By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Strength in numbers lifted the Lebanon boys’ wrestling team to a repeat conference championship.
Lebanon had all-conference finishers (top three) in every weight class in Saturday’s Ozark Conference Tournament at Hillcrest High School.
“We had a solid day,” said Lebanon coach Randy Roark.
The Yellowjackets had five first-place finishers overall, including Trevor Christian at 160. He is Lebanon’s first four-time conference champion.
“It’s a big honor,” Christian said. “I’ve worked really hard for it.”
Christian defeated Waynesville’s Aaron McDaniel, 4-2. Christian fell behind 2-0 early, then tied the match with a pair of escapes and took the lead for good with a takedown.
“He was pretty familiar with how I wrestled and so were his coaches,” Christian said. “They had a good game plan.”
Lebanon also got first-place finishes from Quentin Long (106), Cole Patten (120), Colt Adkins (170) and Landen Smith (195).
The Yellowjackets enter February with their eyes on a Class 3 state championship. Christian’s also gunning for his first individual state championship after finishing third last year.
“Obviously, we’ll have to knock off the big dog – Neosho – but that’s what we’re trying to do,” Christian said. “And I finally want to get that (individual) state title. That’s my personal goal.”
Lebanon competes in its district tournament Feb. 14-15 at Willard High School.
“Our goal is to get all 14 of them through and onto state and hopefully bring home some hardware,” Roark said.
Gaylor becomes Central’s first conference champion
Central senior Jerry Gaylor accomplished a lot on Saturday.
• The first tournament win of his career.
• Becoming Central’s first-ever conference champion.
• Becoming the first Springfield Public Schools wrestler to win conference gold since 2015 (Tony Grant, Kickapoo).
He wasn’t aware of the last two feats entering his title match.
“I was never aware of the situation or precedent at all,” Gaylor said. “I was just like, ‘Let’s do something I’ve never done.’ I had never won a tournament before, so this was big to me.”
Gaylor defeated Lebanon’s Hayden Dearborn 2-0 in the 132 finals. He scored the decisive points on a takedown late in the first period.
After the match, his coach told him the history-making news.
“It’s awesome,” Gaylor said. “I’m ecstatic.”
Gaylor was one of two Bulldogs – along with fellow senior Gabe Fletchall (195) – to wrestle for gold on Saturday.
“Gabe and I’s main priority at the beginning of the season – we knew we weren’t going to be an amazing dual team – so we were just there to build an environment for the freshmen coming up,” Gaylor said. “We knew if we could get the hard-work mentality in those freshmen, they could be monsters by the time they’re seniors.”
Gaylor plans to give his first-ever gold medal to his mom.
“She raised me and put that hard work mentality into me,” he said.
Camdenton’s Garrett gets best of training partner
Grant Garrett wrestles for Camdenton, but he knows a lot about Rolla.
In the summer, he trains with wrestlers from Rolla’s team.
And, for the third straight year, he faced a Rolla opponent in his conference title match.
Garrett captured his second career conference title with a 7-4 win over Rolla’s Dathan Mickem in the 138 bout. Garrett said Mickem is one of his offseason training partners.
“There’s no hard feelings,” Garrett said. “It was just good wrestling.”
Garrett won conference gold at 106 as a freshman, then finished runner-up at 120 last year.
“This year, I wanted to come back and show who was here,” Garrett said.
Garrett avoided disaster late in the first period after Mickem scored a reversal and near-fall.
“I got a little off-balance and had a slipup,” Garrett said. “You have to stay calm the whole match. Because if you make a mistake and beat yourself up about it, that’s how you lose matches.”
Trailing 4-2, Garrett retook the lead in the second period with an escape and takedown.
Garrett began the match in his trademark aggressive style, shooting for the legs twice in the first 15 seconds.
“My philosophy is: 80 percent of the time, whoever gets that first takedown ends up winning the match,” Garrett said. “If I make that first takedown, I’ll be in good position to win.”
Lebanon girls dominate, win OC title
The Lebanon girls made it a conference sweep on Saturday.
Lebanon finished with 217.5 points, doubling second-place Waynesville (108.5).
Lebanon, the defending state champs, had all-conference finishers in all 12 weight classes.
Eight wrestlers earned gold for Lebanon: MaKenzie Gormley (103), Ashlynn Leochner (110), Kaylyn Rogers (120), Bailey Joiner (125), Darby Neely (130), Talora Frisbee (152), Bailey Shockley (166) and Makenna Dunham (235).
106: Quentin Long (Lebanon High School) 24-8, Fr. over Kaden Stivers (Camdenton High School) 15-7, So. (Fall 5:30)
113: Hunter Hoffman (Rolla High School) 19-9, So. over Tobias Collins (Kickapoo) 20-12, Fr. (Dec 10-4)
120: Cole Patten (Lebanon High School) 31-6, Jr. over Cooper Rhodenhizer (Camdenton High School) 19-10, Fr. (Fall 1:28)
126: Zack Fennell (Rolla High School) 34-3, Sr. over Bo Rosen (Lebanon High School) 18-16, So. (TF-1.5 5:20 (24-9))
132: Jerry Gaylor (Central (Springfield)) 13-7,. over Hayden Dearborn (Lebanon High School) 17-10, Sr. (Dec 2-0)
138: Grant Garrett (Camdenton High School) 28-1, Jr. over Dathan Mickem (Rolla High School) 25-5, Sr. (Dec 7-4)
145: Nathan Pulliam (Rolla High School) 29-0, Jr. over Elijah Arl (Lebanon High School) 19-12, Jr. (Fall 1:31)
152: Gaven Sax (Waynesville High School) 31-1, Sr. over Cade Muscia (Lebanon High School) 19-14, Fr. (Fall 0:39)
160: Trevor Christian (Lebanon High School) 35-3, Sr. over Aaron McDaniel (Waynesville High School) 24-2, Sr. (Dec 4-2)
170: Colt Adkins (Lebanon High School) 30-4, Jr. over Colton Franks (Rolla High School) 13-7, Sr. (TF-1.5 3:52 (15-0))
182: Hayden Fane (Rolla High School) 10-1, So. over Jake Henson (Lebanon High School) 23-6, Jr. (Dec 2-1)
195: Landen Smith (Lebanon High School) 33-3, Sr. over Gabriel Fletchall (Central (Springfield)) 22-3, Sr. (Fall 2:19)
220: Davon Smith (Waynesville High School) 19-7, Sr. over Thonan Rabourn (Glendale High School) 22-12, Sr. (SV-1 3-1)
285: Dakota Davis (Camdenton High School) 28-1, So. over Garrett Childers (Lebanon High School) 20-17, Jr. (Dec 3-0)
1. Lebanon, 261.5
2. Waynesville, 156.5
3. Rolla, 146.5
Girls title matches
103: MaKenzie Gormley (Lebanon High School) 19-9, So. over Jara Gray (Waynesville High School) 13-11, Fr. (Fall 1:26)
110: Ashlynn Leochner (Lebanon High School) 31-5, Sr. over Taylor Mustain (Camdenton High School) 27-5, So. (Fall 1:23)
115: Mya Burken (Rolla High School) 16-9, Sr. over Adeline Cottongim (Lebanon High School) 17-11, Fr. (Dec 3-1)
120: Kaylyn Rogers (Lebanon High School) 26-3, So. over Natalie Stewart (West Plains) 18-8, So. (Dec 10-5)
125: Bailey Joiner (Lebanon High School) 32-6, Fr. over Jorden Woods (West Plains) 23-9, Fr. (Fall 1:13)
130: Darby Neely (Lebanon High School) 13-5, Jr. over Deanna Williamson (Waynesville High School) 11-7, Fr. (Fall 0:24)
135: Hannah Oconnor (Rolla High School) 24-1, Jr. over Lillien Ingram (West Plains) 11-13, Fr. (Fall 1:51)
142: Mia Daugherty (Kickapoo High School) 13-3, So. over Dream Cunningham (Lebanon High School) 32-4, So. (Fall 1:36)
152: Talora Frisbee (Lebanon High School) 34-5, So. over Ayosoreoluna Ilesaanmi (Rolla High School) 13-12, So. (Fall 1:01)
166: Bailey Shockley (Lebanon High School) 18-12, Sr. over Marisa Gonzalas (Waynesville High School) 21-5, So. (Dec 3-0)
187: Jasmine Duncan (Waynesville High School) 23-3, Sr. over Carolyn Sterner (Lebanon High School) 15-5, Sr. (Inj. 0:06)
235: Makenna `Lucas` Dunham (Lebanon High School) 26-8, Fr. over Madison Easter (West Plains) 24-4, Fr. (Fall 2:59)