By Michael Smith
INDEPENDENCE — Whitfield has been the gold standard of excellence when it comes to high school wrestling in Missouri in recent years
The Warriors had won four consecutive Class 1 state championships coming into the 2020-21 season and won nine since 2008. However, this season they were bumped up to Class 3, meaning they’d have to compete with bigger schools.
That did matter, though, as the Warriors totaled 182 points to capture their 10th state title in program history at the Class 3 Missouri State High School Wrestling Championships Friday at Cable Dahmer Arena.
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“I think we were ready for the challenge, accepted it and conquered it,” Whitfield head coach Charlie Sherertz said of his team’s jump to Class 3. “ Neosho is a great opponent and Hillsboro is up and coming. It’s going to be a war the next few years. I am going to enjoy it tonight because tomorrow I am going to be looking over my shoulder.”
Whitfield ended Neosho’s run of two consecutive state championships. The Wildcats took second with 148 points, Hillsboro was third with 91 and Lebanon was fourth with 78.
And Whitfield had challenges like every other team in Missouri combating COVID-19, but he noted St. Louis County was among the hardest hit in the state.
“We didn’t put our state lineup together until the district tournament,” Sherertz said. “We were wrestling without people all year. We needed a boot in the behind, but the kids rallied. St. Louis County is a tough place to be during COVID. The restrictions are crazy and the constant fear of being quarantined.”
Whitfield had five state champions including Porter Matecki (106), Alexander Rallo (113), Evan Binder (120), Gavin Linsman (126) and Keith Miley (220). Others to win medals for the Warriors were Chase Brock (182, second), Reese Callahan (170, fourth), Logan Ferrero (145, fifth) and Kobe Raeman (138, sixth).
Below is how each weight class turned out:
106: Porter Matecki, ranked No. 1 in his weight division according to the MissouriWrestling.com poll, controlled No. 2-ranked Raymond Hembree of Neosho from the top position and cruised to a 6-0 victory to stand atop the podium.
“It’s pretty cool,” Matecki said of winning a state title as a freshman. “I put a lot of hard work into it.”
Lebanon freshman Andrew Bowling, ranked No. 3, lost a 2-0 decision to Matecki in the semifinals before rebounding for a 6-0 decision against Festus’ Austin Neff in the third-place bout. In the fifth place match, Lukas Walker pinned Hillsboro’s Aidan Black in 1 minute.
1st: Porter Matecki, Whitfield
2nd: Raymond Hembree, Neosho
3rd: Andrew Bowling, Lebanon
4th: Austin Neff, Festus
5th: Lukas Walker, Carl Junction
6th: Aidan Black, Hillsboro
113: Whitfield sophomore AJ Rallo, ranked No. 1 is halfway to becoming a four-time state champion as he took his second state championship following a 12-0 major decision against McDonald County’s Blaine Ortiz in the finals.
“I just went out there and worked my stuff and didn’t worry about what he was doing,” Rallo said.
Webster Groves’ Alex Turley, ranked No. 4, upset No. 2-ranked Gavin Alexander of Hillsboro in the third-place match following a 3-1 decision. Hannibal freshman Tristen Essig took fifth place following a 6-4 victory against Dayton Boyd of Farmington.
1st: AJ Rallo, Whitfield
2nd: Blaine Ortiz, McDonald County
3rd: Alex Turley, Webster Groves
4th: Gavin Alexander, Hillsboro
5th: Tristen Essig, Hannibal
6th: Dayton Boys, Farmington
120: Whitfield junior Evan Binder, ranked No. 1 is now one state championship away from being another four-timer as he won his third following an 8-0 decision against Neosho senior Landon Kivett, ranked No. 4 in the finals.
“”It’s great to continue the grind and chase a fourth state title,” Binder said. “It would be amazing since we went up two classes and are wrestling schools five times bigger than us.”
No. 3-ranked Canon Roark of Lebanon fell to Binder in a 4-0 loss in the semifinal but bounced back to take third following a 8-6 decision against No. 2-ranked Colton King of DeSmet. In the fifth-place match, No. 5-ranked Kolby McClain of Smithville earned a 10-8 decision against Chad Culp of Hannibal.
1st: Evan Binder, Whitfield
2nd: Landon Kivett, Neosho
3rd: Canon Roark, Lebanon
4th: Colton King, DeSmet
5th: Kolby McClain, Smithville
6th: Chad Culp, Hannibal
126: No. 3-ranked Gavin Linsman capped off Whitfield’s run of four straight state champions to state the title bouts at the tournament. He took town No. 1-ranked Kyshin Isringhausen 9-4 in the finals to capture his first state title as a freshman.
“Don’t let up, I was going to do what I had to do,” Linsman said of going from feet to back on a takedown of Isringhausen. “Whatever I had to do, I will do it. Nothing was going to stop me.”
No. 5-ranked Jesse Hahs of DeSmet took third following an 8-2 win against Hillsboro’s Sam Richardson, ranked No. 6. Defending state champion and No. 2-ranked Christian Finley of Willard took fifth after earning a 4-2 decision against Smithville’s Alex Hutchcraft.
1st: Gavin Linsman, Whitfield
2nd: Kyshin Isringhausen, Branson
3rd: Jesse Hahs, DeSmet
4th: Sam Richardson, Hillsboro
5th: Christian Finley, Willard
6th: Alex Hutchcraft, Smithville
132: Kearney junior Eli Ashcroft, ranked No. 1, admits he didn’t think about becoming a four-time state champion when he entered the high school program. He can start doing that now after capturing his third title following a 12-6 win against Farmington’s Blake Cook, ranked No. 3, in the finals.
“It was good to get a win. I thought I was going to open up a little more,” Ashcroft said. “Props to him, he’s a good wrestler. He caught me for a couple of points there.
“Now that I have got my third championship as a junior, winning a fourth is on my mind.”
Nesho junior Hayden Crane, ranked No. 2, took third after losing to Ashcroft by tech fall in the semifinals and coming back for a 10-8 victory in the third-place bout against Ettien Rogers of Hazelwood East. Belton’s Brady Littleton took fifth after a 3-0 victory against Camden Pye in the consolation finals.
1st: Eli Ashcroft, Kearney
2nd: Blake Cook, Farmington
3rd: Hayden Crane, Neosho
4th: Ettien Rogers, Hazelwood East
5th: Brady Littleton, Belton
6th: Camden Pye, Rockwood Summit
State medalists: After getting second place as a freshman, Ladue Horton Watkins’ senior Jacob Mann, ranked No. 1, went on a run of winning three straight state championships to end his career. His latest one came after a 14-1 major decision against LJ Davenport, ranked No. 4. of Grandview.
“I wouldn’t be as great as I am without the support of my coaches and teammates,” Mann said. “I am just grateful to have their support and to be able to get better every single day.”
Camdenton senior Grant Garrett, who is top 10 in career wins all time in Missouri, took third after a 4-2 victory against Hillsboro’s Dalton Litzinger. In the fifth-place match, North County’s Chris Singleton pinned Whitfield’s Kobe Raeman in 4:07.
1st: Jacob Mann, Ladue Horton Watkins
2rd: LJ Davenport, Grandview
3rd: Grant Garrett, Camdenton
4th: Dalton Litzinger, Hillsboro
5th: Chris Singleton, North County
6th: Kobe Raeman, Whitfield
145: After falling short of a state title in his first three years of high school wrestling, Pacific senior Callum Sitek, ranked No. 1, finally got one following an 8-0 major decision against Eli Zar, ranked No. 6, of Neosho.
“It’s amazing, it goes with my work,” Callum said of winning his first state title. “From sophomore year, I was content to get to that final match. I didn’t wrestle that good. I amped it up, I started drilling and everything went exponential. That’s when everything took off.”
No. 2-ranked Eli Rocha fell to Zar in the semifinals but bounced back to take third against Kearney’s Garrett Deason following a 3-2 decision. Logan Ferrero of Whitfield took fifth after a 4-2 victory against Alexander Sederburg Rolla.
1st: Callum Sitek, Pacfic
2nd: Eli Zar, Neosho
3rd: Eli Rocha, Platte County
4th: Garrett Deason, Kearney
5th: Logan Ferrero, Whitfield
6th: Alexander Sederburg, Rolla
152: In a battle of unbeaten wrestlers, Rolla’s Nathan Pulliam, ranked No. 1, came out on top to become a three-time state champion as a senior. He topped Bolivar’s Tyson Moore, ranked No. 2, 10-6 in the championship bout.
“You can never beat a state title no matter how hard or easy it is,” Pulliam said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Griffin Ray of Hillsboro took third following a 6-2 decision against Jack Silies of Mehlville. Fifth place went to Kearney’s Bem Locke, who earned a 10-3 win in the consolation finals against Willard’s Timothy Stevens.
1st: Nathan Pulliam, Rolla
2nd: Tyson Moore, Bolivar
3rd: Griffin Ray, Hillsboro
4th: Jack Silies, Mehlville
5th: Ben Locke, Kearney
6th: Timothy Stevens, Willard
160: Add Neosho’s Cayden Auch to a short list of Missouri wrestlers who are four-time state champions. He became No. 28 in the state’s history following a 10-3 decision against Liberty Wentzville’s Wyatt Haynes, ranked No. 2 in the title bout.
“We never had a four timer at Neosho and I wanted to be the first,” Auch said, who’s ranked No. 1. “I am going to go to work and keep getting better for the next level.”
Ryder Heimbach of Willard took third after getting a pin in 1:25 against Ty Brunk of Rockwood Summit. Jeremiah Phillips of Fort Osage captured a state medal in his first state appearance as a senior after taking fifth after a 4-3 victory against Smithville’s Riley Brown.
1st: Cayden Auch, Neosho
2nd: Wyatt Haynes, Liberty (Wentzville)
3rd: Ryder Heimbach, Willard
4th: Ty Brunk, Rockwood Summit
5th: Jeremiah Phillips, Fort Osage
6th: Riley Brown, Smithville
170: Hannibal junior Trevor Wilson, ranked No. 1, had his American flag jacket ready for him after his first-place match against Eric Holt, ranked No. 3 of Neosho. He put it on following his pin 45 seconds that earned him the first state title of his career.
“I just let my body take over, it was all instinct,” Wilson said of his finals match. “That time everything just went away and my body took over. I was expecting to go all three periods.
No. 2-ranked Colt Adkins of Lebanon lost to Wilson in a 6-4 decision in the semifinals but salvaged his tournament by taking third following an 8-3 win against Reese Callahan of Whitfield. In the fifth-place match, Platte County’s Blaine Keuhn beat Belton’s Zach Attebury 4-2.
1st; Trevor Wilson, Hannibal
2nd: Eric Holt, Neosho
3rd: Colt Atkins, Lebanon
4th: Reese Callhan, Whifield
5th: Blaine Keuhn, Platte County
6th: Zach Attebury, Belton
182: Carl Junction senior Jesse Cassatt, ranked No. 1, ended his career with an unbeaten season at 49-0 and he earned his second title following a 5-2 decision against Whitfield’s Chase Brock, ranked No. 2, in the finals.
“I have to thank God everyday for the abilities he’s given me, and the chance I get to this every year” Cassatt said.
Festus’ Luke Shaver took third after earning an 8-3 decision against Roman Graiff of Vianney. Rolla’s Hayden Fane was fifth as he took down Roger Carranco of Webb City 9-3 in the consolation championship.
1st: Jesse Cassatt, Carl Junction
2nd: Chase Brock, Whitfield
3rd: Luke Shaver, Festus
4th: Roman Graiff, Vianney’
5th: Hayden Fane, Rolla
6th: Roger Carranco, Webb City
195: Grain Valley senior Hunter Newsom missed a little more than two weeks of the season because of COVID-19 and only had 15 matches to his name coming into the state tournament for his senior year. That didn’t deter him from becoming the second state champion in Eagles
History as he defeated previously unbeaten and defending state champ Jeremiah Larson of Neosho 6-5 in the finals.
“I felt great, it’s these moments we train for all season, Newsom said. It started during the summer, going to MO West (club team), grinding and putting in the work. I am just thankful I can be here to pull it off.”
Jaydon Walls of Platte County fell to Larson 9-3 in the semifinals but bounced back for a 11-3 major decision against Webb City’s Jacob Ott in the third-place bout. Zach Mcnees of Hillsboro took third after a 5-1 win against Jake Henson of Liberty in the consolation finals.
1st: Hunter Newsom, Grain Valley
2nd: Jeremiah Larson, Neosho
3rd: Jaydon Walls, Platte County
4th: Jacob Ott, Webb City
5th: Zach McNees, Hillsboro
6th: Jake Henson, Lebanon
220: Whitfiel’s Keith Miley, ranked No. 1, became Whitfield’s fifth and final individual champion of the evening after edging Marshfield’s Daylon Kanengieter, ranked No. 3, 3-1 in the finals.
“It’s so unreal,” Miley said of becoming a state champion. “I was a two-time state finalist before this and this was an undefeated season. That made me 31-0. I haven’t given up a takedown most of the season. It’s all hard work.
No. 2-ranked Drayton Huchteman fell to Kanengieter in the semifinals in a 3-2 loss but bounced back to take third after getting a 10-2 major decision over Sam Murphy of McDonald County. Jayden Hubler of Lebanon took fifth after edging Liberty Wentzville’s Matthew Craig 3-2.
1st: Keith Miley, Whitfield
2nd: Daylon Kanengieter, Marshfield
3rd: Drayton Huchteman, Bolivar
4th: Sam Murphy, McDonald County
5th: Jayden Hubler, Lebanon
6th: Matthew Craig, Liberty (Wentzville)
285: Jacobi Jackson, ranked No. 1, of DeSmet became a two-time state champion after getting a 6-3 decision against Dakoda Davis, ranked No. 1 of Camdenton in the championship match.
“I just work my butt off in the practice room and I am very humbled,” Jackson said. “I kept pushing (Davis) out of bounds. I should have stalled him out. I kept it basic and did what I had to do.
Rockwood Summit’s Michael Fanz finished third after pinning Grain Valley’s Donovan McBride in 3:44. Jack Rowton of Bolivar finished fifth after a pin in 33 seconds of Lebanon’s Zachary Smith in the consolation finals.
1st: Jacobi Jackson, DeSmet
2nd: Dakoda Davis, Camdenton
3rd: Michael Fanz, Rockwood Summit
4th: Donovan McBride, Grain Valley
5th: Jack Rowton, Bolivar
6th: Zachary Smith, Lebanon