BRANSON — Behind seven finalists and five individual champions, the Neosho Wildcats earned a team title at the Branson Invitational on Saturday with 319 points.
Adrian Hitchcock (285 pounds), defending Class 3 state champion, met none other than Carl Junction’s Zeke Wall in the championship match Saturday, none other because Hitchcock defeated Wall for conference, district, and state titles last season. Hitchcock pinned Wall Saturday in 4 minutes, 47 seconds or near the middle point of the third period.
In his other matches, Hitchcock pinned his three opponents in less time than it took to pin Wall, taking down Fayetteville’s Matthew DeMars in 55 seconds, McDonald County’s McCoy Ikosia in 59 seconds, and Marshfield’s Tristen Burton in 1:01.
Hitchcock improved to 33-2 overall this season.
Zane Persinger (220) took first with a pin of Fayetteville’s Marcus Tortorello in the finals, bringing him at 2:37 into the match. Persinger won a 8-4 decision against Marshfield’s Travin Plemmons, a 9-1 major decision against Ste. Genevieve’s Tyler Hale, and pinned Vian’s Nick Hughes in 38 seconds. Persinger improved to 22-11 overall.
Joey Williams (182) pinned Union’s David Clark in 2:30 for the championship Saturday, culminating a run of five straight pins for the NCAA Division II Maryville signee. Williams pinned Branson’s Tavany Richards in 1:04, McDonald County’s Wilson Menas in 1:19, Cassville’s Colton Moore in 11 seconds, and Fayetteville’s Matthew Muller in 38 seconds. Williams improved to 31-3 overall.
Young (132), another one of Neosho’s three considerable seniors, placed first with a 4-2 decision against Seneca’s Max Roark in a match of two of the better smaller weights in the area. En route to the finals, Young won a 5-0 decision against Ste. Genevieve’s Grant Staffen in the championship bracket and pinned Fayetteville’s Jayden McDaniel in 1:12 and Marshfield’s Nick Taylor in 55 seconds in earlier rounds.
Young improved to 31-6 on the season and the senior trio of Hitchcock, Williams, and Young has earned a combined 95-11 record this season.
Cayden Auch (106) continued his impressive freshman season with a championship at 106, winning the crown with a 7-5 decision against Seneca’s Levi Connelly in a battle of the top-ranked 106 wrestlers in Class 1 (Connelly) and Class 3 (Auch). Auch defeated Class 2 state-ranked Jacob Dickens of Ste. Genevieve on a 6-0 decision in the championship bracket.
Auch pinned Fayetteville’s Baudon Fuller in 54 seconds, Carl Junction’s Chris Gordon in 1:25, and Monett’s Estuardo Chonay in 2:25 in the other matches, contributing to a 32-2 record for Auch.
Kolton Sanders (113) finished second with a 12-5 loss to McDonald County’s Oscar Ortiz in the finals. Ortiz and Sanders could meet again in districts and state. Sanders won a 5-1 decision against Monett’s Joseph Semerad in the championship bracket and Semerad’s currently ranked No. 1 in Class 2 at 106. Additionally, Sanders pinned Smithville’s J.T. O’Rourke in 2:37 and won a 19-3 tech fall against Lee’s Summit’s Lorenzo Turney.
Braxton Barnes (138) lost a 4-3 decision to Smithville’s Mitchell Bohlken in the finals to earn second, this match pitting wrestlers ranked No. 2 (Barnes) and No. 3 (Bohlken) at 138, respectively. Those rankings may change next time.
En route to the finals, though, Barnes pinned Smithville JV’s Logan Pieper in 1:13, Camdenton’s Gabe Blain in 1:14, and Monett’s Gunnar Bradley in 1:52.
Alec Rothman (152) took third, with the only loss against Seneca’s Dayton Fields in the championship bracket. Rothman won a 12-11 decision over Fayetteville’s Brady Arroyos in the third place match. Rothman also pinned McDonald County’s Kevin Sackryas in 4:33 and won by medical forfeit against Carl Junction’s Isiac Shields.
Jeremiah Larson (145) placed fourth, with both losses coming against wrestlers with the first name Zane, pinned by Bentonville’s Zane Sims and then a 8-0 major decision against Seneca’s Zane Cotten. In non-Zane matches, Larson pinned Monett’s Jordan Whitnell with only four seconds remaining in the third period, won a 17-2 tech fall against Carl Junction’s Brooks Neria, and pinned Cassville’s Logan Carlin in 1:41.
Drayke Perry (170), like Larson, won the first three matches and then lost the final two Saturday to place fourth. Perry pinned Fayetteville’s Lesli Covington in 3:00, Ste. Genevieve’s Ty Brown in 3:49, and Seneca’s Jordan Ishimura in 5:36. Perry lost 6-4 to both Cassville’s Wyatt Goade and Marshfield’s Jordon irwin.
Other Neosho finishers include Brady Franklin (120) in fifth, Noah Reiboldt (126) eighth, Jacob Fry (160) 14th, and Caleb Elliot (195) 10th.
Neosho, the five-time defending Class 3 state champions who are currently ranked No. 1 in Class 3, returns home Tuesday for duals against Carthage and Webb City.
This was originally scheduled to be only the “Black and Blue Brawl” against Carthage, but the threat of inclement weather Thursday moved Webb City to Tuesday.
Now, that means Tuesday will be a 6 p.m. start with the following itinerary:
— National anthem.
— Moment of silence for Jason Box.
— JV matches.
— Homecoming coronation.
—Neosho vs. Carthage.
— 2017 state championship banner reveal.
— All-American sponsor recognitions.
— Singlet retirement recognition.
— Neosho vs. Webb City.
The Wildcats also host Carl Junction on Thursday night for Youth Night, a 6 p.m. start.
— The Seneca Indians finished third Saturday in Branson with 242.5 points, behind only Neosho and Bentonville.
The Indians had seven wrestlers finish in the top three: Levi Connelly (106) second, Max Roark (132) second, Dalton Hembree (138) third, Zane Cotten (145) third, Dayton Fields (152) second, Cole Hatfield (160) second, and Kale Schrader (195) second.
Connelly lost a 7-5 decision in the finals to Neosho’s Cayden Auch, but had won three matches by pins and one by a decision en route to the finals. He pinned Vian’s Braylen Rodgers in 42 seconds, McDonald County’s Christian Davidson in 1:03, and Camdenton’s Grant Garrett in 1:13, and won a 4-1 decision against Lee’s Summit’s Trevor Wishne.
Roark lost a 4-2 decision in the finals to Neosho’s Trenton Young, but pinned Branson’s James Miller in 1:02 and McDonald County’s Jaw Di in 45 seconds, won a 5-4 tiebreaker against Monett’s Elias Barrientos, and won a 8-7 decision against Smithville’s Blake Ackerman.
Fields was pinned by Smithville’s Nick Bollinger with just one second remaining in the third period of their championship match. Fields pinned all three opponents en route to the finals, Monett’s Josh Bahl in 3:13, Camdenton’s Ethan Harris in 56 seconds, and Neosho’s Alec Rothman in 1:28.
Hatfield (160) was pinned by Bentonville’s Nathan Desler in 3:19 in the finals. En route to the finals, Hatfield won a 8-7 decision against Carl Junction’s Jackson White and pinned Lee’s Summit’s carter Pikulski in 1:24, Smithville’s Zack Stanford in 1:16, and Fayetteville’s Robbie Woody in 38 seconds.
Schrader lost a 1-0 decision in the finals to Smithville’s Brian Boyd, but pinned McDonald County’s Brandon Andrew, Fayetteville’s Darby Fields in 22 seconds, and Monett’s Wesley Merriman in 3:41, and won a 8-1 decision against Union’s Haiden Meyer.
Hembree lost a 2-1 decision in the semifinals to Smithville’s Mitchell Bohlken, who earned the championship against Neosho’s Braxton Barnes. Hembree recovered with a 2-0 decision for third against Monett’s Gunnar Bradley. In earlier matches, Hembree pinned Ste. Genevieve’s Jacob Boyer in 1:43 and won a 14-2 major decision against Cassville’s Keaton Artherton.
Cotten was pinned by Ste. Genevieve’s Jared Humbolt in 1:54 in the first championship bracket match, then he rebounded with a 8-0 major decision against Neosho’s Jeremiah Larson for third. Cotten pinned Branson’s Alex Maldonado in 1:35, Lee’s Summit’s Caleb Schur in 1:03, and Camdenton’s Winton Neal in 48 seconds.
Other Seneca finishers include Cole Whitehead (113) 10th, Grant Smith (120) 14th, Jordan Ishimura (170) fifth, Skyleer Commons (182) sixth, Garret Babbitt (220) sixth, and Grant Durman (285) eighth.
The Indians host Joplin for Senior Night on Monday, an event originally moved from Thursday to Tuesday because of impending weather and then from Tuesday to Monday because of conflict using the new gymnasium, since the Seneca boys basketball team hosts Southwest on Tuesday.
Among the seniors honored are Roark and Hatfield.
— The McDonald County Mustangs, not at full strength, finished 14th overall Saturday with 53.5 points, led by first place finisher Oscar Ortiz at 113.
Ortiz earned first with a 12-5 decision against Neosho’s Kolton Sanders. En route to the finals, Ortiz won a 16-0 tech fall against Carl Junction’s Kevin Cox, pinned Union’s Luke Smith in 45 seconds, and then pinned Ste. Genevieve’s Nathan Geisner in 1:44.
Other McDonald County finishers include Christian Davidson (106) 10th, Jaw Di (132) 16th, Kevin Sackryas (152) eighth, Timber Teague (170) 16th, Wilson Menas (182) eighth, Brandon Andrew (195) 11th, and McCoy Ikosia (285) 11th.
Team results — Neosho 319, Bentonville 250.5, Seneca 242.5, Smithville 209, Marshfield 196, Monett 190.5, Ste. Genevieve 176, Carl Junction 164.5, Fayetteville 108.5, Camdenton 98.5, Union 89, Cassville 76.5, Branson 76, McDonald County 53.5, Vian 35, Lee’s Summit 33.5, Marshfield JV 26, Monett JV 19, Branson JV 15, Fayetteville JV 8, Carl Junction JV 6.5, Bentonville JV 4, Neosho JV 4, Smithville JV 4, Union JV 4, Camdenton JV 0.