160 – Codey White, Willard pinned Chance Branstetter, Neosho; 0:37
170 – Hunter Yeargan, Willard def. Nick Brown, Lebanon; 4-3
182 – Austin Hailey, Neosho def. Austin Beushausen, Lebanon; 3-2
195 – Jacob Brock, Neosho def. Tony Grant, Kickapoo; 4-1
220 – Jordan Moffett, McDonald County def. Christia Lopez, Neosho; 4-3
285 – Aaron Clardy, Neosho def. Andrew Goin, Belton; 14-2

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