By Michael Smith
Independence, MO — On the Twitter page for the Mid-Buchanan wrestling team most tweets are followed with the hashtag #outworkem.
That is a motto that head coach Daniel Kountz’s Dragons have followed throughout the 2020-21 campaign.
At Wednesday’s Class 1 Missouri State High School Wrestling Championships, Mid-Buchanan outworked 54 other teams to win its first state championship in program history, totaling 181 points.
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Centralia took second (144 points), Brookfield was third (112) and Fatima took fourth (85.5).
After the tournament, parents of the wrestlers already had state championship T-shirts made and handed them out to the coaches and teammatesIt was a bold move, even with the Dragons being favorites to win it all most of the season.
“That was not my idea, I don’t like to think that way,” Kountz said. “My philosophy is you got to get the job done and you gotta earn it. But hey, I am happy to be wearing it now.
“This is my 16th or 17 year (coaching) and you never know when you’re going to have the opportunity to coach. We got a special group of kids. I am proud of them. It’s a rare opportunity to get to do this. The kids put in the work and got the job done.”
The Dragons were led by state champions Wade Stanton (182 pounds) and Creed Webster (195).
Other Dragons to earn a state medal by finishing in the top six were Ryer Coons (106, fourth), Clancey Woodward (113, second), Butch Walters (138, fifth), Colton Kirkham (152, third), Chase Davidson (160, third), Denton Biller (170, third) and Seth Cruz (285, fourth).
Below is a summary of how each weight classes ended up:
106: Coming into the state tournament, St. Michael The Archangel Catholic didn’t have a state medalist in the four-year history of it’s program. That all changed Wednesday when Lucas Barry, ranked No. 3 according to the MissouriWrestling.com poll, upset No. 1-ranked Cody Strope of Fatima 4-1 to take first place. He also pinned Palmyra’s Kaden Crane, ranked No. 2, in the semifinals.
“I knew what I had to do to get first,” Barry said. “I had to do it for my school.
“In my first match (against Strope), I got caught. In this match, I stayed out of ties and cleared his ties and I got to my shots. I was very aggressive and I was moving, and I did OK on top. I would have liked to have got the pin, but I still got a near fall.”
Crane rebounded to take third after his loss to Barry. He pinned Mid-Buchanan’s Ryder Coons in 32 seconds. In the fifth-place match, Weston Ward earned a 12-1 decision against Knob Noster freshman Levi Wilhelm.
1st: Lucas Barry, St. Michael The Archangel
2nd: Cody Strope, Fatima
3rd: Kaden Crane, Palmyra
4th: Ryder Coons, Mid-Buchanan
5th: Weston Ward, Centralia
6th: Levi Welheim, Knob Noster
113: After finishing second in the 106-pound weight class at state last season, Centralia sophomore didn’t settle for that same place in a different division in 2021. The No. 1-ranked Dubes pinned No. 6-ranked Woodward in 1:39 during the championship match to claim first place.
“I started out slow, but I was able to turn it around,” Dubes said of his championship match.
No. 4-ranked Daylen Greene lost by a second-period fall to Dubes in the semifinals, but came back to win third by edging out No. 5-ranked Lane Kimberly of North Callaway. Trenton sophomore Hunter McAtee, ranked No. 2, took fifth after pinning Kannen Wilson of Versailles in the consolation championship.
1st: Brayden Dubes, Centralia
2nd: Clancey Woodward, Mid-Buchanan
3rd: Daylen Greene, Holden
4th: Lane Kimbley, North Callaway
5th: Hunter McAtee, Trenton
6th: Kannen Wilson, Versailles
120: After falling short of a state championship in his first three seasons at Fatima, senior Jason Strope, ranked No. 2, finally got his first-place medal after earning a 3-2 decision against Butler’s Ryan Baker in the finals. He also edged Centralia’s Jesse Shannon 2-1 in the semifinals.
“The takedown I got inside the out-of-bounds line really sealed it,” Strope said. “I was riding him the entire second period.”
Shannon bounced back in the third-place match, winning 6-2 against No. 5-ranked Conner Teat of Richmond. No. 1-ranked Dawson Fansher of North Andrew took fifth after getting a 17-0 tech fall victory against Holden’s Logan Yoder.
1st: Jason Strope, Fatima
2nd: Ryan Baker, Butler
3rd: Jesse Shannon, Centralia
4th: Conner Teat, Richmond
5th: Dawson Fansher, North Andrew
6th: Logan Yoder, Holden
126: Fatima senior Lucas Laux, ranked No. 1, got to have a moment with Strope as both got the rare opportunity to win state titles at the same time. Their matches finished virtually within 1 second of each other as Laux earned his own 3-2 victory against Sam Wilhelm, ranked No. 3. of Knob Noster in the finals. It was his second state title of his career.
“Jason and I have been together wrestling since we were little kids,” Laux said. “For us to both come here and win in our senior year is insane.”
No. 2-ranked Drew Stanfield of St. Michael took third after dropping a 3-1 decision in the semifinals before bouncing back with a 6-3 win against Palmyra’s Brayden Stevens in the third-place bout. Conner Quinn of Marceline took fifth after getting a third-period pin against Brookfields’s Gambal Staddie in the consolation championship.
1st: Lucas Laux, Fatima
2rd: Sam Wilhelm, Knob Noster
3rd: Drew Stanfield, St. Michael The Archangel
4th: Brayden Stevens, Palmyra
5th: Conner Quinn, Marceline
6th: Gambal Staddie, Brookfield
132: Palmyra sophomore Collin Arch, ranked No. 1, won his second state title in as many years and finished the season undefeated at 20-0 after earning a 11-2 major decision against Gavynn Carpenter, ranked No. 2, of Hallsville.
“It feels great to win another state title and just being out here with my teammates,” Arch said. “We had three other placers on our team, it was crazy.”
No. 3-ranked Brice Gibler of Trenton took third after losing by fall in the semifinals to Carpenter then rebounding for a 6-3 win against Maysville’s Brendan Barton in the third-place match. Brookfield freshman Colton parn took fifth after edging Elijah Sanders of Richmond 2-1 in the ultimate tiebreaker.
1st: Collin Arch, Palmyra
2nd: Gavynn Carpenter, Hallsville
3rd: Brice Gibler, Trenton
4th: Bendan Barton, Maysville
5th: Colton Parn, Brookfield
6th: Elijah Sanders, Richmond
138: Brookfield senior Donovan Parn, ranked No. 1, finished his career with a 44-0 undefeated season and capped it off with a 10-4 victory against Bdendin Patrick, ranked No. 2, in the title bout of his weight class. In 2020, Parn finished second at 132.
“It felt great,” Parn said. “Second place sucks. It’s the first loser.It feels good to get back on top.
No. 3-ranked Centralia sophomore Kyden Wilkerson finished third after losing by fall to Parn in the semifinals then bouncing back to take third with a first-period pin of Lafayette County senior Quintin Reickard. Mid-Buchanan senior Butch Walters finished his career with a fifth-place medal after pinning Xavier Lane of Brentwood in the first period.
1st: Donovan Parn, Brookfield
2nd: Brendin Patrick, Butler
3rd: Kyden Wilerson, Centralia
4th: Quentin Reickard, Lafayette County
5th: Butch Walters, Mid-Buchanan
6th: Xavier Lane, Brentwood
145: Lawson senior Tyler Leonard, ranked No. 1, not only finished his high school career undefeated at 29-0, he became a two-time state champion after earning a 22-7 tech fall victory against unranked Joshua Bieser of Valle Catholic.
No. 2-ranked Centralia sophomore Brayden Shelton dropped a 4-3 decision to Leonard in the semifinals, but ended up taking third after pinning Brookfield junior Jaden Abongo. Gallatin sophomore Draven Wright took fifth following a 15-3 major decision against Versailles junior Alex Radefeld.
1st; Tyler Leonard, Lawson
2nd: Joshua Bieser, Valle Catholic
3rd: Bayden Shelton, Centralia
4th: Jaden Abongo, Brookfield
5th: Draven Wright, Gallatin
6th: Alex Radefeld, Versailles
152: No. 1-ranked Conner Johnston of Knob Noster got his first state title of his career following a 5-0 win against No. 2-ranked Gallatin junior Rondell Speery in the title bout. Mid-Buchanan’s Colton Kirkham, ranked No. 3, took third after a 6-1 victory against Shyne Tucker of Lift for Life. In the fifth place match, Lawson’s Norman Sizemore pinned Blake Wiles of Fatima in 4:02.
1st: Conner Johnston, Knob Noster
2nd: Rodell Sperry, Gallatin
3rd: Colton Kirkham, Mid-Buchanan
4th: Shyne Tucker, Lift for Life
5th: Norman Sizemore, Lawson
6th: Blake Wiles, Fatima
160: No. 1-ranked Cole Ritter of Adrian proved why he was deserving of his top ranking. He finished the season at 40-0 and capped off his season and high school career with a 5-0 decision against No. 3-ranked Lawson junior Tanner Leonard. Ritter, a senior, placed third in his other three state tournament appearances.
“This is something I have been waiting for my whole life,” Ritter said. “I put in a lot of work this season and got what I wanted out of it.”
No. 2-ranked Chase Davidson fell to Ritter by a 12-2 major decision in the semifinals, but was able to bounce back to take third following a pin in 2;03 against Versailles’ Kyle Flieger. In the fifth-place bout, North Callaway sophomore Eli Henry pinned Brentwood’s Cody Hughes in the consolation championship.
1st: Cole Ritter, Adrian
2nd: Tanner Leonard, Lawson
3rd: Chase Davidson, Mid-Buchanan
4th: Kyle Flieger, Versailles
5th: Eli Henry, North Callaway
6th: Cody Hughes, Brentwood
170: Father Tolton Catholic’s Brant Whitaker, ranked No. 1, said his license plate says “leg rider” on it because he always wanted to be one. He is one and showed why against No. 2-ranked Hunter Nelson of Marceline. He controlled Nelson from the top position for the majority of the match and ended up with a dominant 16-2 major decision to capture his third state title and second undefeated season.
“It feels awesome,” Whitaker exclaimed following his first-place match. “I’ve been here before and it never ceases to prevail on my emotions. This is the best competition in the state. It’s always awesome to be here.”
After falling to Whitaker by fall in the semifinals, Mid-Buchanan sophomore Denton Biller rebounded for a 10-0 major decision against Brookfield’s Trent Polley in the third-place match. For fifth place, Adrian senior Trevor Thompson earned his first state medal following a 3-1 win against South Callaway’s Eli Benningfield.
1st: Brant Whitaker, Father Tolton Catholic
2nd: Hunter Nelson, Marceline
3rd: Denton Biller, Mid-Buchanan
4th: Trent Polley, Brookfield
5th: Trevor Thompson, Adrian
6th: Eli Benningfield, South Callaway
182: No. 1-ranked Mid-Buchanan sophomore Wade Stanton was wearing a different wrestling singlet form his teammates. His singlet was red while his teammates were wearing green. That’s because he was wearing his dad’s singlet from when he wrestled as a Dragon. Stanton had never lost while wearing the retro singlet, and that trend continued when he worked a reversal and got a pin against Carrollton’s Noah Frank, ranked No. 4 in the finals.
“I never lost in this, so I figured I’d wear it,” Stanton said. “I knew (Frank) was going to throw legs in and I practiced defending against that all week. As soon as he threw it, I slipped up, grabbed his head, and got him onto his back.”
In the third-place bout, No. 2-ranked Landon Clement edged No. 5-ranked Christopher Bryant of Missouri Military Academy 3-2 in an ultimate tiebreaker. Brookfield senior Dawson Baker took fifth after getting a pin in 2:38 against Butler’s Isaac Rodriguez.
1st: Wade Stanton, Mid-Buchanan
2nd: Noah Frank, Carrollton
3rd: Landon Clement, Diamond
4th: Christopher Bryant, Missouri Military Academy
5th: Dawson Baker, Brookfield
6th: Isaac Rodriguez, Butler
195: Mid-Buchanan senior Creed Webster ended his high school career on a high note. After falling short of a state title his first three years, he finally got one this year as the No. 1-ranked Dragon earned a 3-0 decision against No. 4 ranked Trey Graves of El Dorado Springs in the title match.
“It is a really great feeling,” Webster said. “And to top it all off, we got the team title, too. I’d like to say I am more excited about the team title, really. Doing stuff by yourself is fun, but being able to win as a team, that’s an awesome feeling.”
No. 2-ranked Ryker Plymell of Richmond took third after losing 7-3 to Webster in the semifinals before bouncing back with a 3-1 win against No. 5-ranked Blayke Kolb of Maysville. In the fifth-place match, Centralia’s Hunter Phillips pinned Garrett Pair of Lawson.
1st: Creed Webster, Mid-Buchanan
2nd: Trey Graves, El Dorado Springs
3rd: Ryker Plymell, Richmond
4th: Blayke Kolb, Maysville
5th: Hunter Phillips, Centralia
6th: Garrett Pair, Lawson
220: No. 1-ranked Jonah Frank of Carrollton took first-place after earning a 5-1 decision against unranked Brookfield senior Trace Alexander in the finals.
“It feels great and exciting,” Frank said. “I am tired and worn out. It was fun.”
No. 3-ranked Caleb Johnson of Trenton took third after pinning Diamond’s Tyler May. Luke Triplett finished fifth after a 2-1 decision against Sam Lynn of Centralia in the consolation finals.
1st: Jonah Frank, Carrollton
2rd: Trace Alexander, Brookfield
3rd: Caleb Johnson, Trenton
4th: Tyler May, Diamond
5th; Luke Triplett, Palmyra
6th: Sam Lynn, Centralia
285: No. 1-ranked Cole Gripka of Maysville pinned No. 3-ranked Seth Hasekamp of Centralia in 1:14 to win his second state championship of high school career. He might have won a state title, but he lost a bet with a friend in North Dakota. They made a bet to see who could get the fastest pin in their respective championship matches. Gripka’s friend got his in 21 seconds.
“I thought, ‘I think I can top that. I am going to try real hard,’” Gripka said. “And I fell a little short of that. I went out there like “I was going to get it. I figured I’d throw everything I had at him on offense to try and get it.”
No. 2-ranked Quazavion Jackson took third after losing to Gripka by pin in the semifinals and bouncing back for a 3-2 decision against Mid-Buchanan’s Seth Cruz in the third-place match. Lafayette County’s Kelan Ernst took fifth after getting a second-period pin against Brookfield’s Peyton Armstrong in the consolation championship.
1st: Cole Gripka, Maysville
2nd: Seth Hasekamp, Centralia
3rd: Quazavion Jackson, Central New Madrid County
4th: Seth Cruz, Mid-Buchanan
5th: Kelan Ernst, Lafayette County
6th: Peyton Armstrong, Brookfield