Dynamic duo heads to state for Wildcats
Wrestling program produces in inaugural varsity season
Nowhere is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat any more on display than at the district wrestling tournament.
In wrestling, it is a one-on-one matchup, and there is no one to help you and nowhere to hide once the match starts.
On Saturday, two Cassville wrestlers, junior Wyatt Goade and sophomore Logan Carlin, wrote their names into Wildcat wrestling lore by becoming the first two grapplers to qualify for the state tournament in the program’s short history.
“I honestly didn’t know what type of athletes I was inheriting at Cassville,” said Nathan Fortner, Cassville coach. “I can say now that the players that we have on this team are loaded with talent, and we have a solid foundation.”
Fortner said his goal was to have a state qualifier in his first three seasons. Achieving that goal in his first three months was icing on the cake.
“All of these wrestlers just laid it on the line,” Fortner said. “Wrestling is more than just positions and techniques. The athletes have to focus on their diets and maintain weight. It is a mental and physical grind.”
In its inaugural season the Wildcats were lightly regarded. In fact, no Cassville wrestler was seeded in the top six at the district tournament, which made for cliff hanger matches
“These guys nearly gave me a heart attack,” Fortner said of Goade and Carlin. “They never stop fighting, and now, they are headed to state.”
Goade opened the double-elimination district tourney with a loss to Reeds Spring’s Conner Schafer, 14-8.
With his back against the wall, Goade then pinned Jackson Sartin of Southern Boone and topped Isaac Swearinggen of Logan Rogersville, 3-2, and Alex Thuro of Springfield Catholic, 7-3.
Meanwhile, Shafer won his next match and but fell in the quarterfinal round to set up a rematch with Goade in the bubble round, also called the heartbreak round due to the fact the winner qualifies for state and the loser is eliminated from the tournament.
“For Wyatt to come back less than 24 hours after losing to the same kid and win was impressive,” Fortner said. “He is a very technical wrestler who is always trying to improve.”
Goade has only wrestled since his freshman year, he said the goal no is to place at state.
“I have to win my first two matches to get in the top six,” he said. “I want to enjoy the experience and just have fun.”
Goade finished third at districts, defeating Adrian Ransom of Clinton in the consolation championship, 5-3.
Carlin, who has a brawling style of wrestling, also fell in his first match in Clinton.
He profited from a double-bye before pinning Ethan Urhlaub of Odessa.
He then battled Clayton Johnson of Reeds Spring in the heartbreak round, scoring a 1-point escape in the final 10 seconds to earn a 4-3 decision.
“Coach just kept screaming at me to go,” Carlin said. “I rode him out in the second period, and he controlled everything but the last few seconds in the third.”
Fortner said that Carlin’s drive is what makes him unique.
“He never stops,” Fortner said. “For three periods he will battle you no matter what the score of the match is. That is why he made it to state.”
Carlin finished fourth, falling to Nolan Miller of Pleasant Hill.
“We established two things at Cassville,” Fortner said. “We have two guys that can be our leaders for next year, and we have a program that has progressed faster than we expected.”
Fortner said the two players and he will travel to Columbia on Wednesday. Matches begin on Thursday. Live results will be posted and tweeted on the Cassville Democrat Facebook page and on Twitter @CassDemSports.