Three – Chase Minnick, Dean Adkins III, Kayde Burton – were opening-round winners Thursday. Joey Thompson, Colton Sewell each lost, then won. Erek Brose received win by injury default on consolation side after first-round loss
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
COLUMBIA, Mo. — With their largest contingent to the state wrestling tournament ever, the Chillicothe High School Hornets were bound to encounter some gratifying results and some disappointments Thursday.
The question was how much of each.
When the opening day of the Class 2 competition in the 2017 MSHSAA State Championships had reached its conclusion around 2:30 p.m. yesterday, the Hornets had more than half of their 11 qualifiers still eligible to compete on Day 2 today – three still with hope of capturing a state title and three others still with a chance to reach the medals podium Saturday. See Photo Gallery
That left five Hornets on the outside looking in the rest of the weekend – one of the five enduring physical, as well as emotional and psychological trauma for his Day 1 efforts.
“I thought, for the most part, we wrestled really hard and did some really good things,” Chad Smith, CHS’ third-year head coach, shared his overall view of his team’s Day 1 showing.
“There was good effort. There were some guys, you could tell, that had never been here and were inexperienced from not being here previously and you could tell they were a little nervous.”
While seniors Chase Minnick (by fall) and Dean Adkins III (by decision) and junior Kayde Burton (by fall) – the latter two second-time state participants and Adkins a medalist in 2016 – moved to the championship side of the bracket for their respective weight classes , sophomore teammate Keegan Valdez saw his state trip terminated much too quickly and distressingly.
Less than a minute into his first-round 285-pounds bout against Clayton Vaughn of Ste. Genevieve, neither wrestler had yet scored when they came together near the ring’s edge.
As they did so, Vaughn got a favorable grasp on the CHS 10th grader and spun him toward the mat. As the two competitors in the largest of the 14 weight classes tumbled to the rubber mat, Valdez landed with his back on the floor and was quickly covered for a loss by fall after 55 seconds.
However, as the two fell, Valdez sustained some type of apparent injury to his right knee or in that area. After treatment by a trainer on the mat, he was helped to his feet and helped off the mat by CHS head coach Chad Smith and assistant Joey Rinehart.
Valdez was further examined at the arena and then sent across Columbia’s Stadium Drive to the University of Missouri’s University Hospital for more-detailed and precise ascertainment of the injury.
As a result, he was unable to compete in his would-be first-round wrestleback bout later Thursday afternoon and was eliminated from the tourney after less than a minute of action.
Back on the positive side, three Hornets were able to recover from first-bout losses to advance to today’s action at Mizzou Arena – one simply by stepping out on the mat.
Joey Thompson, CHS’ 152-pounds entrant, followed his
11-4 first-round loss to Armand Kenepaske of Odessa with a consolation-wrestlebacks first-round 7-2 victory over Evan Shetley of Sullivan.
That advanced Thompson (26-23) to today’s second-round wrestleback bout against a to-be-determined foe. He’ll meet the loser of one of this morning’s championship quarterfinals.
Also winning on the consolation side was freshman Colton Sewell, who came ever so close to winning his opening bout.
The Chillicothe 106-pounder suffered the first takedown of his opening battle with Granite Cunningham of Bolivar, but tied it by early in the second period with a pair of escapes.
Still knotted at 2-2 going to the third period, Sewell, starting on top, couldn’t keep Cunning-ham in control and fell behind by a point.
However, at the 4:50 mark, the Hornet got under Cunning-ham’s attempted defensive tactic and gained a double-leg takedown which put Sewell ahead
4-3 and 70 seconds away from a trip to the championship quarterfinals. He didn’t make it.
Cunningham again escaped, tying the match at 4-4 with 40 seconds to go in regulation time.
Then, with 10 seconds remaining, in keeping with the aggressive style Smith encourages his team to use, Sewell tried to shoot in low again for a possible winning takedown. However, the Bolivar foe jumped back slightly and used his hands to push Sewell to the mat, then spun around on top of him. It was a takedown for Cunningham and a 6-4 lead with only about five seconds to go, leaving the CHS wrestler defeated.
“More times than not, Colton gets them, so I don’t mind him being aggressive one bit,” coach Smith reflected.
The experience didn’t wilt Sewell’s aggressive style, though, as, in his first do-or-die outing of the tournament early yesterday afternoon, he built a 5-0 lead on DeShaun Smith of Moberly and pinned him at 2:23.
“He wrestled really well,” Smith praised. “He came back out and was just after it and had one of the best matches I’ve seen him have this year.”
Sewell (35-8) will have his second consolation-wrestleback bout around noon today against an opponent determined by one of the preceding championship-quarterfinal bouts.
The sixth Chillicothe wrestler still in competition at the start of today’s action was junior Erek Brose at 195 pounds.
He was defeated by fall in 2:34 by undefeated Wade Hahn of Ste. Genevieve in the opening round, but received a win by default in the first round of wrest-lebacks when would-be opponent Cameron Fox of Mexico was unable to participate, due to – like Valdez – an injury.
As with Sewell and Thomp-son, Brose had to wait for this morning’s championship-quarterfinals results to see who he would oppose in the early-afternoon second round of consolation competition.
Regardless of whether they lose in the first round or later, wrestlers who sustain one loss still can come back to finish as high as third place.
With their sights still set higher than that are the three Hornets who figured to have the best state prospects.
District and Midland Empire Conference champion Minnick scored the first takedown of his opening-round 132-pounds bout against Darrell Malone of Kennett about a minute in.
Ten seconds into the second period, he reversed Malone to go on top 4-0 and, less than 30 seconds later, had him pinned
The victory in 2:38 puts the Hornets standout 47-3 in against Tucker Caswell of Fulton, who was considered by some as the 132-pounds favorite before losing once or twice in his district tournament.
Minnick, CHS’ second-leading bouts winner all-time with more than 150, has lost to Caswell in a prior meeting, but Smith says that could work to his man’s advantage.
“We have a good game plan and I think we’re going to get him,” the coach told the C-T in a chat at Mizzou Arena following the conclusion of CHS’ action yesterday.
Should Minnick be able to switch the outcome on the shorter Caswell, it could potentially be the key to a title, although the 132-pounds class seems loaded with top talent.
“Every round is tough from here on out,” cautions the Chillicothe coach.
Burton (34-8) decisively took his spot in the championship quarterfinals with a pin of Vin Kriegs-hauser of Kirksville at 4:35.
At the time, Burton led 9-0, having made the bout’s first takedown after 20 seconds and following that with a 3-points near-fall about 90 seconds in.
That moved the Chillicothe junior on to face Joel Concannon (36-5) of Boonville in this morning’s 182-pounds quarterfinals.
Senior Adkins, seeking to go out with a second-consecutive state medal, gained a workmanlike 7-2 decision over Greg Rolwes of St. Louis: Priory in his only outing Thursday.
The Hornet earned the initial takedown after 48 seconds and was in front 4-1 after one period.
Following a scoreless second frame, Adkins was “cut” (voluntarily released) by Rolwes, but got another takedown to win handily.
“Our guys on the ‘front’ side all wrestled really well,” Smith said of the trio of Hornets who moved on to the championship half of the bracket.
Adkins’ quarterfinal opposition this morning was to be 53-1 Eldon junior Trenton Dillon.
If any or all of the three CHS Hornets on the championship side won this morning, they became assured of a top-6 finish and state medal. Their next bout would be in tonight’s semifinals.
A loss early today would put them into the consolation competition and have them in a second-round wrestleback late this morning or early this afternoon. Second-round wrestleback victors move on to a third-round bout this evening.
Three of CHS’ four first-time-participant seniors found their stays in the tourney too brief.
While Thompson remained alive via his victory, 220-pounder Max Anderson, 145-pounder Zach Blixt, and 138-pounder Bryce Larson were CHS seniors who saw their first and only taste of state competition end with bout losses.
Larson, whose 2016-17 season ended with a very good 35-17 won-lost record despite yesterday’s defeats, lost a 14-2 major decision to Thomas Henderson of St. James yesterday morning, then had a tough loss in his first “elimination” outing.
“I’m so proud of all those guys. They did awesome just to get down here,” saluted Smith. “And they prepared hard all week. Every kid on the team came down here to do their best.”
Thursday’s experience for the Chillicothe group was one beyond anything any prior Hornets state troupe had gone through, due to the sheer volume of bouts in which Hornets were involved.
“We were so busy, running back and forth, I’d probably need a little more time to think about it,” Smith replied when asked, shortly after Anderson’s second bout wrapped up CHS’ action for the day, what his overall sense of Day 1 was.
“It was fun to coach that many guys and I’m real excited we’ve got so many young guys – five – that should be coming back (to the team in 2017-18). It won’t be such a big surprise for them (if they make it back to state) next year.”
Chillicothe’s competition in the state wrestling tournament will be monitored online throughout the day today and results relayed via sports editor Paul Sturm’s Twitter account (@CTSportsPSturm) and on our website’s Sports “page.”
Should any Hornet or Hornets advance to Saturday’s competition – as seems a reasonably good get, the C-T again plans on-site coverage then via Twitter and its website.
A summary story on the tournament, along with more photos, will, as usual, appear in Monday’s C-T print edition.