By Kary Booher (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
MARSHFIELD, Mo. – To Klayton Brooks, the only thing important in his 170-pound match was staying in bounds on a possible pin on Senior Night.
Little did he know that he soon would touch off a comeback that said quite a bit about the emerging Marshfield High School wrestling program. Well, actually, he and teammates said it themselves.
“We’re taking care of business,” Brooks said without hesitation after he benefitted from the sport’s new sideline rule, scoring a pin that kick-started Marshfield toward a 39-36, come-from-behind victory against the visiting Rolla Bulldogs on Thursday night.
Rolla entered having won the Kinloch Holiday Tournament and was 7-0 in prior duals, then built a 25-6 lead after the first six matches.
However, Zach Kurre’s 4-0 victory at 152 pounds blunted the Bulldogs’ momentum and then Brooks’ pin marked the first of five consecutive pins for the Blue Jays – giving them an insurmountable, 39-24 advantage entering the final two matches.
With a 75-3 victory against Parkview in the following dual, Marshfield crept closer to history.
You see, the team’s six seniors – Kurre, Brooks, 120-pounder Nicholas Hill, 132-pounder Nick Taylor, 195-pound Deryl VanNostrand and heavyweight Tristen Burton – have now led Marshfield to 57 dual wins over their four seasons. In the 16 years before their arrival, Marshfield had only 60 dual wins.
“From top to bottom, we have 14 kids that fight,” said Marshfield coach Matt Holt, whose team won the Bolivar Tournament. “They fight for each other. And this is one of the closest-knit teams I’ve been around.”
Brooks scored his pin early in the third period after trailing 7-2. The call came after Brooks wrangled Bryce O’Connor’s head and arm together and threw him to the mat.
“I got excited,” VanNostrand said. “I know everyone did.”
However, Rolla coach Marty Hauck challenged the call. Before this year, referees likely would have ruled the wrestlers out of bounds and placed them in center mat, with O’Connor no longer in danger of a pin.
“We just should never have been in that position,” Hauck said.
It was a theme of the dual for Rolla, which had dominated Parkview 72-9 and then built its 24-6 advantage against Marshfield thanks to victories by returning state qualifiers Luke Fennell (126) and Coleman Brainard (138). Fennell is now 23-2, Brainard 25-0.
“We’ve got to work on being aggressive,” Hauck said. “When we’re winning, we can’t get caught in a throw.”
Said Holt, “(Brooks) is a great kid. He had a tough Bolivar Tournament, but he’s rebounded. He fought hard against a guy who, on paper, he wasn’t supposed to beat.”
A key to Marshfield’s rally was 138-pounder Will Snider avoiding a pin against Brainard, who in the past three years has placed second, third and sixth at the state tournament. It then set up Kurre for an important win.
“I was doing the best I could do,” Kurre said. “If you’re going to give up, you’re going to let the team down.”
After Brooks, 170-pound Jordan Irwin, VanNostrand, Clay Wilson and Burton scored pins. Isaiah Ragsdale also had a pin in the 132-pound match.
VanNostrand is now 25-2 and seeking a trip to the state tournament after losing in the bubble round of district each of the past two seasons. He has been a key to an emerging Marshfield program.
“We’ve just got to keep putting in the work for the rest of the team,” VanNostrand said. “That way, they can follow in our footsteps.”