CARTHAGE, Mo. — By the time the dual’s marquee matchups arrived, a lopsided team score didn’t matter much to the crowd of wrestling fans gathered Tuesday night inside the Carthage High School gymnasium.
“I thought the atmosphere was great all night, but the fans were definitely really into those last two matches (at 220 and heavyweight),” Carthage coach Kenneth Brown said following his team’s 69-9 win over Joplin. “Going in, I knew those two were going to be the highlights.”
The bout at 220 featured a pair of two-time state qualifiers. Carthage junior Kale Schrader, a transfer from Seneca who finished runner-up in the Class 1 state tournament last season, logged one takedown, one escape and a 2-point nearfall to earn a 5-3 decision over senior Jadyn Withrow, a fifth-place medalist in last year’s Class 4 tournament.
With Carthage and Joplin now competing in the same class this year, it’s likely Schrader and Withrow will meet again in the coming months, according to Brown.
“I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a little closer if those two meet again,” Brown said. “But Schrader came out and did what I was expecting him to do. He got after it, stayed aggressive and set the tone early. Those two will just continue to get better as the year goes on.”
“That was Jadyn’s first match of the season, so we’re not in tip-top shape yet,” Joplin coach Jeremy Finley said. “We’re going to try and get there, but we still have a few things to work on. You can’t just sit on bottom like we did against a good kid. But part of that could be first-match jitters too.”
Joplin managed to end its night with a victory thanks to senior Jacob Booe’s 5-2 overtime win over returning state qualifier Brener Ocana. Booe, a two-time state qualifier, managed to seal the match with a late reversal.
“I’ll tell you what, Jacob is really one of the hardest workers in the room,” Finley said. “He’s a great kid, a heck of a good leader and he does everything that’s ever asked of him. That’s just a good win for him.”
“Brener wrestled Booe last year and lost 3-2 (in regulation), so we went into that match hoping we could narrow the gap,” Brown said. “I was obviously hoping we could come out on top, but obviously Booe wrestled a really tough match. What it comes down to is he was able to get away from us and we couldn’t really get away from him very well. But again, we know now what we have to get better at. We’ll see him again at least two more times this season.”
Carthage had 10 individuals earn wins — Schrader, Braxdon Tate (106), Carlos Reyes (113), Tanner Russow (120), Dagan Sappington (126), Eli Sneed (138), Victor Salazar (152). Trulyn Kendrick (160), Brandon Crow (170) and Caleb Triplett (182).
The Eagles forfeited at two weights and finished with two match wins. Brayden Williams (145) picked up the team’s only fall.