By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
Seneca survived a bout against the flu bug and defeated Joplin 53-24 in a nonconference wrestling dual Thursday night at the Joplin High School 9th and 10th Grade Campus.
Seneca, ranked No. 3 in Class 1 by MissouriWrestling.com, won six matches by pin. Both teams were missing key wrestlers because of illness and injuries. Joplin wrestled without Levi Puckett at 126 pounds, Landon Taylor at 170 and Danny Drouin at 220.
The situation was similar for Seneca.
“It seemed like each hour today another kid told me he was sick,” said Seneca head coach Jeff Sill. “I didn’t know how much of a team we would have. Then our heavyweight started throwing up right before his match.”
Joplin’s Phillip Reitz was awarded the match at 285 pounds, one of three matches the Eagles won by forfeit. Noah Hembree at 138 picked up the Eagles’ other victory by pinning Colton McDaniel in 37 seconds.
The closest match of the night was at 195, where Seneca’s Colton Brown won a 6-3 decision against Joplin’s Jason Love.
Only two other matches went the distance. Cole Lankford, a senior, scored a 12-4 decision against Joplin freshman Skye Paulk, and Jesse Rhoades, a freshman, decisioned Joplin senior Keegan Loyd 13-3.
“Jesse wrestled a good, smart match,” Sill said. “He did a good job staying out of trouble and an even better job of scoring points when he needed to.”
Joplin coach David Myers said he was pleased with his freshman as well. “Skye Paulk wrestled really well,” he said. “That’s a freshman wrestling Cole Lankford.” Lankford is ranked No. 2 in Class 1 at 126.
Seneca’s Quentin Cotton at 113, Logan Grady at 145, Jalen Skaggs at 160, Ryker Skelton at 170, Jeff Butler at 182 and Dylan West at 220 won their matches by pin.
Although Butler pinned Joplin freshman Christian Plassman in the third period, Myers said he was pleased with the outcome.
“That was his first varsity match,” Myers said.