By Michael Smith
With wins at the Lee’s Summit Holiday Invitational and the Suburban Conference Championship tournaments, Staley has proven its a team to look out for at the state tournament this year.
On Thursday, the Falcons had a tough challenge against one of Kansas City’s top programs, Kearney. Even against the stiff competition, Staley won in convincing fashion, topping the Bulldogs 50-20.
Staley’s Craig Omozeje (106) began the dual with a pin of Ethan McMullen. Then Staley’s Logan Burks (113), who is ranked No. 5 in Class 4 in his weight division according to the MissouriWrestling.com poll, was fresh off an individual tournament title at the Suburban Conference Championships last week. He continued his momentum with a pin of Trenden Rogers in 1:40.
Falcon 120-pounder Andy Lipp, who took second at the conference tournament, bounced back from that championship match with a pin in 32 seconds of Declan Cockran. Then No. 4-ranked Jacob Windsor (126) helped the Falcons go up 24-0 in the team score after jumping out to an 8-1 lead before hooking a cradle and pinning Joey Perdue in 2:11.
Kearney junior Eli Ashcroft (132), ranked No. 1 in Class 3, helped the Bulldogs stop the bleeding when he earned six takedowns to complete his 20-5 tech fall victory against Austin Marrah.
The Falcons’ Kolton Reis then helped his team extend the lead to 30-5 after he hooked a half nelson on Jadon Freestone and rolled him over for a pin in 1:10.
At 145, Kearney’s Garrett Deason, ranked No. 4, wrestled in his first match since he dislocated his kneecap in the Oak Grove Panther Classic on Jan. 9. He earned an impressive 8-2 win against Thomas Schrader, who has won two tournaments this season.
“Coming off an injury, I was wrestling a little bit sore,” Deason said. “I just took it slow and came back to practice (during rehab).”
No. 3-ranked Ben Locke, a senior, helped Kearney narrow the gap to 30-11 when he got two takedowns and an escape to defeat Josh Mormino 5-0. Then Staley junior David Brooks, ranked No. 3, executed his normal gameplan to near perfection. In his matches, Brooks likes to aim for tech falls by scoring multiple takedowns and letting his opponents up for escapes.
He did just that against Will Locke, getting a whopping 12 takedowns for the win.
“I am not really good on top or bottom,” Brooks said, “so I just try to stay on my feet and get as many takedowns as I can.”
Staley’s Kaden Trickey (170) helped push his team’s lead to 38-11 when he escaped with a 10-8 win over Daryn Langford after giving up a takedown and a near fall late in the match. After that, Falcons freshman sensation Dai’mont Mucker (182), ranked No. 4, almost got taken down on three different occasions against Jak Gist.
He managed to keep Gist from taking control for a takedown. He actually got one of his own, and after a near fall, used a hammerlock to roll Gist onto his back and get a pin in 3:01.
“I just have to work on my conditioning and not be lazy,” Mucker said. “After that, I’ll be good.”
Jack Sotffel (195) kept the Staley train rolling with a pin of Brennan Cole-Hendricks.
“”I thought I wrestled solid,” Stoffel said. “I tried to work some stuff in the match that I work on in practice. I am trying to get my technique right for state.”
Kearney ended the night with a pair of victories. Tucker Black (220) got an escape late in the third period as he hung on for a 4-3 victory against Bo Leatherman. Zach Olson (285) capped off the night by shooting the half and getting a pin of Tyler Shanks in just 20 seconds.
“I just tried to wrestle hard and keep my head in it even though we were down in the team score,” Olson said. “I just did everything I could.
“I kept my weight on him, pressured in and just rode him out.”