The Carthage Tiger Wrestling team entered the Class 4 Sectional 4 tournament in Ozark, MO with a little bit of uncertainty and a lot of heart. The 11 qualifiers were focused on carrying the momentum from their second-place district finish to a state qualification. Considering that the last sectional tournament in wrestling in the state of Missouri happened seventeen years ago, the format was, not surprisingly, unfamiliar.
“Most of these guys weren’t even born when we last had sectionals,” said Coach Kenny Brown. “This year has been a lot more strenuous on everyone. Even when we had sectionals all those years ago, the top four placers got to go to state. This year it was top three, to comply with a one-day state tournament. Practice, travel, meal and lodging schedules are all being altered, in addition to competing at an unfamiliar site,” Brown said. “Our guys have adapted and pushed forward with the same perseverance that they’ve shown all season. We’re incredibly proud of them.”
We took some time to chat with the Carthage assistant coaches and sectional qualifiers to get their take on this year’s wrestling season:
Carthage News Online: What was the highlight of the sectional tournament for you?
Coach Clint Spencer: Seeing our kids finish strong in the finals. Watching them dig deep and find a way to win. Our kids are really growing and peaking at the right time when it matters.
Coach Kellen Bounous: Definitely loved how we finished our last rounds. Bradyn (Tate) started us off strong and we all fed off the momentum.
Coach Nate Kelly: In all our matches – win or loss – none of the kids left anything on the mat. They wrestled their hearts out.
Coach John Petticrew: I really saw our conditioning work pay off. Late in the period our guys were still pushing the pace and it showed.
CNO: What can we expect from your team at state?
Coach Spencer: You will definitely see us hold the momentum. Focus, finish strong and more of the same performance.
Coach Kelly: Experience that allows our kids to adapt to their situation. From youth wrestling to high school, each of them has been in competitive situations and have that to build on.
Coach Bounous: Wrestling with confidence because they have done everything right.
Coach Petticrew: We are one of the smaller class 4 schools, so I think our guys are overlooked to a certain extent. We can fly under the radar a little bit and surprise some people.
CNO: Have your plans and preparation changed with the postseason format changes?
Bounous: We are still cruising right along. We will continue to trust in the process. It worked at sectionals and will work at state.
Kelly: I think the changes have forced us to change up practices. We have added more variety and it helps keep the guys excited about practicing.
Petticrew: We have definitely had to fine-tune and keep things fresh so practices aren’t monotonous.
CNO: What are your goals at State?
All: More hard work, determination, and perseverance. The results speak for themselves.
Carthage News Online: What is the highlight of your season so far?
Dagan Sappington – 132 lbs.: Hanging with my boys and being able to wrestle.
Bradyn Tate – 113 lbs.: Beating the kids from Bolivar and Hannibal who were both good. The guys from Hannibal had beaten me before.
Davion King – 145 lbs.: Winning districts and sectionals and tying Toby Waters (former state champion Carthage Wrestler) pin record.
Eli Sneed – 138 lbs.: Winning conference.
Braxdon Tate – 152 lbs.: Qualifying for state.
Luke Gall – 182 lbs.: Winning districts and sectionals.
CNO: What goals have you set for the rest of the season?
Sappington: Finish in the top three at State and (laughing) placing higher than (teammate) Davion King!
Little Tate: Placing in the top six at State.
King: Winning in the quarterfinals to place top four.
Sneed: Place at state.
Big Tate: Place at State.
Gall: Place top four at State.
CNO: How have you changed as a wrestler from the beginning of the season to now?
Sappington: Definitely battled through adversity to be able to finish the season after a serious illness.
Little Tate: I have improved my offense and I am a lot more aggressive.
King: My top game is much better. It’s a lot easier for me to hold kids down.
Sneed: I have a lot more gas in the tank now. My lungs are definitely stronger.
Big Tate: I am much more aggressive on my feet.
Gall: I think I am a smarter wrestler now and can adapt better to my situations.
Congratulations to our State Qualifiers. Best of luck at this year’s MSHSAA Class 4 Wrestling Championships, Saturday, March 13, 2021.
Here are the Carthage Wrestling results from the Class 3, Sectional 3 tournament in Ozark on 02/27/21. Top three placers from the tournament advance to the State Tournament in Independence at Cable Dahmer Arena on March 13th. No team scores were kept for the tournament.
Weight—Name—Grade—Tournament Record—Season Record—Placement
Lost by technical fall 2-19 to Gabe Hawkins—Lee’s Summit
Won by technical fall 15-0 over Austin Feely—Capital City
Lost by major decision 0-9 to Lucas Gideon—Springfield Central
Won by major decision 12-0 over Zach Pruitt—Lee’s Summit West
Lost by technical fall 3-18 to Zan Fugitt—Nixa
Won by fall in 2:32 over Rylan Lashley—Springfield Central
Won by fall in 1:14 over Michael Foley—Lee’s Summit
Lost by fall in 5:18 to Nathan Wishne—Lee’s Summit
Won by fall in 1:48 over Abdiel Kempker—Capital City
Won by decision 5-1 over Dustin Green—Waynesville
Lost by decision 6-10 to Nathan Wishne—Lee’s Summit
Lost by decision 2-7 to Andrew Smith—Lee’s Summit West
Won by fall in 3:52 over Brayden Welcher—Ray-Pec
Lost by major decision 0-9 to Jordan Hurst—Ozark
Won by decision 6-3 over Bryce McKeone—Lee’s Summit
Won by decision 7-4 over Hunter Walling—Jefferson City
Lost by fall in 4:58 to Elijah Maskrod—Ozark
Won by fall in 2:25 over Noah Miller—Lee’s Summit
Lost by decision 3-8 to Joseph Kuster—Jefferson City
Won by major decision 11-2 over Kaiden Cruz—Waynesville
Won by decision 4-2 over Jacob Quest—Ray-Pec
Won by fall in 1:35 over Brock Donnelly—Lee’s Summit West
Won by decision 4-2 over Dylan Carter—Nixa
Won by fall in 2:41 over Brock Sundlie—Ozark
Won by fall in 3:21 over Ruben Miller—Lee’s Summit West
Lost by decision 6-10 to Kanen Huff—Ray-Pec
Won by decision 6-2 over Martin Medrano—Waynesville
Won by decision 7-2 over Owen Twaddle—Rock Bridge
Lost by decision 1-4 to Patrick Martin—Ray-Pec
Won by fall in 0:45 over Garrett Greve—Kickapoo
Lost by fall in 2:25 to Jackson Jones—Lee’s Summit
Won by fall in 0:52 over Benjamin Stephens—Rock Bridge
Won by major decision 15-4 over Michael Friederich—Jefferson City
Won by overtime decision 4-2 over Coleton McElliott—Ray-Pec
Won by forfeit over Hurley Jacobs—Capital City
Lost by fall in 0:19 to John Gholson—Nixa
Lost by decision 1-5 to Corey Choates–Kickapoo