While Washington fell short of its goals of an individual state champion and a team trophy during the MSHSAA Wrestling Championships last Thursday through Saturday at Mizzou Arena, it still was an impressive performance.
The Blue Jays had four wrestlers reach the medal stand with top six finishes in their respective weight classes and earned a sixth-place finish in the Class 3 team standings with 79.5 points.
“Although so many great things happened, it’s so hard to be happy. All year, we had a specific set of goals to accomplished and we fell short,” said Washington Head Coach Josh Ohm. “We had it within reach and just couldn’t finish. We kind of self destructed in the semifinals and the last wrestleback round, going 0-8. I really think if we could of pulled that round out, we would be talking about Washington’s first team trophy in school history.”
Kearney and Neosho shared the Class 3 state title with 152 points apiece. Also earning team trophies were Staley with 117 points and Warrensburg with 91.5 points.
Wrestling to third-place finishes for Washington were senior Spencer Baird (152) and juniors Cole Hamai (138) and Kyle Summers (170).
Also medaling was senior Caleb Summers (160) with a sixth-place finish.
Baird (48-8) capped his WHS career with an 8-6 victory over Neosho’s Sam Williams in the third-place match.
“I’m happy to get third place. I never gave up. I finally got to medal,” Baird said. “It’s what I’ve worked for all 13 years I’ve wrestled.”
Baird won his first two matches over Kearney’s Jaxton Bingham 9-0 and by pinning Carl Junction’s Nick Koon in 3:39 in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Baird lost a 7-2 decision to eventual state champion Zadac Lankford of Warrensburg (54-0). He bounced back to win a 5-2 decision over Ladue’s Chase Ridenour to reach the third-place match.
Hamai (53-4) ended his standout season with a 9-8 victory over Ladue’s Grant Sachs in the third-place match.
“I’m glad I was able to finish on top in my last match and finish my season off with a win,” Hamai said. “It felt good helping the team, even though we didn’t place. It was good.”
Hamai opened with wins of 2-0 over Willard’s Connar Loderhose and a 16-1 technical fall victory over Westminster’s Dominic Barressi in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Hamai was pinned by eventual runner-up Trevor Feagans of Carthage in 4:36. He came back to win an 11-1 major decision over Willard’s Connar Loderhose to reach the third-place contest.
Kyle Summers (25-10) won his third-place match with an 8-6 decision over Ft. Zumwalt North’s Ryan Thomas.
“It was good to come back and win third place,” Summers said. “It would have been nice to win in the semifinals and get to the last match.”
Summers won his first two matches by pin over Westminster’s Brink Thompson in 2:25 and a 15-5 major decision over Willard’s Hunter Yeargan in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Summers lost in overtime 3-2 to eventual runner-up Casey Bryan of Winnetonka. He came back to claim a 10-3 decision over Warrensburg’s Brett Marr to reach the third-place match.
Caleb Summers (47-11) lost in the fifth-place match by a 3-2 decision to Warrensburg’s Jared Allnutt.
“I feel good that I medaled, but I’m still disappointed about the way I wrestled. (Saturday) and in the semifinals. The rest of my matches were good and I still got a medal,” Summers said. “It was a good experience. I’m glad to be a state medalist. I remember being a little kid and wishing I could be here at state. Now that I’ve been here a couple of times, it feels good.”
Summers opened with wins of 12-11 over Hillcrest’s Jesse Kerr and 12-0 over Ft. Zumwalt North’s Luke Sammelmann.
In the semifinals, Summers lost to eventual runner-up Tyler Warren of Windsor by a 5-2 decision. He then lost to Union’s Dalton Kuenzel 7-2 in the consolation semifinals.
Washington’s six other state qualifiers were Parker Neptune (113), Cody Gardner (120), Nicholas Solter (126), Cody Summers (132), Logan Baird (195) and Matt Pecka (285).
Neptune (44-13) went 2-2 in the event. He was pinned by Helias’ Dylan Linsenbardt in 4:57 in the opener, but came back to pin Westminster’s Joe Welker in 1:32 and claim a 14-7 decision over Neosho’s Johnathan Williams. He was eliminated by Webster Groves’ Lamont Wilson by a 5-3 decision.
Gardner (23-8) had a 1-2 record. He opened with a 14-6 win over Republic’s Tanner (Willis) Edgen, but dropped his next two matches to Staley’s Chris Allen 8-1 and to Ft. Zumwalt North’s Trenton Jaco, 12-8.
Solter (42-8) was 1-2 overall. He opened with a pin over Ft. Zumwalt North’s Eric Byers in 2:49, but lost his next two matches to Platte County’s Johnny Blankenship 5-2 and Neosho’s Dakota McGarrah, 15-2.
Cody Summers (36-21) had a 2-2 record. He lost in the opener to Kearney’s Blake Clevenger 10-2, but bounced back with a 5-2 win over Ft. Zumwalt South’s Matthew Estrada and with a pin over McDonald County’s Josh Kinser in 1:59. He was then eliminated by Platte County’s Caleb Crabtree, 4-3.
Logan Baird (40-15) went 2-2 in the event. He lost his opener to Staley’s Daltan Sweet 3-0, but came back to pin Ft. Zumwalt North’s Evan Miller in 1:45 and defeat Neosho’s Ben Elledge, 7-3. He was eliminated by Branson’s Tritton Barnes by a 2-1 tiebreaker.
Pecka (36-19) notched a 2-2 record. He lost in the first round to McCluer’s Xavier Jenkins 2-1, but came back to win his next two matches over Carthage’s Blaine Perry 1-0 and by a 5-2 tiebreaker over Farmington’s Payton Napoli. He was eliminated by Webb City’s Tony Carranco, 1-0.
“I am very proud of all 10 young men who represented not only our school, but our community. Hopefully sometime soon, they can take a step back and look at all the things they accomplished this season and be proud,” Ohm said. “I really think that one round is going to stick with a lot of them and they will use that to motivate them through the tough spots to put us back in that position next year. If I know these boys like I think I do, we will be talking about our first state champions and team trophy this time next year.”