Two Bulldogs rose above the rest of the field Saturday at the Odessa Wrestling Invitational.
Wrestling in a scramble format, 2017 state champion Ryan Herman (152 pounds, red division) and undefeated Josh Richards (220 pounds, red division) each won individual championships at the event. No team scores were kept.
“This tournament provided our team the opportunity to compete with many of the top teams from the west side of our state,” Head Coach Mel Hughes said. “The competition in every weight class was as fierce as we have seen all year. The experience gained in both our individual victories and defeats will benefit our team greatly as we prepare for the district championships Feb. 9 and 10 and ultimately the Missouri State Championships Feb. 15-17.”
None of Herman’s matches went the distance as he defeated Chilicothe’s Kaleb Mullikin by a 26-11 technical fall in 3:56 and Logan-Rogersville’s Caleb Swearengin, 22-7, in another technical fall in 3:45. He pinned Odessa’s Vinny Monarca in 5:54.
Richards defeated Chillicothe’s Matthew Callen and Southern Boone’s Domini Lawrence by injury defaults. He pinned Odessa’s Xavier Walsh in 4:00 and edged Mexico’s Wyatt Turner by a 3-1 decision in overtime.
“Ryan Herman dominated with two wins by technical fall and one by pin to earn his championship,” Hughes said. “Josh Richards showed once again that he wrestles as hard in the overtime periods as he does in the first and came away with another overtime win in his championship match. Dalton Thompson had a strong day overall and had a solid performance in his only loss of the day against his opponent from Odessa who is currently ranked second in the state.”
Thompson placed second in the 120-pound red division. He scored three wins by pin, topping Marceline’s Colton Fisher in 1:42, Southern Boone’s Konnor Turner in 5:51 and Excelsior Springs’ Damon Ashworth in 1:09.
Odessa’s Austin Coons gave Thompson his only loss of the tournament in a 7-3 decision.
St. Clair also got a second-place finish from Brandon Lackey McDowell in the 138-pound black division.
McDowell scored two wins by pin, besting Chillicothe’s Daniel Hoel in 1:49 and Principia’s Nick Ishirnioglou in 2:42. He defeated Logan-Rogersville’s Owen Christian by a 7-2 decision before losing by technical fall against Osage’s Jack Creasy.
Aaron Herman finished third for the Bulldogs in the 182-pound red division. He won his first two matches, pinning Odessa’s Colby Wilson in 1:56 and getting an 8-2 decision against Marceline’s Seth Cupp.
Fulton’s Colton Bristol scored a pin on Aaron Herman in the fourth round and Herman then took an injury default against Chillicothe’s Kayde Burton in the final round.
“Aaron Herman placed third but was forced to default due to a nagging ankle injury,” Hughes said. “Trevion Harvey looked tough in all his matches, win or lose, and is improving as rapidly over the course of one season as any wrestler I have seen.”
Harvey placed fourth at 285, as did Jason Landing in the 132-pound red division, Trenton Balderson in the 145-pound black division and Randy Simpson in the 170-pound black division.
Landing had entered the tournament undefeated before taking two tight decision losses. Hughes noted the 132-pound bracket featured four of the top 5 ranked wrestlers in Missouri.
“Jason Landing came up just short of victory twice in arguably the toughest bracket of the tournament, losing 2-1 in his second bout of the day and 3-0 in his final bout,” Hughes said. “I was impressed with how Jason handled his first losses of the season and he and our coaching staff has full confidence in his ability to defeat anyone and everyone in the coming districts and state championships.”
Grant Bay was fifth in the only 160-pound division.
St. Clair wrestled its final regular-season meet Tuesday at home against Potosi and Mexico. The Bulldogs will next be in action at the Class 2 District 1 Tournament in Ste. Genevieve.