Before the Class 1, District 3 wrestling tournament began Friday night in Lexington, Richmond Coach Ken Simmons was hoping to take eight Spartans to the state meet that begins Thursday morning in Columbia. Simmons missed his goal by one, but was still somewhat pleased with the runner-up team finish.
Two Spartans, both sophomores, captured district titles with Chris McFall at 119 pounds, and Reny Reis at 135, while two more, senior Preston Maples at 125, and sophomore Colby Bowles at 189 finished second. Two other Spartan sophomores were third with Kane Southwick at 152, and T.J. Kirkham at 160, while Tyre Winfrey, a junior, finished fourth at 215.
“I was hoping for eight guys to get through,” Simmons said. “I also thought we could have gotten six in the final, but we didn’t wrestle quite up to our abilities. I’m still proud of the effort. Everyone finished in the top six and that got us a runner-up district plaque with seven state qualifiers.”
The Spartans ended the two-day, 14-team tournament with 137 points, while Lexington took the district title with 183. The Minutemen qualified 10 wrestlers for state. Higginsville placed third with 115 points.
Reis will be making his second state tournament after his district title in the 135-pound bracket. He easily defeated Taylor Green of North Platte, 17-5 in the finals to improve to 32-12 for the season. Reis took a 10-2 decision over Higginsville’s Mitchell Green in the semifinals after opening with a first-round bye and a fall in 57 seconds over Brad Westfall of Lexington in the quarterfinals.
After just missing the state tournament last season, McFall bounced back to take the 119-pound title this weekend. He also drew a first-round bye, and then advanced to the finals with falls over Brandon Crowley of West Platte (3:52) in the quarterfinals, and Lathrop’s Bryant Krauth (1:24) in the semifinals. McFall, now 34-12, then battled his way past Dallas Lamphier of Lexington in the title match by a 9-8 decision.
Two other Spartans made the finals with Maples coming up on the short end of a 15-1 decision to Plattsburg’s Brett Stevenson in the finals. After drawing a first-round bye, the Richmond senior, now 25-20, won by fall in 32 seconds over Alshanfari Haitham of Wentworth and then advanced to the finals with a 15-10 decision over Matthew Hollingsworth of Lexington.
Bowles will be making his second state tournament appearance after finishing as runner-up in a tough finals battle at 189. Bowles and the defending state champion, Devin Mellon of Lawson, hooked up in the championship match with the Cardinal taking a 6-5 thriller. Bowles advanced to the title match after a bye in the first round and a fall over Joe Wishon of West Platte in 1:59. He then defeated Dean Manning of Lexington in the semifinals by a fall in 3:23. Bowles will take a 37-8 record to Columbia.
“Reny looked good and Chris held on to an exciting match to claim a championship in their weight classes,” Simmons said. “Colby wrestled well and if he hadn’t gotten a bad call, probably would have won the 189-pound division.”
Southwick continued his fine wrestling down the stretch to take third at 152. He lost by fall in the semifinals to Nathan Wilson of Lawson and then defeated Polo’s Lance Snodgrass for the second time during the weekend, 6-0, in the third-place match. After drawing a first-round bye, Southwick stopped Snodgrass 6-3 in the quarterfinals before falling in the semifinals. Southwick is 19-27 for the season.
Kirkham captured third place with a 5-4 decision over Austin Okorn of Polo to improve to 15-8 for the season. He began the weekend with a bye and then won by fall in 1:36 over Austin Temple of Van Horn. After an 11-2 semifinal loss to Alexander Attema of West Platte, Kirkham won by fall over Lawson’s Brady Moppin in 1:50 to advance to the third-place match.
Winfrey lost by fall in the third-place match to Curtis Miller of Lathrop. He followed his first-round bye with a 19-16 win over Andrew Chrisco of Lexington in the quarterfinals and then lost to eventual champion Jace Banner of Van Horn by technical fall in the semifinals. Winfrey then took just 41 seconds to defeat Sam Gomez of St. Mary’s to advance to the third-place match. Winfrey is 17-9.
Freshman Alex Luman just missed heading to Columbia when he lost a heartbreaker in the second-round of the consolation bracket. Luman was leading his 275-pound match with David Garrett of Bishop Hogan when he ended up losing by fall late in the third period. He had earlier defeated John Felten of Van Horn in 26 seconds before losing by fall in the semifinals to the eventual champion Nathan Hollingsworth of Lexington.
Spartan junior Jake Vandiver split his four matches at 130. He defeated Julian Basel of West Platte and Blake Chavez of Carrollton, but lost both meetings against T.J. Apple of Plattsburg.
Freshmen Savanna Nobile at 103, and Dalton Daily at 112, picked up one win each for the Spartans. Nobile defeated Ben Daughtery of Wentworth, 13-9, and Daily won his match by fall in 1:17 over Kenzie Olson of West Platte.
The state tournament begins at 10 a.m. Thursday at Mizzou Arena with the first round and first-round wrestlebacks. The three-day tournament continues on Friday at 9:30 a.m. and approximately 6 p.m. The final day gets underway Saturday at 10 a.m. followed by the third- and fifth-place matches at noon and the championship matches at 4 p.m.