By Richard Polen
The Joplin Globe
Joplin’s wrestling lineup will be short-handed going into the Ozark Conference tournament today at Camdenton.
Although the Eagles return 138-pound Dakota Mavis (13-10), who has been out with an illness, and Tyler McGrew at 170, who has been recovering from an injury, the team has been slowed by injuries.
“This week, we’ll be closer to full strength than we’ve been in a while,” said Joplin head coach David Myers. Still missing is Danny Drouin at 220, who is out for the season with a knee injury, and Landon Taylor at 182, who might return for the district meet, Myers said.
Keegan Loyd, a senior at 132, went out in Thursday night’s dual at Monett with an injury default.
Waynesville, ranked No. 5 in Class 4 by MissouriWrestling.com, is favored to win the conference meet. The Tigers have five state-ranked wrestlers — Isaiah Johnson, fifth at 113; Andrew Wallace, third at 120; Lemuel Johnson, second at 126; Todd Magoon, sixth at 138, and Jacob Semple, first at 285.
Joplin’s Don Hollingshead (31-9), eighth at 152, moved into the rankings with his victory at the Lydia’s Lights/Blue Springs South Tournament last weekend.
Joplin’s wrestlers will see two of their conference opponents — Waynesville and Springfield Kickapoo — again at the district meet Feb. 9 at Jefferson City.
Kickapoo’s top wrestlers are Micah Foote, who is ranked No. 2 at 220 behind defending champion J’Den Cox of Columbia Hickman, and Tony Grant, ranked sixth at 195.
The rest of the Eagles’ lineup consists of Zach Phillips at 106, Caden Carlin at 113, Bryce Schwarting at 120, Levi Puckett (14-4) at 126, Niko Thompson at 145, Isaac Knewtson at 160, Christian Plassman at 182, Jason Love at 195, Jeff Owens at 220 and Phillip Reitz (16-12) at 285. James Tupper wrestled at 138 at Blue Springs South.