By Michael Smith
The Staley wrestling team is one which always seems to be in the conversation when talking about teams that could win the state title.
But the 2020-2021 season was a little bit different if you ask assistant coach Brock Lowe.
“I think a lot of people coming into this season, if you asked people around the state, didn’t have that same expectation (of Staley competing for a state title),” Lowe said.
If that’s the case, Saturday’s Suburban Conference Championship tournament may have swayed their opinion.
Staley dominated the tournament by totaling 488 points to take the team championship. Liberty North was second (385 points), Raymore-Peculiar was third (357) and Lee’s Summit was fourth (339).
The tournament was split between two locations. Wrestlers in the 106-145 pound weight class wrestled at Staley High School and those in the 152-285 pound weight class wrestled at Oak Park High School.
The Falcons had five competitors win their weight class and three others finish in the top three. Those who won included Logan Burks (113), Jacob Windsor (126), Thomas Schrader (145), David Brooks (160) and Dai’mont Mucker (182). Andy Lipp (120) and Jack Stoffel (195) placed second and Austin Marrah (132) took third for Staley.
Below is a breakdown of the winners of each weight class:
106: Liberty North sophomore Michael Domino, who is ranked No. 5 in Class 4 according to the MissouriWrestling.com poll, improved to 24-2 after an 8-2 decision over Park Hill South sophomore Dylan Taylor. Domino Got a takedown in the first period before seizing control with a reversal and a near fall in the second.
“Those two loses have kept me focused inside the room and outside,” Domino said. “I faced some tough and strong kids, but I just got to go out there and do what it takes to get on top of that podium.
“I think I wrestled pretty good. My offense was pretty good. I think I could have got off bottom in the third period but we just have to keep getting my conditioning up.”
113: No. 4-ranked Burks of Staley faced off against Fort Osage freshman Rylan Mansfield, who came into the match with a 10-0 record. Burks ended up controlling the match from start to finish, jumping out to a 6-0 lead in the first two periods before placing first following an 8-1 decision.
Mansfield made it to the championship match after defeating Class 3, No. 5-ranked Antonio Rizzi of Belton 1-0 in the semifinals.
Burks battled a foot infection that has been bothering him, which has gone up to his lymph node in his groin. But he still managed to win all four of his matches and come out on top.
“I came into the tournament with not a lot of practices because of the foot and stuff,” Burks said. “I watched some film and knew I had some very tough guys (to wrestle). I worked my butt off and worked my moves.”
120: Unbeaten Lane Cross (13-0) of Belton had a tough test against Lipp. He overcame a 2-0 deficit to win the championship bout 9-4. After Cross took a 6-2 lead going into the third, he was able to ride Lipp on top for the first 1:30 of the match and held on for the win.
“He was a tough opponent. He was strong,” Cross said of Lipp. “It was a great match. I was just trying to get some near fall points and come out high enough to give him the reversal.”
126: Windsor, ranked No. 5 in Class 4, got quick pins in his first three matches before earning a 10-3 decision against previously unbeaten Coleston Tunstill (17-1) of Oak Park. It was a struggle for Windsor to get takedowns at some points in the match but was able to control Tunstill for most of the match and pick up the win.
There were a few points in the match when it appeared Tunstill would get a takedown on Windsor, but the Staley junior managed to turn attempts at a takedown from his opponent, into takedowns of his own.
“I kind of like defense better than offense,” said Windsor, who improved to 16-3. “Any time someone gets my leg, I am comfortable in that situation.
“I think I did pretty good. I had a few tough kids here and there. The last match was the toughest. I just went out there with the same mindset and got it done.”
132: In a marquee matchup between two former state champions and two No. 1-ranked competitors, Blue Springs senior Korbin Shepherd put on a defensive clinic and earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Kearney junior Eli Ashcroft, who suffered just his second loss of the season. It appeared Ashcroft had a handful of opportunities to take down Shepherd, but the senior managed to stay off his back. Shepherd won with an escape in the third period.
“There are things I could have done better,” said Shepherd, who improved to 15-0. “That match was too close for the caliber of wrestler that I am. But hats off to Eli. He’s an amazing wrestler. I knew it was going to be a scrap and it was going to be fun. I will face him again at a home dual, and I look forward to expanding the gap.”
138: Lee’s Summit North junior Trey Robinson came close to giving No. 6-ranked Jacob Quest of Raymore-Peculiar his first loss of the season. Robinson almost got a takedown at the end of the first. The official initially ruled a takedown before waving it off as the buzzer sounded as it appeared Robinson didn’t have full control of Quest.
Quest got a reversal in the second period before he was hit with a penalty and Robinson got an escape in the third to tie it at 2 apiece. However, Quest came up clutch with a takedown with 7 seconds left and Robinson got a last second escape as the Ray-Pec senior escaped with a 4-3 win to improve to 22-0.
During the match, Quest had to take a pair of injury timeouts. He suffered an abdomen injury on one and his right hand was bleeding on the other. Even while banged up, he managed to pull off a gutsy victory.
“I have a massive headache, my knee hurts, but I still came out with the dub (win),” Quest said. “I wrestle some big kids at practice. These 38s are nothing to me. I wrestle 152s day in and day out. My partner is the same build as Trey. Tall and lanky. I am used to it.”
145: Schrader had to battle some doubt in his mind when wrestling his championship match against Lee’s Summit North senior Javi Gutierrez. Although Schrader admitted he had some doubts that he could win, he still pulled off a 4-0 victory.
“I gassed out in certain matches and didn’t wrestle as well as I wanted to,” Schrader said. “I put it in a standpoint that I can do better every single time. That last match was about my mental (state). I kept looking at him and thought, ‘He looks like a grown man. He’s going to destroy me today.’ And then I put my headgear on and got locked in my zone. You just have to go out there and wrestle and do what you can.”
152: Ray-Pec junior Kaden Huff, ranked No. 5 in Class 4, rolled to the finals before facing Class 3, No. 2 ranked Ben Locke of Kearney in the championship. He breezed through that match, too, getting a pin in 1:54 to take a first-place medal. Locke defeated Class 3, No. 4-ranked Jesse Newton 5-2 in the semifinals.
160: Brooks, ranked No. 4 in the Class 4 152-pound weight class, navigated his way through a tough bracket to defeat Class 4, No. 5-ranked Jaxson McIntyre of Blue Springs 13-5 in the finals to take first place. Brooks also topped Fort Osage senior Jeremiah Phillips, who is ranked No. 5 in the Class 3, 160-pound weight division, 29-13 in the semifinals.
McIntyre was able to pin Class 3, No. 4 ranked Luca Riley of Belton in 3:19 in the semifinals.
170: Oak Park junior Paul Hernandez, ranked No. 5 in Class 4, continued his dominant season, improving to 33-0 after a pin in 4:58 against Belton’s Zach Attebury in the finals. Hernandez got pins in his first three matches, as well.
182: Class 4, No. 6 ranked Mucker faced a tough bracket that featured No. 5-ranked Lucas Oitker of Oak Park, previously ranked Coleton McElliott of Ray-Pec and Class 3, No. 6-ranked at 195 Mason Walters of William Chrisman. Mucker faced off against McElliott in the championship and got a fall in 2:55 to take first. McElliott beat Walters 9-0 in the semifinals and Mucker avenged a loss to Oitker from earlier in the season, winning 3-1 in the semifinals.
195: Fort Osage junior David Jacquez got by No. 4-ranked Aaron Barnhill of Lee’s Summit North in the semifinals due to an injury forfeit. That cleared the way for him to face Stoffel in the championship match. Jacquez won 4-1 to take first.
220: Class 4, No. 1-ranked Xavier Doolin of North Kansas City rolled through his competition to improve to 28-0 after pinning Blue Springs South’s Tommy LaPour in 42 seconds in the finals. Doolin got all four of his pins in the first round.
285: Class 4, No. 6-ranked Brock Sullivan of Blue Springs earned a hard-fought 3-2 tiebreaker win over Armand Membou of Lee’s Summit North before earning another tiebreaker victory 2-1 against North’s Trevor Taylor in the championship match. Taylor upset Class 3, No. 2-ranked Stevie Gabb of Fort Osage with a pin in 1:43 in the semifinals.