The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 2, 2014

Area wrestlers take home first-place medals

Southwest Missouri wrestlers overcame a strong showing by Northwest Arkansas teams and captured half of the individual championships Saturday at the People’s Bank of Seneca Invitational.

Blair Oaks, ranked No. 1 in Missouri Class 1, won the tournament with 296 points, 1/2-point ahead of runner-up Bentonville (Ark.).

Nevada was third with 282 points, two points ahead of fourth-place Seneca.

Wrestlers from Diamond, Nevada, Seneca, McDonald County and Neosho’s junior varsity won first-place medals.

Seven Nevada wrestlers competed in the first- and third-place matches. Three advanced to the championship round, and Dayton Miller at 113 pounds took first place when he pinned Derian Fernandez of Bentonville in 40 seconds.

“We always have things we can work on, but we wrestled very well,” said Nevada head coach Devin White.

“Blair Oaks is obviously a very tough Class 1 team, so there’s good competition across the board. They could beat a lot of Class 2 and Class 3 teams across the state.”

Nevada’s Clay Regers was decisioned by John Karsten of Blair Oaks 7-0 for the title at 285, and Scott Rusmisel-Swink at 185 fell in the finals to Douglas Matthews of Springdale (Ark.) Har-Ber.

Seneca claimed two individual titles. Ryker Skelton at 160 pinned Wyatt Rook of Diamond in the finals, while Will Roark at 132 won his 150th career match with a pin against Ryan Flynn of Bentonville.

“It’s awesome the support the community has for our tournament,” said Seneca head coach Jeff Sill.

“We’ve been running the tournament for 51 years. Everybody compliments us on how smooth it goes.

“We wrestle Class 3 and 4 teams all the time and finally we wrestled some Class 1 teams,” he said. “When we get everybody healthy, I think we’ll be up there.”

Ethan King of Diamond decisioned Daniel De Santiago of McDonald County 6-5 for the title at 106 pounds. Josh Kinser of McDonald County won at 138, and Neosho’s junior varsity produced two champions in John Meyer at 170 and Addison Derryberry at 220.

COC TOURNAMENT

Neosho defended its Central Ozark Conference Large Division title by winning the conference wrestling tournament Saturday at Willard.

The Wildcats advanced 13 wrestlers into the finals, and six won top honors.

Neosho took home the team trophy for the seventh time in the last nine years by scoring 373.5 points. Willard was second with 270 points and Nixa was third with 209.

The Wildcats are now positioned for the Class 3, District 3 tournament on Feb. 14 at Branson.

The field will not include five COC Large Division champions — four from Nixa and one from Ozark — who compete in Class 4.

Neosho won both matchups against wrestlers from Webb City. Chance Branstetter at 152 edged Hunter Vanlue 2-1, and Austin Hailey at 195 defeated Brandon Musselman 3-0.

The Wildcats’ other individual champions were Kyler Rea at 126, who defeated River Maggard of Carthage 4-0; Sam Williams at 160, Kyle Hostetter at 170 and Jacob Brock at 182.

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