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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • No. 1 Wildcats win Branson Tournament

  • The Neosho wrestling team continued its dominance on Saturday as the No. 1 team in the state cruised to a first place finish at the Branson Tournament.
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  • The Neosho wrestling team continued its dominance on Saturday as the No. 1 team in the state cruised to a first place finish at the Branson Tournament.
    The Wildcats won the event going away as they turned in 271 team points, followed by Nixa (189) and Bixby, Okla. (181).
    Neosho’s Nate Rodriguez, wrestling at 132 pounds, not only won his class by going 4-0 (including three pins), but also received an “Outstanding Wrestler” award for the tournament.
    It was another step in the right direction for the Wildcats as the state finals begin in a month.
    “It’s always nice to bring the team title home,” Wildcats coach Jeremy Phillips said. “Overall, I thought we wrestled well. With a handful of JV kids in our starting lineup today, it was nice to see that, despite adversity, we were able to step up and win the tournament.
    “It was evident that several of our kids are getting return for their investments, and that is what we have to continue doing — putting in the blood, sweat, and tears to close and open gaps on those who stand between us and our goals.”
    First place wins went to Rodriguez and Jacob Brock. Brock, wrestling at 182 pounds, went 4-0 versus the competition. Place winners for the Wildcats were: (106 pounds) John Williams 3-1 overall, second place; (138) Jason Box 3-1, second; (138) Isaac Townsend, 3-1, fifth; (145) Kyle Hostetter, 4-1, fourth; (152) Chance Branstetter, 4-1, fifth; (160) Garrick Fausett, 4-1, third; (170) Austin Hailey, 4-1, third; (195) Ben Elledge, 3-1, fifth; (220) Christian Lopez, 3-1, second; (285) Aaron Clardy, 3-1, third.
    Others who competed for the Wildcats were: (113) Toby Friend, 1-2; (120) Brayden Brookman, 0-2; (132) Cody Rains, 1-2; (138) Brad Ratliff, 1-2; (195) Addison Derryberry, 2-2; (285) Cody Fox (1-2).
    Phillips said the Wildcats must focus on winning more of the big matches, and that the team will emphasize doing that very thing going forward.
    “One thing we will really be focusing on in the weeks to come is winning the big matches,” Phillips said. “We lost too many of those (overtime) matches and one point matches today.
    “We must prepare the mind and our gas tank to wrestle our match without fear or hanging on to a lead.”
    The Wildcats are back in action with a match at Carthage at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
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