By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
WEBB CITY, Mo. —
Neosho reclaimed the Central Ozark Conference Large Division wrestling crown Saturday and produced five individual champions.
The Wildcats, ranked No. 2 in Class 3 by MissouriWrestling.com, won with 331 points. Nixa was second with 227.5 points, 2.5 points ahead of Carthage.
“We let it slip through our hands last year, so it’s nice to regain the title,” said Neosho head coach Jeremy Phillips, whose teams have won five of the last six COC titles. Ozark was the defending champion.
Jacob Brock of Neosho pinned Duane Faller of Willard for the championship at 182 pounds, and Nate Rodriguez at 132 won with a major decision against Nick Plyter of Ozark.
Those are the types of outcomes Phillips said he is looking for as the Wildcats prepare for the Class 3 district tournament Feb. 8 and 9 at Willard.
“We have to secure and go after those bonus points,” he said.
The Wildcats’ River Buttram at 120 and Christian Lopez at 220 won by decision, and Kyler Rea at 113 was the winner in a round-robin format.
Lopez, a senior, became a conference champion for the first time.
“Christian Lopez is one of those kids who I made an example of,” Phillips said. “The hammer of persistence drives the nail of success. He’s a great example of what we need to do as a team.”
Carthage’s Trevor Feagans, who has one loss this season, captured the title at 138 with a 14-2 major decision against Connar Loderhose of Willard.
“I’ve been working on my position with my assistant coach (Matt Vernatti),” Feagans said. “I was in good position, but I didn’t quite push the pace like I wanted to.”
Two other Carthage wrestlers advanced to the finals but were defeated in close decisions. Gage Gartner was defeated by Buttram 7-4, and Tommy Bradshaw was edged by Cameron White of Nixa, 3-2.
Bradshaw led 1-0 going into the third period. White scored on an escape 20 seconds into period, then scored a takedown with 46 seconds left.
“We have to work on finishing our shots,” said Carthage head coach Kenny Brown. “We have to fight for those takedowns. A lot of it is just mental toughness, and that’s across the board.”
The varsity conference tournament was held at Webb City for the first time, said Webb City head coach Larron Hurst. Five of Webb City’s seven conference opponents also will compete in the district tournament at Willard.
“You have two Fridays to fine tune some problem areas,” Hurst said. “A lot of the guys here in the top four will be state medalists at Mizzou Arena.”
Seneca claimed five individual championships on its way to winning the 50th annual Seneca Tournament.
The Indians outdistanced Class 1 rival Blair Oaks of Jefferson City by scoring 390.5 points to 330 for the Falcons. Seneca is ranked No. 1 in Class 1 while Blair Oaks is No. 5.
“It was good for us to test the water, so to speak,” said Seneca head coach Jeff Sill.
Seneca’s Quentin Cotten at 113 and Jalen Skaggs at 160 both won with pins in the first period. Cole Lankford at 126 won with a 12-3 major decision against Payton Lackman of Blair Oaks, and Dylan West at 195 and Will Roark at 120 won by decision.
Roark, who has lost one match this season, defeated state medalist Slade Stiles of Nevada 11-5.
Carl Junction’s Nick Koon won the title at 152 with an 11-2 major decision against Butch Ferguson of Seneca, and teammate Calvin Bremmerkamp pinned Scott Swink of Nevada for the title at 170.
Dayton Miller of Nevada pinned Ethan King of Diamond for the championship at 106, and Jordan Moffett of McDonald County claimed the title at 220 pounds.