A loss over winter break motivated Republic’s Tanner Willis. He’s been on a tear ever since.
Willis, ranked No. 10 in Class 3’s 120-pound class, scored two pinfall victories Tuesday night in a triangular at Nixa High School. He pinned Kickapoo’s Jes Simpson and Nixa’s Naseeph Al-Roubaie.
“My goal was to win both of my matches tonight with pins,” Willis said. “To be an almost undefeated dual wrestler, that’s a big accomplishment for me.”
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Willis’ last – and only – dual loss of the season came when he was pinned by Monett’s Chase Brennan on Jan. 3.
“It was my big motivation,” Willis said. “Ever since then, I’ve been beating guys I never thought I would’ve beaten.”
Nixa would win the triangular on its Senior Night, beating Kickapoo 47-25 and Republic 46-33. Nixa rested several starters, said coach Dustin Martin, but did have its two state state-ranked wrestlers in action.
Joe Velliquette (132) got a major decision victory in his only match of the night. Eagles heavyweight Xyah Ra pinned Republic’s Shayne Piles.
At the Central Ozark Conference Large Division tournament last weekend, Ra collected his 100th career win. Victory No. 101 came Tuesday night.
“It’s a big milestone for him,” Martin said. “I hope he’s won 150 by his senior year.”
The Chiefs' Michah Foote (No. 2 Class 3 220 lbs.) survived a strong challenge from Nixa's Ben Melton, winning 5-2 in three rounds.
Kickapoo has the Ozark Conference Tournament this weekend. Districts for all three teams come on Feb. 9.
Nixa and Kickapoo are in the Class 4, District 3 tournament at Jefferson City, which includes schools from all over the state.
“It’s the only district in the state that covers from Kansas City, to St. Louis, to Rolla, to Springfield, to Joplin and then to Columbia,” Martin said. “I don’t really understand it. It’s a tough district.”
He joked: “I might buy MSHSAA a map.”
The district has been modified since last year, however, when it accounted for over 68 percent of the medals won at the state championship.
Republic is in the Class 3, District 3 tournament at Willard, which includes mostly Ozark Conference and Central Ozark Conference schools.
Nixa 47, Kickapoo 25
120 – Naseeph Al-Roubaie (N) def. Jes Simpson (K), 9-1
126 – Collin Vaughn (K) def. Aiden Childs (N), 19-8
132 – Joe Velliquette (N) OPEN
138 – Christian Lance (N) def. Eric Green (K), 10-2
145 – Dennen Porter (K) pinned Jon Thill (N)
152 – Gunner Harris (N) OPEN
160 – Joey Broadbent (N) def. Adam White (K), 6-3
170 – Dallas McGee (K) pinned Kalen Barclay (N)
182 – Austin Heatherly (N) pinned Jess Emerson (K)
195 – Tony Grant (K) OPEN
220 – Michah Foote (K) def. Ben Melton (N), 5-2
285 – Xyah Ra (N) OPEN
106 – Stanton Finley (N) pinned Dustin Owen (K)
113 – Lane Reppond (N) pinned Camden Schmitz (K)
Nixa 46, Republic 33
113 – Brandon O’Connell (R) pinned Lane Reppond (N)
120 – Tanner Willis (R) pinned Naseeph Al-Roubaie (N)
126 – Eli Davidson (R) def. Aiden Childs (N), 8-4
132 – Joe Velliquette (N) def. Paden Lucero (R), 16-1
138 – Christian Lance (N) pinned Kyle Powell (R)
145 – Jerney Jones (R) pinned Jon Thill (N)
152 – Kyle Campbell (R) pinned Maverick Cowens (N)
160 – Joey Broadbent (N) OPEN
170 – Kalen Barclay (N) defeated Zac Crowley (R), 20-3
182 – Austin Heatherly (N) pinned Blake Wojciechowski (R)
195 – Zach Jester (R) OPEN
220 – Ben Melton (N) OPEN
285 – Xyah Ra (N) pinned Shayne Piles (R), 1:51
106 – Stanton Finley (N) pinned Justin Rogers (R)
Republic 34, Kickapoo 27