With lofty goals for the MSHSAA wrestling championships, Washington left Mizzou Arena in Columbia a bit disappointed.
The Blue Jays did not bring home a Class 3 team trophy with a top four finish or an individual state champion.
Washington had four all-state medalists and finished seventh in the team standings with 63 points.
“We’re pretty disappointed in our overall team performance. That’s not to take anything away from some great individual performances. As a team, we did not achieve what we went there to do,” said Washington Head Coach Josh Ohm. “I think our biggest problem was not wrestling for a full six minutes. At that level, you can’t take any breaks or stop wrestling. That got us into a lot of trouble.
“Once things started to not go our way, we were unable to recover and start over. It’s another learning experience. Regardless of what happened, I’m very proud of what we accomplished as a team. We had a great season. We’ll will be right back at it soon to continue to improve and work to obtain our goals.”
Leading Washington’s 11 state qualifiers was Nicholas Solter, who reached the 126-pound finals and settled for a second-place finish. He lost by technical fall, 15-0, to Hannibal’s Tyler Janes in the finals.
“I’ll be happy with it later down the road. Going into the match, I thought I had a better shot than how it went,” Solter said. “I knew it was going to be tough. It was hard.”
Solter (48-4) won by technical fall over Webb City’s Austin Thomas 18-3, claimed a 5-4 decision over McCluer’s Kamerun Williams and knocked off Neosho’s Kyler Rea 6-3 in the semifinals.
“We are very proud and happy for Nicholas to become a state runner-up for his first time reaching the podium,” Ohm said. “The greatest asset that Nicholas brings to every competition is his confidence.”
Kyle Summers (45-5) reached the medal stand with a 4-2 record and a fifth-place finish at 182 pounds. He pinned Platte County’s Adam Muehlebach in 51 seconds in the fifth-place match, the same opponent he lost to by a 13-12 decision in the quarterfinals.
“He’s the one who made me not achieve my goal. I just took it out on him,” Summers said. “I was taking it to him in the quarterfinals. He had no business being in the match. He head and armed me and got back in the match. Then he took the lead late when he head and armed me again.”
“Anything less that a state title was going to be a disappointment for Kyle, but we are proud of the way he came back after a heartbreaking quarterfinal loss to reach the podium,” Ohm said. “Kyle not only had a great season, but a great career. He has a lot to be proud of for what he’s done for this program.”
Also earning state medals with sixth-place finishes were Parker Neptune (113) and Logan Baird (195).
Neptune (35-12) posted a 3-3 state record. He lost a 4-0 decision to Platte County’s Mathew Barmann in the fifth-place match.
“It’s nice to get to state and be a medalist, but it’s not what I strive for or what this team strives for. We strive to be the best and anything less is disappointing,” Neptune said. “It’s my second year at state and my first medal. I have eight months to get better. Some of my matches were better than others, but I’m satisfied with how I prepared myself for state.”
“All six medalists in that bracket were extremely close. If you wrestled that tournament three times, all six of those guys could trade places on the podium,” Ohm said. “We’re excited that Parker became a medalist, but even more excited about how this has motivated him to prepare for his upcoming senior season.”
Baird (46-8) posted a 3-3 state record. He held a late 1-0 lead in the fifth-place match, but suffered a 2-1 loss to Kearney’s Brandon Adams.
“We put the work in the wrestling room and the results didn’t come out the way we wanted them to. We still gave all of our hearts to it,” Baird said. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with a gold medal, but I’m satisfied. I’m happy to get my first state medal.”
“Logan very quietly had a standout season and became a state medalist,” Ohm said. “More people should really understand just how great Logan did the past two years.”
Cole Hamai, who entered the state meet with a 43-0 record, did not reach the medal stand, going 2-2 at 145 pounds to finish with a 45-2 mark. He lost to eventual state champion Johnny Blankenship of Platte County in the first round in overtime.
“Although Cole didn’t finish his career the way probably almost everyone thought he would, it cannot go unrecognized that he is by far the most accomplished wrestler to ever step foot on the mat for Washington,” Ohm said. “He won three state medals, three conference titles and four district titles. He has been a great asset to this team the past four years and will be greatly missed.”
Also competing for Washington and not earning medals were:
• Cody Hey (106) with a 1-2 record, finishing 31-21 overall;
• Cody Gardner (132) with a 1-2 record, ending 14-6;
• Josh Luck (138) with a 0-2 record, finishing 38-16;
• Izeck Elbert (152) with a 0-2 record, ending 13-10;
• Jeremy Monehan (160) with a 0-2 record, finishing 28-24; and
• Matt Pecka (285) with a 1-2 record, ending 36-9.
“Our seniors on this team must be recognized. Over the past four years, they’ve brought this program to a new level and one that we will work hard to keep at that level,” Ohm said. “Their list of accomplishments is too long to list, but we are very thankful that they’ve been a part of this program.”