After winning his second-straight Class 3 state title at 171 pounds, Neosho senior Blake Stauffer was quick to give credit to his coaching staff at the conclusion of the 2011 MSHSAA Wrestling Championships.


After winning his second-straight Class 3 state title at 171 pounds, Neosho senior Blake Stauffer was quick to give credit to his coaching staff at the conclusion of the 2011 MSHSAA Wrestling Championships.

“It feels good, and it was definitely a goal once I won my first title to repeat again,” said Stauffer, who finishes this season with a 52-0 record and his two-year state title run with a 104-1 mark. “I tried to use this tournament as a stepping stone for the national tournament. I was really not training to win a state title, but more a national title. This was just a step to get to my national title. It was great.

“I want to say something about all the coaches, and how much they have helped in my victory. I want to thank all the coaches (head coach Jeremy Phillips, and assistants Cody Crocker, Dane Espinosa, Josh Sonis and Trey Jackson), because without them I would not be where I am. A lot of this success goes to them.”

In another matchup of Central Ozark Conference rivals in the finals, Stauffer faced Jonathon Inman of Branson for the fifth time this season Saturday in the 171-pound Class 3 title bout.

Stauffer built an early lead with a pair of takedowns in the first period, and led 4-2 at the start of the second.
Stauffer then recorded a reversal early in the second period, and entered the final two minutes up 6-3.

But then Inman rallied, recording a pair of escapes to cut Stauffer’s lead to 6-5.

But the Wildcat senior, who has already signed to wrestle at Arizona State University after graduation, held on for the one-point victory.

Stauffer said wrestling Inman in the finals was a disadvantage because of the familiarity of the two wrestlers.

“You can only wrestle a guy so many times before he starts to figure out what you do,” Stauffer said. “I beat him pretty good the first couple of times we wrestled, but then he started figuring out what I was doing so I didn’t have the advantage in already wrestling him.”

Stauffer reached the final after pinning Farmington’s Brett Bader in the semifinal round Friday night. Stauffer scored seven unanswered points before getting the pin at the 2:44 mark.

Stauffer ends his high school career with the Wildcats winning state hardware all four years (first place in 2011 and 2010, second in 2009 and fourth in 2008) as well as a second place individual medal in 2008 to go with his two state titles.

“You could tell this class was going to do something special,” Stauffer said. “It was a lot of hard work, and we all stuck together and helped each other out through all the years. It is just awesome to finish like this with our senior class. You couldn’t ask for anything else.”