With team match outcome in balance and trailing 2-0 in bout, Hornets sophomore heavyweight sticks Marshall foe at mid-bout to give CHS 42-40 home victory Thursday night (Dec. 5, 2019)

CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — One could hardly have asked for a more-exciting 2019-20 season and home opener for the Chillicothe (Mo.) HS wrestling Hornets Thursday (Dec. 5) or for a more-dramatic team triumph.
In a see-saw match with the Marshall Owls, the Hornets were behind 40-36 going to the last weight division – the heavyweights (285 pounds), putting CHS sophomore Christian Peniston – a veteran of only seven prior varsity-level bouts last season – under the gun. He’d not only have to defeat Owl Tarson Williams, but do so by a major decision or better for CHS to win or have the chance to on criteria.
When Williams posted the only points of the first 2-minutes period with a takedown, the heat on Peniston increased, but he didn’t sweat it.
With the choice of starting positions for the second period, he did not defer, but instead took the initiative and chose to begin the resumed action from the offensive or top position. He then backed up his choice.
Peniston not only kept Williams under control through the first 40-45 seconds of the second segment, but solidified it to the point at which – his right arm looped under his opponent’s right leg from behind and his left arm draped around the left side of Williams’ neck in a manner which allowed his hands to grip each other – he could roll the opponent onto his left shoulder and, a short time later, use his body weight to press both of Williams’ shoulder blades to the mat simultaneously for a pin.
Peniston’s win by fall at 3:09 not only gave him the personal achievement, but provided six team points that made Chillicothe a 42-40 winner in its first outing of the new campaign.
Peniston’s pin was one of six wins by fall for CHS in a match which saw each team have one “open” weight class – 113 pounds for the Hornets and 220 for visiting MHS.
The boys’ varsity match ended just as it had begun, with a Chillicothe win by fall, but at the other end of the weight spectrum. Junior Sheldon Rader of the Hornets, a returning state-tournament qualifier, got the new season off on the right foot with a pin at 3:50 of the 106-pounds bout.
After Marshall picked up not only the uncontested triumph at 113, but two wins by fall and a major decision in the next three weights, the Owls owned a 22-6 lead.
The middle of CHS’ lineup soon put the Hornets back in the thick of the match.
2018-19 126-pounds Class 2 third-place state medal-winner Colton Sewell battled his way to a win by fall in 5:37 at 138 pounds, followed by junior Connor Keithley’s pin win in 1:53 at 145. Following a Marshall victory in the fastest bout of the night – 19 seconds, Chillicothe freshman Brock Miller got those six points right back with a “stick” of his 160-pounds opponent at 1:41.
When CHS veteran Dawson Wheeler, another returning state qualifier, bested his 170-pounds opponent in 1:41, Chillicothe had regained the lead at 30-28.
Back-to-back MHS wins by pin shifted the pressure to Peniston following MHS’ forfeit of the 220-pounds division bout.
The others in the Chillicothe boys’ varsity lineup for the season opener were Aidan Zimmerman at 120 pounds, Gavin Funk at 126, Bryce Dominique at 132, Zeek Haughton at 152, Tristian Slattery at 182, and Evan Loucks at 195.
While the Hornets’ varsity snatched victory from the jaws of defeat at the last instant in their match, the Lady Hornets had no such good fortune, falling to Marshall 49-6.
Although CHS has nine girls out for the sport, only five could be wedged into Thursday’s lineup and the only one to be victorious – returnee Karyna Ireland – did so by forfeit.
Of the four girls’ bouts actually wrestled, CHS’ Gabrielle Wigchert lost a 7-0 decision at 120 pounds, Abigail Clements sustained a 16-4 major-decision defeat at 115, Addison Lewis was pinned in 1:36 at 142 pounds, and Haliey Fahling lost by fall after 62 seconds.
The Chillicothe boys did capture four of six “exhibition” or junior-varsity level bouts. Getting the wins were Cesar Mares, Ruger Cox, Jaxon Albertson, and Ryder Rempel.
The varsity wrestling Hornets will participate in Friday night’s and Saturday’s Steve Leslie Invitational Tournament at Pleasant Hill.