“I think he’s hurting a little more than he lets on,” said his coach Kiiler Stephens.
However, the senior put the pain aside Saturday afternoon, going a perfect 5-0 to take the 160 lb. title and helping his Tigers take the team crown in the the 41st Annual Monett Tournament.
“My knee doesn’t hurt as much since I won, but it feels great to come back and do what I did today,” said White with a smile.
His coach didn’t downplay the importance of White’s championship run.
“It means a lot. Being a senior and our team leader he goes out there and does everything you ask. He’s got a heart to win like nobody I’ve ever met and he really showed it today,” said Stephens.
White, who defeated the #4 wrestler in Class 3 Kerick Crouse of Republic, isn’t quite where he would like to be yet.
“I need to work on my wind, I’ve been out for a bit so I’m a little out of shape,” said White.
Also taking individual titles for Willard was junior Connar Loderhose and freshman Hunter Yeargan.
Loderhose claimed the title at 138 by defeating state-ranked Cody Sandridge from Republic 10-7 in each wrestler’s final match of the day. Yeargan, ranked #8 at 170 in Class 3, dominated his way through the tournament on the strength of three consecutive pins to end the day.
The 14 year-old freshman knows there is much more work to be done.
“This is another good victory for me. Some wrestlers I may get to see at districts and at state are here so it’s nice to get a chance to see them so I know how to approach them,” said Yeargan.
For Willard, Saturday was all about getting better.
“We had a really good week of practice. Being healthy and having a good week we really felt like we’d come out and do well. Our goal is always to win it, and I think we competed as well as we could have. It was a good day for us,” said Stephens.
Bolivar’s Haryl Starkey continued his stellar season, pinning all four opponents en route to the title at 182. Starkey felt a little more pressure this weekend, since the media attention following his championship run at last week’s Kinloch Tournament.
“Yeah, there’s some pressure, but I really take all of the attention with a grain of salt. The attention is nice, but I know I need to stay focused and work hard. I’m not done yet. I’m far from where I want to be right now,” said Starkey.
The match of the day featured a pair of state-ranked tanks when McDonald County’s Jordan Moffett (#2 in Class 3) topped Zach Kearney of Reeds Spring (#2 in Class 2) 12-7 to decide the championship at 220.
Despite losing to unbeaten Moffett, Kearney remains optimistic.
“It was a good test to see where I’m at. I feel good, it was a good match, I just came up short, but I’ll keep plugging away,” said Kearney.
The host Cubs, who finished sixth, got an individual championship from freshman Sean Jastal. Jastal, who is ranked 6th at 106, wrestled up at 113 and despite taking first, could feel the weight difference.
“I was a little underweight and the other kids were way heavier than me and I could feel that, but I just held in there,” said Jastal.
Jastal loved being able to wrestle in front of a home crowd.
“I won the Carl Junction Tournament and it was nice, but to win at home at in a tournament like this feels really good,” said Jastal.
Although Jastal was the only first place finisher for Monett, Coach Daryl Bradley likes where his team is at.
“We’re really young right now and our season is just starting. We load up on duals and tournaments in January. January is our tough time, that’s where we gain shape and our confidence. I feel good with where we are at right now. We are only going to get better. I’m excited about our young team. I really think that we’ll have an opportunity to get a district tournament this year. We are starting to get a little respect with some kids ranked. I know 6th place here doesn’t reflect that, but we have some young kids that I think will step up,” said Bradley.
The Monett Tournament is known for its format. Most wrestling tournaments feature a bracket, whereas at Monett, a round-robin setup determines the champion. In his 13th season at Monett, Coach Bradley has enjoyed seeing the tournament flourish.
“We bring in teams from all over and it makes me proud to see the growth in the tournament. Its unique, there aren’t a lot of tournaments out there that are like it. It gives kids a chance to get quality matches all day long, and wrestle comparable competition. I miss the finals aspect of it, but I like this format and we’ll probably keep it as long as I’m here,” said Bradley.
41st Monett Tournament
- Willard 105.5
- Clinton (Okla.) 86
- Reeds Spring 83.5
- Bolivar 82.5
- McDonald County 80
- Monett 74.5
- Republic 72
- Nevada 71
- Harrisonville 54.5
- Westminster Christian 54
- Rogersville 46
- Glendale 14
106 – Bodhi Hines, Clinton (Okla.)
113 – Sean Jastal, Monett
120 – Slade Stiles, Nevada
126 – Ty Cochran, Harrisonville
132 – Josh Kinser, McDonald County
138 – Connar Loderhose, Willard
145 – Luis Salcido, Clinton (Okla.)
152 – Broden LeMaster, Reeds Spring
160 – Codey White, Willard
170 – Hunter Yeargan, Willard
182 – Haryl Starkey, Bolivar
195 – Bennett Lewis, Westminster Christian
220 – Jordan Moffett, McDonald County
285 – Sam Ellifrets, Nevada