Junior (40-4) decisioned a Bolivar opponent 6-1 to assure the second state medal of his career. Injury to prevent CHS' Matt Callen from also trying to earn state medal Friday night, Hornets head coach reports
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Although they cut it close, for a 10th year in a row and 14th time in the past 15 years, Chillicothe (Mo.) HS’ wrestling Hornets will have a state tournament medal-winner.
2018-19 Hornet Colten Sewell made that a reality tonight (Friday, Feb. 15) when he posted a 6-1 triumph over Riley Hawk of Bolivar in the consolation quarterfinals of the Missouri State High School Activities Association’s Class 2 Championships at Mizzou Arena on the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia.
By virtue of that win, on the heels of another earlier in the day, the CHS junior is one of six competitors remaining in the 132-pounds weight division. Depending on how his two bouts Saturday morning and early afternoon turn out, Sewell, a fourth-place finisher at 106 pounds in the 2017 state tournament, could yet finish as high as third place or as low as sixth.
His semifinals opponent Saturday morning will be a very familiar one, Damon Ashworth of Excelsior Springs. Ashworth (42-4) decisioned the Chillicothean 8-4 last Saturday for the District 4 title in a bout that Sewell still had a chance to win in the last minute.
Ashworth was sent to the consolation side of the state bracket Friday night by undefeated, 2018 106-pounds state champion Joseph Semerad of Monett, who pinned him late (5:44) in their championship-semifinal bout. In the state-title bout, Semerad will face defending 132-pounds state champ Jay Strausbaugh of Logan-Rogersville, who, on Friday morning, administered Sewell’s only loss of the tourney thus far by a 6-1 margin.
The CHS standout, now 40-4 this season and, at 111 wins for his career, already the Hornets program’s eighth-winningest wrestler ever with another season to go, trailed briefly in his medal-or-elimination bout with Hawk Friday evening.
After the 1-minute first period ended scoreless, Hawk chose to begin the 2-minutes second segment in the defensive (bottom) position, a choice he made work to his favor by escaping from Sewell’s control about a half-minute in to generate the bout’s first point.
Not quite 30 seconds later, Sewell got things going, earning the first and only takedown of the bout for a 2-1 lead. When the Chillicothean could not further his control and Hawk could not escape a second time, the bout went to the third period with Sewell ahead, 2-1.
With Sewell choosing to be on the bottom when the last period began, in the exact same amount of time (36 seconds) it had taken his opponent to escape in the previous period, the Hornet was able to go Hawk one better and execute a reversal that turned his 1-point lead into a safer 4-1 margin with just under 90 seconds remaining.
The Chillicothean then delivered, effectively, the coup de grace, getting the Bolivar junior turned far enough and long enough to earn a 2-points near-fall with a minute left. From there, Sewell maintained his control and “ran out the clock” to assure his return spot on Saturday’s medals podium.
While Sewell, who beforehand seemed to be the likeliest of Chillicothe’s 10 state-tournament participants to earn a medal, achieved that goal, the event produced multiple odd twists and turns for CHS senior Matt Callen, leaving him to finish just short of a state medal.
Sewell carried the Chillicothe “flag” forward into Friday night’s boute alone, even though, technically, Callen technically had qualified for the third round of “wrestlebacks,” as well.
In Friday’s second round of consolation competition, the Chillicothe 220-pounder trailed Colton Gillespie (44-4) of Kirksville 3-0 in the second period after a Gillespie escape and takedown in the first 30 seconds.
As the KHS grappler went for a pin as he got the Chillicothean to his back, according to CHS coach Chad Smith, Gillespie was deemed to use an illegal “cross-face” hold. In doing so, Callen injured and unable to continue the bout, which technically turned the illegal move into a flagrant foul, the CHS coach reported, and caused Gillespie, despite a 6-1 lead on the scoreboard, to be disqualified.
Although that 35th triumph in 45 bouts this season for Callen advanced him to the consolation quarterfinals, in which winners become medal-winners, it was his last competition of the tourney, season, and CHS career, Smith informed the C-T Friday afternoon. While Callen was improved from his injury by the time of that telephone visit, the coach said medical personnel had recommended Callen not attempt to continue competing in the tourney and he and his assistant coaches had opted to heed that counsel.
As a result, while technically only one win from the medals stand in his first and only appearance at state, Callen, who is weighing several opportunities to continue wrestling on the small-college level, defaulted his would-be rematch with Louis Moten of Kansas City: Lincoln College Preparatory Academy Friday evening, the bout going into the books as a medical forfeit. Moten had nipped Callen 3-2 in the previous weekend’s District 4 Tournament title bout.
That forfeit was the last of three unusual chapters in the tourney for Callen, who dropped his opening bout by a 5-1 decision Thursday morning.
Normally that would have led to him wrestling again later that day on the consolation side of the overall bracket. However, apparently one of the state’s four district tournaments the prior weekend had had only three entrants in that 220-pounds weight division and thus qualified only three wrestlers for state. That meant a bye on one line of the 16-entries bracket and it happened to be in the same quadrant of the bracket to which Callen was assigned. That meant automatic advance to the second “wrestleback” round for the Hornet when he lost his opener.
Thus, technically involved in four rounds of the tournament, Callen was involved in only one bout that actually played out to a normal finish. The others had the bye, the mid-bout DQ, and, finally, the forfeit.
He joined teammates Lavery Jones and Connor Keithley as CHS Hornets ousted from the tournament on its second of three days.
Late Friday morning, Keithley (25-7) was pinned by Gabriel Brandenburg (36-9) of Logan-Rogersville at 3:25 of their second-round “wrestleback” bout. That eliminated the young Chillicothean after three bouts.
Earlier and later, Jones had decsion defeats that sent him packing.
Prior to Keithley’s bout, Jones – himself recipient of a gift win Thursday when his would-be first-round foe failed to make the 138-pounds weight limit and forfeited to the Chillicothean – took on Blake Schmidt (36-9) of Southern Boone County in the championship quarterfinals. Despite putting up a good battle, the Hornets senior was knocked into the consolation bracket by an 8-4 defeat.
Jones, shortly after Keithley was sent packing, then finished his senior year 38-11 with a 12-5 loss at the hands of Luca Tornatore (20-12) of Kirksville.
By virtue of Thursday’s forfeit victory at state, Jones completed his CHS career with 118 wins, one more than 2007 lightweight state champion Bobby Crabtree. That has him sixth all-time on the Hornets’ wins list, 15 back of fifth-place Dean Adkins III and an even 50 behind all-time leader and former teammate Aaron Baker’s 168.
Sewell’s current career total of 111 now has him eighth in Chillicothe’s mat annals with another season of eligibility awaiting next winter.
His 2019 medal, as mentioned, extends to 10 years in a row a CHS streak of having at least one medalist. That run was begun by Nick Plummer’s fourth-place finish at 189 pounds in 2010.
As will be the case this year, it was kept alive by a single competitor last year, although in less tense fashion. In 2018, the lone medalist was Kayde Burton at 182 pounds, but he had a medal clinched by Friday morning when he posted a second-straight triumph on his way to an eventual second-place finish.
When Sewell medaled two years ago, he was one of four Chillicotheans to do so, including Burton, Adkins, and 132-pounds state champion Chase Minnick.
The 132-pounds division far and away has been CHS’ best in recent times. The Hornets now have had a state medalist at that weight six of the past seven years, including Aaron Baker doing it four years in a row from 2013-16.