Liberty Wrestling Shows Strength in Numbers, Dominates Despite Missing Stars

Liberty didn’t have their entire varsity lineup compete in the annual George Hoover Invitational Saturday at Liberty High School, but that didn’t stop it from dominating.

The Blue Jays were missing key ranked wrestlers including Cade Dunn (113, No. 4), Roman Stewart (132, No. 4), Trey Craig (157, No. 1), Isaiah Hung (215, No. 4) and Trenton Bindel (285, No. 2).

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Even with all of that talent absent, the deep and talented Blue Jays team still took first place with 256 points. Capital City was second with 200.5 and Liberty North was third with 160.5.

The Blue Jays had a whopping seven wrestlers take first place, including No. 1-ranked and two-time state champion Hunter Taylor (120 pounds). His lightning quick single leg takedowns were too much for his opponents and he had three pins and ended his day with a 17-4 major decision against No. 3-ranked Zac Bleess of Grain Valley. 

“My shots are really fast but I also feel like I time them very well,” Taylor said. 

No. 1-ranked Devon Harrison (126) showed why he is a contender for a state championship as he pinned his way to the championship where he was supposed to wrestle No. 3-ranked Gavin Parks, but the Eagles senior had to bow out via medical forfeit as Harrison took first.

Liberty freshman Gavin Shelton (106) only had to wrestle one match to take first place in a near-empty bracket. He dominated in the bout, winning by a 15-0 tech fall against Gauge Meyr.

“I did pretty good at getting to my cross wrists,” Shelton said. “I got my armbar and roll through tilts. My grip is pretty good so most people can’t get out of it.”

Like Shelton, Liberty senior Peatro Davis Jr. (144), had a unique situation in his bracket. That’s because he had to wrestle teammate Carson Rodick in the finals. He got a pin in 1:57 to earn his spot atop the podium…

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Written by Michael Smith

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