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Senior Rader, frosh Cairns MEC mat champions

Lead CHS boy wrestlers to runnerup finish Saturday

As reported to C-T
Freshman Brody Cairns of the 2020-21 Chillicothe High School wrestling Hornets tries to turn a Boonville opponent turned to his back during the Jan.16 CHS Invitational Tournament. Last Saturday (Jan. 23), he won the Midland Empire Conference Championships 160-pounds title.
  • Sheldon Rader (113 pounds), Brody Cairns (160) extend CHS' run of multiple MEC champs to four years
  • Hornets place second in conference tournament for fourth year in row

ST. JOSEPH  — Individual champions Sheldon Rader, a senior lightweight, and Brody Cairns, a freshman middleweight, led the 2020-21 Chillicothe High School wrestling Hornets to a fourth-consecutive runnerup finish in the Midland Empire Conference Championships Saturday at Benton High School in south St. Joseph.

It’s the fourth year in a row Chillicothe has had multiple MEC individual champions. This year’s duo were first-time conference title winners.

By a wide (126.5 points) margin, the Cameron Dragons took the crown for a third-straight time. That gap was, by far, the greatest of CHS’ four years in a row as runnerup.

Chillicothe, which had two individual runnersup in addition to its pair of title winners, generated 213-1/2 points, 56-1/2 more than third-place Savannah.

Individually, while 2020 state medalist Rader projected as a top contender for the 113-pounds division top honors, ninth grader Cairns came in somewhat under the radar to prevail.

He opened with a quick pin of a Savannah opponent in 47 seconds, then posted a 16-0 technical-fall victory over a Maryville foe. Neither of those opponents had an above-.500 record.

In the title bout, Cairns, now 26-11, dominated Benton Barton of Cameron (23-15) by a major decision, 12-2.

Rader improved his season record to 26-10 with two wins by fall and a title-bout decision.

He also pinned a Savannah opponent (1:57) to start his day before finishing a St. Joseph: Lafayette foe at 2:25.

In the finals against Cameron’s previously-twice-beaten Caleb Husch, Rader dramatically battled his back from a 4-1 deficit after the opening period to register a 7-4 triumph.

Husch took Rader down twice in the first two minutes with an escape for the Hornet in between.

The second segment began with Rader in the top (offensive) position, which, after much effort, he managed to utilize to get Husch to his back long enough to earn a tying 3-points near-fall inside the last half-minute of the period.

With the final frame potentially to be decisive, Rader used his starting-position choice to be in the defensive position, from which even an escape could give him the lead.

Apparently confident he could get a third takedown that would give him the advantage again, Husch voluntarily released Rader immediately as the last third period began, putting the Chillicothean in front for the first time.

However, Rader craftily defended against the Dragon’s attempts at a takedown and, finally, in the final 10 seconds of the bout, used his foe’s desperation attempts against him to get a takedown himself to win by three.

Junior Wade Horton of the 2020-21 Chillicothe High School wrestling Hornets, seen nearing a victory over a Mid-Buchanan opponent during the Jan. 16 Chillicothe Invitational Tournament, earned second place at 220 pounds in the Midland Empire Conference Championships Saturday, Jan. 23, at St. Joseph.

Earning second places by different tracks were junior 220-pounds entry Wade Horton (18-9) and sophomore 182-pounder Brock Miller (22-6).

Each stood on the brink of a crown entering their final bouts, only to be defeated – Miller by technical fall and Horton by actual fall.

Coming through a 6-persons round-robin format, Miller rang up four wins by fall – in times of 0:32, 3:49, 2:23, and 0:47, respectively, to put him in the ring against St. Joseph: Lafayette’s once-beaten Jay Greiner in the final round.

Greiner controlled and dominated the bout, ending it in 3:30 when he gained a 20-4 lead.

In a combination round-robin/bracketed format, Horton reached the 220-pounds championship round through wins by fall at 0:33, 3:56, and 3:50, in that sequence, and a semifinals victory over a Maryville foe at 4:51.

That finally put him in against an opponent with a winning record, Cameron’s Wyatt Burnett, who handled the Hornet in less than a period, getting the pins at 1:50.

Despite the last-match loss, Horton had the distinction of providing the most team points – 32 – to Chillicothe’s second-place finish.

Five Hornets battled their way to third-place medals. Sophomores Lucas Reynolds at 195 pounds and Dawson Sutton at 170 each won three times in five bouts to achieve that, while Bryce Dominique at 145 and Christian Peniston at 285 split four bouts to place third. Freshman Joel Edwards won once and lost twice in the 4-man 106-pounds division, giving him third.

Of the other three of the 12 CHS entries for the conference tournament, both Justin Pyle (132) and Cayden Larson (138) had one victory in four bouts and Gauge Chenet (160) went winless in four bouts. Each of them is a freshman.

The MEC held its girls’ championship tournament in December. CHS’ Abby Clements won the 112-pounds division then.