Carter Boatright now has a pair of gold medal bookends to his high school wrestling career after winning the Class 3 state title at 140 pounds Saturday in the 2011 MSHSAA Wrestling Championships.

Carter Boatright now has a pair of gold medal bookends to his high school wrestling career after winning the Class 3 state title at 140 pounds Saturday in the 2011 MSHSAA Wrestling Championships.

Boatright decisioned Branson’s Michael Cuthbertson 12-2 to earn his second state title, and his fourth state medal at Columbia.

To go along with his two state titles — the other won as a freshman at 103 pounds — Boatright took third place at 125 pounds as a junior, and fourth at 119 pounds as a sophomore. He ends this year’s state tournament a perfect 4-0 and the season 48-5.

After his state title victory, Boatright admitted that if someone told him a month ago that he would win a state title this year he would have laughed at the idea.

He said he wasn’t wrestling at his best then, and that’s when the coaching staff decided to bump him up from 135 pounds to 140 in hopes of adding more fuel to the senior’s gas tank.

The move worked wonders, as Boatright went on to win titles at both the Central Ozark Conference tournament and the Class 3-District 3 tournament en route to the state meet.

“I have had my lumps this season and lost some matches that I shouldn’t have and didn’t wrestle my best at times, so I decided to bump up a weight class,” Boatright said. “I came into the state tournament knowing that 140 pounds was for the taking and this was going to be my tournament. Once I got to the semifinals, and beat (Oak Park’s Gage Harrison), I knew this was my tournament.”

Boatright’s toughest challenge in the state tournament came in the semifinal match Friday night with Harrison.
After a scoreless first period, Boatright gained the lead with a takedown and led 2-0 after two periods.

Boatright lost the momentum in the third period. After an escape to open the period, Harrison rebounded with a takedown. Boatright escaped again to go up 4-2, but again Harrison responded with another takedown to tie the match at 4-4.

Boatright managed another escape in the final minute, and then held on for the win.

After the win, Boatright pumped his fist in the air toward the Neosho crowd.

Boatright continued to show emotion as the referee raised his arm in the air. As he walked off the mat, Boatright continued to gesture toward the crowd along with his coaches. It was the first loss of the loss for Harrison, who entered the state meet with a 21-0 record.

“(Harrison) we knew was good coming into the tournament, but he was a little arrogant I thought and thought he had it wrapped up the way he was talking,” Boatright said. “I went out and wrestled smart, and used my strengths against his to pull out a win.”

The finals match was another one that featured two wrestlers from the Central Ozark Conference. Boatright defeated Cuthbertson by technical fall 16-3 to win the district title.

“I knew my opponent, but this was not the Neosho tournament finals, or the district finals, this was the state finals and I had to be ready to wrestle my match,” Boatright said. “Once you get out there and step on the line, the butterflies have to go away and I knew I had to take care of business.”

The state title ends a storied career at NHS for Boatright.

When asked to summarize that career, the senior was at a loss for words. This year’s senior group of wrestlers end their career with two Class 3 state titles (2011 and 2010), and second place team plaque (2009) and a fourth place team plaque (2008).

“It was a great run,” said Boatright, who was fighting back his emotions. “It has been great with my coaches and teammates. We came up short as a team our first two years, but to win (the team title in Class 3) the past two years as been awesome. A lot of people don’t get to experience what an awesome ride we have, and the chance to be on a team this good. It is a blessing to have wrestlers and coaches that good and bring home hardware like this.”