The sport of wrestling is not for the weak of heart. No other sport relies upon a more elite combination of strength, speed, agility, stamina, muscle memory and sheer physics to be successful. While the center of the mat can feel like the loneliest place in the world, it also spotlights the ability of one man’s commitment to his goals and the teams that helped get him there.
Mizzou Arena was a packed house on Friday night for the second day of this year’s MSHSAA Wrestling Championships in Columbia, MO. Friday began with quarterfinal matches, followed shortly after by wrestlebacks for those that lost in the quarters.
Carthage Wrestling fans prepared to watch Eli Sneed, Braxdon Tate and Davion King continue their success on day two of a three day grind for the best in the state. Sneed and Tate both hit tough opponents from Liberty in the quarters when they faced seniors Easton Hilton and Logan Rathjen, who, unfortunately knocked both to the backside of the bracket with their first losses. The competition did not get any easier for Sneed in the next round of wrestlebacks as he faced off against Hickman’s Ethan Barr for the second time since they met at the Carthage Duals in late December. Barr emerged victorious once again and delivered Sneed’s second loss on the weekend, ultimately ending his quest for a medal.
“Eli got the toughest draw of anybody from our team,” said head Carthage coach Kenny Brown. “He fought hard and came out strong, but had several hammers on his side of the bracket. I know he wanted more from his season, but looking at the big picture and how much he has accomplished since coming in as a freshman, I couldn’t be prouder.”
Braxdon Tate recovered in the second round wrestlebacks with a win by fall over Park Hill’s Ethan Vande Ven. As the third round wrestlebacks started Friday evening, Tate faced off against Drake Jenkins from Seckman, coming away with a dominant 7-2 win to put him closer to a medal. Saturday morning will begin with fourth round wrestlebacks where he will go against Francis Howell Central’s Aidan Hernandez – a junior with a record of 46-3.
Davion King met junior Austen Wetzel in his quarters round, emerging with his second win of the tournament and a spot in Friday evening’s semifinal bout against Liberty freshman Peyton Westpfal. King took control of the match from start to finish, dominating Westpfal in a 7-2 victory that puts him in the championship match at 160 lbs. The championship match will feature King (41-5) against Seckman junior Cole Rubie, who has a record of 44-5 on the season.
Wrestling starts at 9:00 am Saturday with fourth round wrestlebacks. The finals march for those competing in the championship bouts begins at 4:00 pm, with wrestling starting at 4:30pm. Matches can be live streamed on mshsaa.tv for $10.