Will face Moberly's Guthrie, who beat him 9-2 in December. Two other Hornets – Keithley, Boyles – need Friday evening win to clinch medals. Valdez, Sewell ousted
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Paced, as expected, by senior 182-pounds standout Kayde Burton, who has reached the championship semifinals, the Chillicothe High School wrestling Hornets still have three entrants alive in the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 2 Championships heading into Friday (Feb. 16, 2018) night’s action.
Still in the competition after winning a second elimination bout at midday Friday were CHS senior 120-pounder Zack Boyles and freshman 113-pounder Connor Keithley.
Eliminated early Friday afternoon were sophomore Colten Sewell in the 126-pounds division and junior Keegan Valdez at 285.
Burton (48-4), already assured of a second-consecutive state medal – he placed third at 182 a year ago, will have to avenge a December loss tonight to get a crack at his year-long target – the state title – Saturday.
In Friday’s 6 p.m. session, he’ll be opposed by Tyler Guthrie (36-1) of Moberly. The two squared off in a dual match during the Spartan Duals tournament at Moberly shortly before Christmas, with Guthrie scoring a clear-cut 9-2 decision.
While that underscores the challenge Burton will be facing this evening, the Hornet can take hope from the path former teammate Chase Minnick took to the 132-pounds state crown last February.
Minnick, who finished with a 50-3 record for the season – the same number of wins Burton would post if he captures this year’s crown, subsequently avenged each of his three losses with triumphs in rematches later in the season – one on Friday in the state tournament – by learning from the prior meeting and making effective technical and strategic adjustments.
Burton punched his ticket to the semifinals Friday morning with an overwhelming win over Jeff Featherson of Dexter. Burton had close to the 15-points lead which would have given him a technical-fall victory when he pinned the southeast Missouri junior after 2:45.
Guthrie was forced to go the 6-minutes distance by an Affton foe who had nine prior losses this season, winning 4-0 in his quarterfinal.
While Burton will continue on into Saturday afternoon’s medals-round bouts, regardless of whether he wins or loses against Guthrie, Boyles and Keithley have no margin for error tonight. Each must win to reach the medals round or be eliminated just short of the medals platform.
First up by a very brief time will be the slightly-lighter freshman, who – with 40 triumphs in 51bouts to date this winter – has broken the CHS record for wins by a ninth grader.
After decisioning Oak Grove sophomore Anthony Erickson 9-4 in the second round of consolation “wrestlebacks” at midday Friday, the Midland Empire Conference champion at 113 will go against Adam Hellebusch (35-9) of Washington: St. Francis Borgia in the “medal-or-bust” round.
Minutes after that, Boyles (30-19) will take the mat needing – like Burton later – to best a foe who already has defeated him. In Boyles’ case, that loss came less than a week ago – last Saturday – when Tucker McWilliam (31-9) of Oak Grove ran roughshod over him in a 16-0 technical-fall win in the second round of the district tournament. Boyles has elevated his “game” this weekend, in coach Chad Smith’s view, but clearly has a huge hill to climb to flip the outcome against McWilliam and get a medal.
The CHS senior kept his chances afloat at midday Friday by impressively pinning Austin Angell of Owensville in 2:40 of their scheduled 5-minutes consolation-side bout. That win pushed Boyles into the “30-wins club,” a very good achievement after a frustrating finish to his 2016-17 season when he narrowly missed qualifying for state.
Friday saw the conclusion of the 2017-18 season for underclassmen Sewell and Valdez.
Sophomore Sewell (34-14), who medaled (fourth) at state at 106 pounds as a frosh, fell to Noah Juliette of Potosi 8-1 in the 126-pounds division to be sent packing.
About an hour later, in the 285-pounds division, Valdez (25-11) sustained a loss by fall in 1:51 as he battled Chase McCoy of O’Fallon: Christian.
However, coming out of this year’s state tourney with one win and his health is a big plus for the Hornets’ heavyweight, compared to a year ago.
As a state-qualifying sophomore then, Valdez was only a minute into his opening-round bout when his right knee buckled as his opponent was wrenching him to the canvas. In significant pain from the damage the knee had sustained, Valdez could put up no resistance to the foe’s immediate covering of him for a pin.
Not only did the Hornet have that loss, but the knee damage, which required some reconstructive surgery and a half-year of rehabilitation, meant that Valdez lost his would-be consolation bout by medical forfeit. This time around, he heads home with a state-tourney win Thursday afternoon to his credit and the health to spend his offseason further honing his skills and shaping and strengthening his physique.