Chillicothe (Mo.) HS wrestlers Rader, Miller Claim Sixth-Place 2021 State-Tourney Medals
Each won three bouts, lost two on the day; freshmen ousted without winning
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Chillicothe High School senior Sheldon Rader repeated as a sixth-place finisher – one weight division heavier this time – and sophomore Brock Miller earned a sixth-place state medal – his first, as well, in the 2021 Class 2 boys’ MSHSAA State Wrestling Championships at Cable Dahmer Arena at Independence Thursday.
Rader and Miller unknowingly had turned the arena into a revival of the “hip” early 1970s ABC television show “Room 222.”
With both Hornets pursuing a 2021 Class 2 boys’ MSHSAA State Wrestling Championships top-6 finish and medal and needing one more win to do so, each delivered in a big way with dominating wins by fall in the exact same length of time – 2:22.
Following his senior teammate’s example exactly, Miller scored all seven points of his bout, surging to a 5-0 lead with a takedown and 3-points near-fall in the first 15 seconds. Ahead by that score after the first period, he gained another takedown 12 seconds into the next one before, 70 seconds later, punching his ticket to the medals podium Thursday evening.
In their medal bouts, Rader (36-14) lost 6-4 in overtime to Chris Sullivan (37-9), a Harrisonville freshman, finishing sixth for a second-straight year.
Miller (36-12) opposed Lane Brattin (37-15), a junior from Pleasant Hill, and, in a scrambly bout with multiple lead changes and quick switches of control, lost by fall after 4:21 while trailing only 13-10.
Much earlier in the afternoon, CHS’ other two state participants – freshmen Brody Cairns at 152 pounds and Lane McCoy at 106 – sustained two defeats each without winning to be eliminated early.
Apparently, for Rader, there’s no place like the consolation side of a state tournament bracket.
One year after marching through the consolation bracket of the 106-pounds division of the 2020 Class 2 state championships with 4-consecutive victories to reach the medals stand, he posted a second-straight second-period “wrestlebacks” win by fall to clinch a 2021 state medal.
By virtue of his 2:22 victory over freshman Bryant Schwent of Ste. Genevieve at mid-afternoon, Rader (35-13) advanced to the fifth-place bout later in the afternoon session, meaning he is assured of a top-6 finish and a state medal again.
In his do-or-die battle with Schwent, Rader seized a 2-0 lead after one period when he completed a takedown with eight seconds remaining.
Starting the second period in the defensive (down) position, the Hornet immediately set about trying to escape or reverse and increase his lead. It took him about 40 seconds to do so, but he finally got control of Schwent for a 4-0 advantage.
In short order after that, the Chillicothean put the Ste. Genevieve youngster’s back partially on the mat for five seconds, giving Rader three more points for a near-fall a half-minute into the second frame.
With that comfortable 7-0 lead, Rader could have played it cozy, but instead sought to press his advantage. It paid dividends.
After Schwent got partially off his back for a short time, Rader tilted him to it again, this time positioning himself with better leverage to earn the pin at 2:22.
As the first session of the boys’ Class 2 MSHSAA State Wresting Championships concluded early Thursday afternoon, the fortunes of the four Chillicothe High School Hornets participating had followed projections.
Senior 113-pounder Sheldon Rader stood within one more victory of clinching a second-straight state medal, while sophomore Brock Miller was the same distance from his first and freshmen Lane McCoy at 106 pounds and Brody Cairns at 152 had bowed out with a pair of losses each.
Rader advanced to the mid-to-late-afternoon session by earning his second victory of the day, this time by fall.
Facing freshman Creek Hughes (21-14) of St. Clair in a win-or-go-home scenario, the Hornets veteran actually fell behind 2-0 just before the 1-minute opening period ended, but soon rectified his situation.
Opting to start the second stanza in the defensive “down” position, Rader (34-13) reversed Hughes 15 second after action restarted and, only 17 seconds later, had completed a win by fall.
Standing between him and a medal to go with his sixth-place one from 2020 was freshman Bryant Schwent (26-10), a sectional champion from Ste. Genevieve.
Miller (35-11) put together a solid performance, start to finish, as he decisioned junior Dane Napier (27-18) of Seneca 9-5 and stayed alive.
The Hornets 10th grader opened the scoring with a takedown midway through the first minute. His early-second-period reversal doubled his lead to 4-0. After Napier escaped at 2:22 of the bout, Miller took his largest lead, 6-1, with a second takedown 20 seconds later.
In the final stanza, the Seneca Indian first escaped, then got his only takedown to claw within 6-4 with still nearly 90 seconds left, but the Chillicothe stabilized. After Napier intentionally released him, making the margin 7-4, Miller parried attempts to get him down and, instead, came up with a third takedown of his own with a minute and small change remaining. A penalty point assessed against Miller with 40 seconds to go only improved the loss of the losing score for Napier.
With a second state triumph under his belt, Miller needed to defeat junior Trey Scheckenberg of Cape Girardeau: Notre Dame in his next outing to reap some hardware.
McCoy (37-13) was eliminated from the tournament by Gage Schottel (32-4) of Savannah on a 9-0 major decision. Schottel got a first-period takedown and second-period reversal before reversing again in the third and following it with three near-fall points.
Cairns soon duplicated his classmate’s fate, losing 9-0 to senior Matt Balke (37-9) of Clinton.
Balke gained a takedown and two “back” (near-fall) points in the first 60 seconds, then added an escape and another takedown in the second. In the last frame, the much-taller Balke registered a third takedown, for a second time doing so just after Cairns (37-17) seemed just about to produce one of his own.
With neither of the CHS frosh netting a triumph in the state tourney, they concluded the 2020-21 season sharing the Hornets’ high for bout victories on the season.
As was recognized before the tournament, Rader’s route to returning to the medals stand almost surely would require winning a pair of consolation bouts because, even if he won his opener as he did, it would pit him against a defending state champion, Sam Ewing of Pleasant Hill, in the championship quarterfinals.
Ewing (44-1), a sectional champion and thus owner of a first-round bye, made the expected short work of the CHS senior. He gained a takedown of Rader at 15 seconds and, after an escape by the Hornet, again at 43 seconds.
This time, Ewing kept him there, earning two near-fall points at the 1-minute mark and completing the pin at 1:29.
Miller’s quarterfinal bout against sectional champion Ethan Umfleet of Monett saw the Hornet nearly score the first takedown, but, when he didn’t, the southwest Missourian closed it out by fall in 1:11.
After fending off the Chillicothean’s near-miss bid for a takedown about 15 in, the Monett foe accomplished that task at 23 seconds. He kept control until quickly shifting Miller to his back and earning the pin just less than a minute later.
As with Rader, the loss following the opening victory left him in the same position as first-round losers Cairns and McCoy – needing to win twice in a row on the consolation side to get a shot at fifth place.
The opening round brought Chillicothe evenly-split results with Miller the most impressive.
The sophomore took down senior David Gibson (18-14) of Fulton 13 seconds in and, just less than 40 seconds later, came out of a scramble with Gibson on his back.
Seizing the opening, the Hornet made the most of a second chance to get leverage on his foe’s upper body, Miller used what he related former CHS teammate Dawson Wheeler termed “the ultimate pinning combination” to get Gibson “flat” and claim victory in 54 seconds.
Rader registered an opening major decision by an 11-0 margin, although he had a couple of brief moments when he had to fight off danger from freshman Huck Simmons (14-5) of St. Louis: Priory.
The lone Hornets senior competing started the scoring with a takedown 20 seconds into the first period. He advanced his lead to 4-0 with a reversal a half-minute into the second and picked up a couple of near-fall points at 3:25 of the bout to seize clear command.
In the last period, Rader notched his second takedown midway through and tacked on three “back” points with 15 seconds remaining.
In their state debuts, Chillicothe freshmen Brody Cairns at 152 pounds and Lane McCoy at 106 had brief moments of positivity, but eventually lost by significant margins.
McCoy scored the first takedown on fellow ninth grader Easton DeMilia of Jefferson City: Blair Oaks after 25 seconds, but was not able to score again.
DeMilia reversed a half-minute later and then got two near-fall points at 1:25 to assume the upper hand for good.
An escape and takedown in the second period increased the gap to 7-2 after two before the Chillicothean made a bid to get back in it with a takedown a half-minute into the third period.
Trailing 7-4 and in need of a pin or near-fall points, McCoy could not get either as DeMilia (35-12) executed another reversal at 4:50 and protected that 9-4 lead the last 70 seconds.
Cairns surrendered the first takedown to junior Ty Shetley (34-3) of Sullivan at the 20-seconds mark, then got on the scoreboard with an escape 20 seconds after that. However, another Shetley takedown at 1:22 left the score 4-1 in his favor after a period.
With the Hornet on top to begin the second period, Shetley escaped seven seconds in. Not quite a minute later, the Sullivan wrestler boosted the lead to 7-1.
Cairns got a reversal at 3:15 to edge within 7-3, but an escape with 10 seconds remaining in the segment and another takedown just ahead of the whistle left the Chillicothean in a 10-3 hole after two.
Starting the third period “down,” Cairns made his second escape, but with only five seconds remaining, a move Shetley immediately followed with a fifth and final takedown with two seconds to go.