Carthage wrestlers record first “W” with win over Carl Junction

Sophomore Chris Lopez leads off the varsity dual with a pin over Carl Junction. Crystal Brown / The Carthage Press

To say that Tuesday night’s wrestling dual at Carl Junction was a source of anxiety for Head Coach Kenny Brown was an understatement.  When it became clear last Saturday in St. Louis that the wrestling team would still be missing ten members involved in postseason football, he knew that lineups would have to change and his more experienced veterans would have to step up.  “Going into the season without our football players was a huge hurdle,” Brown said.  “After that, it’s finding ways to keep the more experienced wrestlers focused while still bringing along the first year wrestlers.” 

Of course, the “hurdle” Brown speaks of is none other than the Class 5 Missouri State Championship Football Game, played at Faurot Field at the University of Missouri this coming Saturday.  The overlap in schedules is perhaps the only downfall of having so many talented, multi-sport athletes.  The upside is the experience that some of those football players/wrestlers such as Wrestling 220 lb Class 4 State Champion Kale Schrader and qualifiers Brener Ocana, Brandon Crowe and Braxdon Tate bring to the table.  Competing last year, on the same campus incidentally, in the three day wrestling state championship tournament at Mizzou Arena is the epitome of a grind.  That experience and leadership, “both in the practice room and the classroom” is what Coach Kenny Brown expects from his seniors and varsity crew.  When Carthage grapplers were thrown in with the big dogs of Class 4 competition (the class with the largest schools, usually in Kansas City and St. Louis) last year, they definitely proved that they were in the tournament to compete.  With three state placers, one of which was an undefeated state champion and a tenth place team finish overall, Carthage shocked many other teams.

That’s a far cry from the demographics and results Coach Brown experienced 18 years ago in his first year as a head coach. “My first year, we only had 17 kids on the team.  This year we started out with 95 kids expressing interest in wrestling.  Demographics have changed.  My first year in Carthage, I only had one wrestler who was half-Hispanic.  Now, of the 61 kids we have wrestling, 31 of them are Hispanic.  Our Hispanic population has really embraced the sport.  It all started when Yoni Herrera decided to give wrestling a try for the first time in the 2004-05 season.  That, along with his two younger siblings joining the team – (Arnold Herrera and Edxel Morales) opened the gates for our Hispanic students to give wrestling a try.”

Senior Kelten Campbell ties up with his CJ opponent before his eventual pin. Crystal Brown / The Carthage Press

Of course, the evolution of the team also directly corresponds with the quality and time commitment of the coaching staff.  Brown stated, “I feel very blessed with the coaching staff Carthage has now with Nate Kelly, John Petticrew, Clint Spencer, and Kellen Bounous.  Between the 4 paid coaches and the one volunteer, there are 9 State finals appearances.  Adding to that, the fact that one of them (Bounous) wrestled for Mizzou, and Spencer wrestled Division II on the East coast, there is a wealth of knowledge being imparted.  It also greatly helps having young coaches with the ability to wrestle with and push the wrestlers daily.”  That experience helped a relatively untested group of JV wrestlers to win most of their matches against Carl Junction Tuesday night.  Brown and his staff commented repeatedly that they were overjoyed to see technique from practices being implemented during the matches.

On the varsity level, decisive wins by Carthage started off the second half of the evening, eventually propelling the Tigers to a 49-28 victory over the Bulldogs.  This solid start to the 2019-20 wrestling season has Coach Kenny Brown and the rest of his coaching staff optimistic about the rest of the season’s matchups.  The JV Wrestling team is in action next and will travel to Blue Springs for a tournament this Saturday.  As many members of the community and team will be traveling to Columbia to the football state championships, Brown encourages his boys to work hard and accomplish the first of this year’s goals as Carthage student athletes. Safe travels and continued success to the Tiger Football Team and its coaches as they continue to make history.  The Tiger Wrestling Team is back in action next Tuesday, December 10th at 5pm at Carthage High School for a double dual versus Cassville and Miami, OK. 

Here are the Carthage Wrestling Results from our dual with Carl Junction at CJ on 12/03/19.  Carthage is now 1-0 on the season.  10th-12th grade football players are not yet with the team.  Carthage next wrestles at the Blue Springs JV Tournament on Saturday 12/07 starting at 9:30AM.  The next varsity meet in on Tuesday 12/10 at home against Miami OK and Cassville starting at 5:00PM.


Carl Junction—28

Individual Results

Weight—Name—Grade—Season Record—State Ranking


106—Chris Lopez—10—(1-0)

Won by major decision 13-1 over Lukas Walker

113—Lucas Jones—9—(1-0)

Won by forfeit

120—Carlos Reyes—11—(1-0)

Won by fall in 0:58 over Dylan Frazier

126—Selvin Estrada—12—(1-0)

Won by fall in 1:38 over Chris Zbranek

132—Dagan Sappington—11—(1-0)

Won by fall in 1:45 over Arlen Wakefield

138—Davion King—9—(1-0)

Won by fall in 1:10 over Chance Benford

145—Anderson Ixcol—12—(1-0)

Won by decision 11-9 over Ethan Walker

152—Creed Lambeth—11—(0-1)

Lost by major decision 0-10 to Cole Stewart

160—Kelten Campbell—12—(1-0)

Won by fall in 1:49 over Javon White


Forfeit to Cayden Bollinger

182—Cristian Orellana—11—(0-1)

Lost by fall in 4:44 to Wyatt Ross

195—Brian Zuniga—9—(0-1)

Lost by fall in 0:49 to Jackson White—ranked #1 in Class 3 @ 182

220—Kanen Vogt—10—(1-0)

Won by forfeit


Forfeit to Micah Lieberman

Junior Varsity Results

132—Brayden Benefiel—11—(1-0)

Won by decision 8-1 over Mekhi McGarry

132—Cody Reeves—10—(1-0)

Won by decision 6-4 over Mekhi McGarry

138—Byron Lopez—10—(1-0)

Won by decision 13-7 over Kendyn Bennett

138—Selvin Garcia—9—(-0-1)

Lost by decision 5-10 to Kendyn Bennett

152—Wessly Estes—11—(1-0)

Won by major decision 11-2 over Mario Thomas

152—Jonathan Coreas Perez—10—(0-1)

Lost by decision 3-5 to Mario Thomas

160—Fernando Lopez—11—(1-0)

Won by fall in 1:15 over Nevan Challenger

160—Gustavo Rodriguez—11—(1-0)

Won by fall in 5:59 over Nevan Challenger

160—Lucas Lund—9—(1-0)

Won by fall in 1:03 over Garrett DeMasters

160—Levi White—12—(1-0)

Won by fall in 1:01 over Dillon DeMasters

285—Alexis Vasquez—11—(0-1)

Lost by major decision 3-11 to Keegan Bennett

285—Antony DeLeon—9—(0-1)

Lost by fall in 2:45 to Keegan Bennett