MONETT — The inaugural Big 8 Conference wrestling tournament came down to bonus points and the Seneca Indians had one more bonus point than host Monett to make the claim on the historic title Friday.
Seneca and Monett combined for 13 wrestlers in the finals — Seneca went 4-1 in the finals with a pair of pins and Monett finished 4-4 in the finals with only a single pin and one major decision.
Seneca finished with 344 points and Monett 343. The schools combined to have 18 all-conference wrestlers (Monett 10, Seneca 8).
The Indians' great eight all-conference wrestlers: Levi Connelly (106 pounds) first, Kendon Pollard (113) first, Gabriel Commons (132) third, Dalton Hembree (145) first, Zane Cotten (152) second, Dayton Fields (160) first, Gabe Smith (170) third, and Skyleer Commons (195) third.
Connelly won a 8-1 decision against Logan-Rogersville's Preston Sleeth in the finals and he pinned McDonald County's Ryan Donica in 20 seconds and Marshfield's Damian Dockery in 55 seconds in his earlier matches.
Pollard pinned all four opponents, McDonald County's Eh Doh Say in 3:11 in the finals and Nevada's Lane Brooks in 1:08, Monett's Ty McCully in 2:00, and Cassville's Gavin Moore in 35 seconds en route to the finals.
Hembree won a 7-3 decision against Marshfield's Will Snider in the finals and racked up three wins by pin en route to the title, taking down Logan-Rogersville's Keaton Christian in 1:38, McDonald County's Junior Teriek in 1:03, and Monett's Corbin McCully in 1:47.
Fields pinned all three opponents, Marshfield's Jordon Irwin in 5:10 in the finals and Nevada's Gauge Boyd in 2:41 and Reeds Spring's Cayden Love in 49 seconds.
Although Cotten lost a 12-3 major decision in the finals against Monett's Gunnar Bradley, Cotten won his first three matches by pin, taking down Nevada's Brock Marquardt in 35 seconds, Reeds Spring's Evan Wilson in 2:00, and Marshfield's Isaiah Ragsdale in 3:06.
Gabriel Commons won four of his five matches by pin, in 2:43 against McDonald County's Jordan Meador for third and in 3:01 against Logan-Rogersville's Kit Farran, in 1:34 against Cassville's Ethan Fuchs, and in 3:04 against Marshfield's Braeden Brooks.
All of Smith's three victories came by pin, Nevada's Gage Morris in 2:45 for third and Logan-Rogersville's Ryland Hacker in 35 seconds and Marshfield's Wyatt Wilsey in 1:53 in earlier matches.
Skyleer Commons pinned Cassville's Nate Boley in 2:37 for third.
Each wrestler in Seneca's lineup of 13 came through with at least one pin: Clayton Swadley (120) had two, Cole Whitehead (126) one, Dane Napier (138) one, Jakob Tate (220) three, and Grant Durman (285) one.
Meanwhile, Oscar Ortiz (126), Eh Doh Say (113), and Jack Teague (160) each earned all-conference honors for McDonald County. Additionally, Jordan Meador (132), Junior Teriek (145), Jesus Ocampo (182), and Jarred Maggard (220) each placed fourth.
Ortiz won the conference's inaugural most outstanding wrestler prize.
Ortiz, now 37-3 on the season, won McDonald County's first conference title with a 9-7 sudden victory against Monett's Matthew Bahl. Ortiz has the distinction of being McDonald County's first state champion wrestler, first conference champion wrestler, and first most outstanding wrestler. En route to the finals, Ortiz pinned Springfield Catholic's Evan Kilmer in 57 seconds and Seneca's Cole Whitehead in 3:35.
Say finished second and reached the finals by pinning Marshfield's Raymond Moore in 2:00 and winning a 16-11 decision against Reeds Spring's Tyler Nance.
Teague pinned Reeds Spring's Cayden Love in 1:38 for third, a strong rebound for Teague after a tough semifinal loss to Marshfield's Irwin. Teague pinned Logan-Rogersville's Gage Meadors in 32 seconds, Monett's Jordan Withnell in 2:43, and Cassville's Brody Barbee in 1:28 in his first three matches.
McDonald County placed fifth in the team standings.
Seneca returns to action Tuesday in a home dual against Cassville and the Indians host their annual tournament beginning Friday. The field includes Adrian, Bentonville, Blair Oaks, Cassville, Clinton, Diamond, Richmond, Rogers Heritage, Seneca, Springdale, Springdale Har-Ber, and Versailles.
McDonald County takes on Carthage and Marshfield on Thursday.
Big 8 Conference Tournament
at Monett High School
Team scores — Seneca 344, Monett 343, Marshfield 286.5, Logan-Rogersville 278.5, McDonald County 196.5, Reeds Spring 196, Nevada 165, Cassville 112, Hollister 43, Springfield Catholic 28.
Individual champions — 106, Levi Connelly, Seneca. 113, Kendon Pollard, Seneca. 120, Karter Brink, Monett. 126, Oscar Ortiz, McDonald County. 132, Joseph Semerad, Monett. 138, Jay Strausbaugh, Logan-Rogersville. 145, Dalton Hembree, Seneca. 152, Gunnar Bradley, Monett. 160, Dayton Fields, Seneca. 170, Clayton Johnson, Reeds Spring. 182, Clay Wilson, Marshfield. 195, Wesley Merriman, Monett. 220, Barrett Beaird, Logan-Rogersville. 285, Caleb Longobardi, Nevada.
Most Outstanding Wrestler: Oscar Ortiz, McDonald County.
Coach of the Year: Daryl Bradley, Monett.