By Michael Smith
Oak Park will have quite a bit of momentum heading into the Suburban Conference Tournament this weekend.
That’s because the Northmen flat out dominated Park Hill South on Wednesday in a dual, losing only one match in a 78-6 drubbing of the Panthers at Park Hill South High School.
South, however, was ravaged by injuries, illness and even three seniors who graduated early and are no longer with the team.
“(The seniors) were all captains on the team,” Panthers interim head coach Corey Sterling said, who is taking for Dan Dunkin who is out due to health issues. “We’re scrambling a little bit right now.
“There’s a lot of holes in the lineup. We are trying to work in some younger guys (into the lineup) and see who fits.”
The Panthers only win came from Dylan Taylor (116) who pinned Adrian Aguirre in 2:37.
The rest of the meet was all Oak Park. Paul Hernandez, ranked No. 5 in Class 4 according to the MissouriWrestling.com poll, used a unique takedown to eventually get a pin Roger Guillory in 2:30. The Oak Park junior faked like he was going to grab Guillory’s upper body then swam under to get a throw for a takedown.
“I definitely wanted to work some of my takedowns, so I chose neutral in the second period,” Hernandez said. “I started using his momentum against him and everything just worked out. He was a strong, tough kid.
“He was really aggressive and was pushing into me a lot. “I went for a duck under, but when I did, he dropped all the way down on his heels, and I was able to adjust and push him forward using his own body weight and secure the pin.”
Coleton Tunstill (126) was another Northmen wrestler to get a pin. He dominated the match, going up 7-0 before getting a third takedown and he pressed his upper body down onto Connor Detty for the pin 3:24.
“It was a good match,” Tunstill said. “I wrestled him before and it was closer last time. I was finally able to get a pin on him. I have really been working on improving up top and getting pins.”
Like Tunstill, Oak Park senior Tristan Supernaw (106) was familiar with his opponent Connor Jackson. He ended up dominating the match, going up 11-4 before hooking a cradle and getting a pin late in the second period.
“I like to go to the front head stuff and work that a lot,” Supernaw said. “I am stronger than a lot of the other 106ers since I am a senior. I just like to overpower them a lot.”
Added Oak Park head coach Jacob Oberfoell: “This is only his second year wrestling. He started last year. It’s nice to see him evolve his wrestling a little bit, too. He’s got more tools now than he did last year.”
In the other matches, Taye Stapleton (195) won by forfeit; Josh Gant (220) went up 6-0 against Jacob Hicks in 1:46; Gavin Turner (285) won by forfeit; Jake Falder (120) won by forfeit; Jacob Wooten (132) locked Mohamed Ali into a half nelson and turned him over for a pin in 2:58;Kael Davis(138) won by forfeit; Lucas Cunningham (145) was down 4-2 to Kavan Slater before he got a reversal and a pin in 3:47; Logan Linard (152) pinned MitchellMitchell Drumright in 45 seconds; Karl Knack (160) won by forfeit; and No. 5-ranked Lucas Oitker pinned AShton Kuhn in 1:22.
“Our hard work is starting to pay off,” Oberfoell said. “We’re using some moves out there that we work on in the room. It’s good to see things come full circle for us.
“Lucas Cunningham is someone we are trying to get in there. He stepped up big tonight.”
And after seeing a strong performance from his team, Oberfoell has some high hopes for his team when the postseason comes around.
“I am hoping (to finish in the top 10 as a team at the Missouri State High School Wrestling Championships),” he said. “I want to push as many through (to state) as I can. We’re going to adapt and overcome and go from there.”