Coming off a championship win at the “Red” Schmidt Holiday Tournament in Granite City, Ill., last week, the Neosho wrestling team blended its first team varsity with members of the JV squad and went to Branson on Saturday where the Wildcats edged Willard, 333.5-332, to win the Branson Scramble.
With a team consisting of half varsity, half JV, the Wildcats brought home six individual champions, two second-place winners and had a combined total of 14 wrestlers place in the top five, respectively.
Trey Smith (15-6 overall) was the 120-pound champion after edging Springfield Central’s Patrick Rogers in a decision, 4-2. Gannon Millard (15-4) took first at 126 pounds by scoring a major decision over Deven Colbert (Glendale), 14-6.
Isaac Townsend (16-5) followed by winning first at 138 after pinning Brandon Blackburn (Central) in 2:58. Cody Rains (11-9) took the 145-championship after scoring a tech fall over Hank White (Reeds Spring), 21-5. White entered the match with a 10-0 record this season. Kyle Hostetter (20-8) reached the 20-win mark by pinning Ian Stallings (Reeds Spring) in 1:30. Aaron Clardy (25-4) took first at 285 with a pin of Dalton Haddock (Reeds Spring) in 2:58.
Others who competed for the Wildcats this weekend, and their places, were: 113, Zeb House, fifth; 113, Blake Hughes, third; 132, Bradley Ratliff, second; 132, Brooke Williams, seventh; 138, Braden Brookman, fourth; 152, Juan Franco, second; 160, Zachary Plummer, sixth; 160, Appy Mendoza, fifth; 195, Dylan Smith, fifth; 220, Carter Graue, eighth; 220, Addison Derryberry, third.
“I was proud of how our kids once again battled back after losses while others stepped up and won the big matches,” Wildcats coach Jeremy Phillips said. “Our JV kids filling in for our varsity kids as point scorers wrestled very well, some of which had their best varsity tournament finish to date.”
Phillips said he hopes the results from this weekend do two things: Instills confidence in his younger wrestlers and motivates the varsity group to work even harder in order to keep their varsity spots.
“We will use this to continue building and hopefully to improve the competition in the room with our one’s and two’s,” Phillips said. “This tourney allowed several to see that they are capable of competing with many other teams’ varsity wrestlers, while others could be right there if they’d make the decision that they wanted to be, and then back that up with the investments to get there.”
The Wildcats are back in action at NHS on Thursday when they host Ozark and Nixa on youth night.