(UPDATED 12:15 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, with Friday night's results)
Will be on state medals podium Saturday after earning 9-2 decision in consolation third round Friday night. Hornets Wheeler and Washburn eliminated Friday
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Chillicothe HS Hornets junior lightweight Sheldon Rader joined the ranks of all-time CHS state medal-winners this (Friday, Feb. 21) evening when he dominated Logan-Rogersville freshman 9-3 in their 106-pounds third-round bout in the consolation half of the .2020 Class 2 Missouri Wrestling Championships.
With his victory, Rader (35-9) kept alive the possibility of placing as high as third and gained assurance of no worse than a sixth-place finish in the tourney.
He’ll wrestle in the consolation “wrestlebacks” semifinals early Saturday morning and, depending on that result, will be in either the third- or fifth-place final at around midday. He’ll then receive his state medal during a brief awards ceremony during Saturday afternoon/evening’s championship-bouts session in the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Mizzou Arena.
Senior teammate Dawson Wheeler also had the opportunity to clinch a top-6 finish and state medal, but was shut out 5-0 in his third-round “wrestlebacks” bout Friday night, leaving him one win short of a first-ever state medal.
Wheeler (27-7), who earlier in the day was pinned in his 160-pounds championship-quarterfinals bout and then rebounded to post a 5-3 win in a consolation second-round bout, was ousted by a familiar foe – Hunter Armstrong of St. Joseph: Benton. The Hornet pinned Armstrong in the championship bout of the Midland Empire Conference Tournament at St. Joseph about a month ago, but could not repeat his triumph in what became his last high school outing.
While CHS’ Wheeler and Rader were moving on to Friday night’s elimination round, the end of the season and mat career for Hornets senior Isaac Washburn arrived late this morning when he sustained a heartbreaking consolation second-round loss by fall to Raymond Villalta of Monett.
Thanks to his escape from the “down” position 17 seconds into the third period, the Chillicothean was tied 1-1 inside the final 20 seconds of regulation time when the Monett Cub managed to complete a takedown that cost Chillicothe’s 220-pounds entrant the match on a 3-1 decision.
Washburn’s outstanding final prep season, which included being a MEC champion at 220, ended with a final record of 32-7, the second-most wins on the team.
Junior Rader, assured of finishing the season as CHS’ top winner when Washburn lost, took another intermediate step toward Saturday Friday morning when, leading 7-2, he pinned Chance McKim of Kirksville at 3:27 in their elimination bout.
That put him in against southwest Missourian Foster (36-18) last evening, who – as the Chillicothean had done throughout his full tour of the consolation side of the state-tournament bracket – he dominated convincingly.
Rader jumped ahead 2-0 with a takedown not quite midway through the 1-minute opening period. Opting to open the second period in the “down” (defensive) position, the CHS 11th grader – at state for the second year in a row and flashing the value of his growing experience there – swapped positions with Foster 25 seconds in for a 4-0 lead.
Then, with 45 seconds left in the 2-minutes second stanza, Rader got his opponent partially on his back for a 5-count, earning three near-fall points which ballooned the Hornet’s lead to 7-2 after two periods.
With Foster choosing to begin the last period with both young men on their feet, Rader made that work to his advantage again, scoring his second takedown of the bout 65 seconds in. Up 9-0 at that point, all the Chillicothe needed to do was make sure he didn’t make a mistake that might leave him vulnerable to a pin or disqualification in the last 55 ticks of the clock.
Even though he was reversed less than 10 seconds after that second takedown, Rader negated his opponent’s efforts to turn him and “ran out the clock” for the medal-clinching victory.
In Rader’s first bout Saturday, he’ll oppose a standout freshman from St. Clair, Ryan Meek (43-5). The other two 106-pounds consolation semifinalists are highly-regarded Keith Ransom (45-2) of Mexico and freshman Caleb Husch (49-3) of Cameron.
Husch decisioned Rader 5-1 for the MEC championship in late January. Ransom eliminated District 4 champion Dalton Coe by pin in 45 seconds in their “bubble” bout Friday night.
With Rader securely into Saturday’s field, Chillicothe hoped for a double-dip into the state medals bag with Wheeler rematching with Armstrong, but, as isn’t uncommon – CHS 2017 state champion Chase Minnick avenged a couple of earlier losses during his run to the title at Columbia, the Benton senior turned the tables in their rematch.
Following a scoreless first period, Wheeler began the second “down,” but, rather than being able to escape or reverse to get the scoring started, he found himself put partially on his back about 1:15 in the second period. When kept there for at least five counts, Armstrong had broken the shutout with a 3-points near-fall.
When it still was 3-0 going to the last two minutes, given his success there during the prior segment, Armstrong chose to stay in the “top” position to begin the third.
As the bout moved into its final minute, increasing desperation for Wheeler to try to either escape and then take down his opponent to tie the bout or reverse him and then hope to get some “back” points that would put the Hornet in front forced him to try to take a risk with his position.
Understanding the situation, Armstrong was ready for Wheeler to gamble and caught him in a hold that allowed the St. Joseph wrestler to briefly turn him partially onto his back a second time. Although this time the stay was briefer, it still was enough for two near-fall points for Armstrong and an insurmountable 5-0 lead with only a half-minute left.