The Neosho High wrestling program — five-time defending Class 3 state champions — recently participated at the University of Missouri team camp.

The Neosho High wrestling program — five-time defending Class 3 state champions — recently participated at the University of Missouri team camp.
“Team camp at MU was an excellent experience for all those involved,” Neosho head coach Jeremy Phillips said. “We ended up with 21 wrestlers making the commitment and investment to learn from some of the best in the country. They put together, as always, a very solid camp. It was indeed a great opportunity for our boys to come together and fight for the first time. Although we did not win it this year, I think it provided us with what we needed to see and understand what we have to do to obtain the goals we have set for this season.
“It definitely was tough to swallow, but I look at it as a blessing in disguise because we are fortunate enough to know “now,” vs. November, the specific needs we have to work on. The key for us now is to invest our efforts specifically aimed at the things taken away from our reflections and evaluations. Up to this point our investments have lacked a true commitment from way too many. We have got to have better leadership and buy-in from all those involved, so hopefully our seniors and others will train with a sense of urgency and purpose. Parents please continue to do your part encouraging and holding your child accountable to his strength and conditioning, open mat, and camp opportunities.”
Missouri comes off a season in which the Tigers placed fifth in NCAA Division I and their senior J’den Cox earned his program-record third national championship, all three at 197 pounds. Lavion Mayes (149) and Joey Lavallee (157) each finished second, while Jaydin Eierman (141) and Daniel Lewis (165) each earned All-American honors with fifth- and sixth-place finishes, respectively.
Penn State won the national title with 146.5 points and Ohio State and Oklahoma State each finished next with 110, while Iowa tallied 97 points.
The Wildcats of Neosho finished with seven state medalists last season en route to their fifth straight and seventh in the last eight years state title — Adrian Hitchcock won a state title at 285, Gannon Millard took second at 132, Trenton Young and Joey Williams each finished third at 126 and 170 respectively, Braxton Barnes and Zach Plummer each placed fourth at 138 and 195 respectively, and Christian Nutz took sixth at 220.
Hitchcock, Young and Williams return for their senior years, while Millard, Plummer and Nutz graduated (with Millard and Plummer continuing their wrestling careers at Labette Community College and Lindenwood, respectively) and Barnes will be a junior.
Suggested team goals for the upcoming edition of the high school team are an undefeated dual record; tournament championships at Neosho, Branson, and Granite City (Illinois); a top-six finish at Kansas City; Central Ozark Conference tournament champions; district champions; 12 state qualifiers; 10 state medalists; six Academic All-State; five state finalists; four state champions; team state champions; and five national medalists.