St. Clair senior Matt Gordon is a unique athlete.
As tough as they come on the wrestling mat, Gordon also possesses the skills it takes to be one of the best golfers at St. Clair High School.
He’s currently making the transition from wrestling to golf after placing fifth at 195 pounds in Class 2 during the MSHSAA Wrestling Championships last Thursday through Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
“I’m really looking forward to the golf season,” Gordon said after receiving his all-state wrestling medal. “Hopefully I’ll get a chance to play golf in college.”
Gordon is a three-time wrestling state qualifier after not competing on the team last year as a junior. He did not win a state match during his freshman and sophomore state appearances, but made up for it this year.
“It’s a great feeling to come here and place my senior year. I’m glad I came back and wrestled this year,” Gordon said. “Coach (Brent) Yule and Coach (Chris) Keagy are amazing coaches. They helped me a lot this year.”
Gordon (39-7) won a 10-5 decision Saturday over Oak Grove’s Preston Airington in the fifth-place match.
Gordon won both of his first two matches in overtime, 3-1 over Excelsior Springs’ Will Simpson and 7-5 over Monett’s Devon Overall.
In the semifinals, Gordon was pinned by Reeds Springs’ Tyler Miller in 2:00. He then lost in the consolation semifinals 5-4 to Owensville’s Alton Harrell.
“The semifinal match was tough. He was very good. I don’t know what happened. He’s a tough kid,” Gordon said.
“I’m proud of the fact that Matt wrestled really hard all weekend. He’s probably a little disappointed with his place. It doesn’t show the effort that he gave,” said St. Clair Head Coach Brent Yule. “In his quarterfinal match, he was down by three points with probably 30 seconds left and got an escape and a takedown to tie it. He was disappointed with the outcome of his semifinal match. His bracket was so even. A lot of them were one-point matches. He dropped down in the consolation and had a tough go against Harrell, who is a great wrestler. He wrestled really well in the fifth-place match.”
Yule said Gordon was an important member of the team.
“Matt’s a great leader for our team, especially by example. All the kids can follow his work ethic and see how he prepares for every match,” Yule said. “It means a lot to myself and Coach Keagy that we have someone that the younger kids can see. We are a pretty youthful team. It really helped that Matt was there.”
Five other Bulldogs competed at the state tournament.
Skyler Hutchison (28-6) won his first match at 182 pounds by pinning St. Charles West’s Ryan Meyer in 1:12.
In the quarterfinals, Hutchison lost a 13-8 decision to Belton’s Chance Barnes. He then lost in the wrestlebacks to Sullivan’s Danton Creek, 7-4.
“Skyler wrestled kind of the way he wrestled all year. There were a lot of ups and downs with him. If we can get him squared and more focused, he’s going to be a heck of a wrestler. He’s got so much explosiveness. He can beat just about anybody if his mind is right,” Yule said. “He wrestled hard. He was winning in the quarterfinals and ended up losing a heartbreaker. He then lost in the wrestlebacks to a kid who he beat earlier in the year. It’s such a mental game, especially when you come here. When you get knocked out of the winner’s bracket and drop down to the consolation bracket, it’s tough to bounce back.”
Freshman Ethan Koenig (18-19) went 0-2 at 113 pounds. He was pinned by Cameron’s Trevor Burkhart in 1:37 and lost a 4-1 decision to St. Charles West’s Austin Schuler.
Sophomore Chris Algiere (22-23) was 0-2 at 120. He lost by technical fall 18-2 to Osage’s Chris Johnson and was pinned by Fulton’s Jason Pae in 2:20.
“Chris and the other guys came here ready to wrestle,” Yule said. “In the first round, maybe they were intimidated by everything, but it was a great experience for them and hopefully they can build off of it.”
Sophomore Chase Cohen (18-24) went 0-2 at 126. He was pinned by Mexico’s Jordan Jones in 3:30 and lost a 7-5 decision to Excelsior Springs’ Bret Rider.
“Chase bounced back in his second match. I couldn’t have asked for a better effort. He lost 7-5, but was winning the match for two periods,” Yule said. “He’s a sophomore and a second-year wrestler. The improvements he’s made have been remarkable.”
Junior Dustin Conner (26-8) was 0-2 at 170. He lost an 8-0 major decision to Fulton’s Zach Benner and was pinned by Monett’s Wesley Abramovitz in 2:57.
“It was nice to see us really peak at districts. Half of our six kids who qualified technically weren’t expected to make it to state. They came though and beat worthy opponents to make it here. I was really proud of that fact. They kept wrestling through thick and thin,” Yule said. “We also had two other freshmen who I thought would make it to state and fell a little short. I’m excited that we had some younger kids who had success. Hopefully they get addicted to that and keep pushing forward.”