Wildcats make statement at state

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
In its first year as a varsity program, Cassville’s Wyatt Goade secured a medal for the Wildcats and set the bar high for the program’s second season. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

Goade highlights tourney with 6th place finish

Very few people outside of the Rock Gym at Cassville believed that any Wildcat wrestler could qualify, let alone earn a state medal, in the program’s first year of varsity competition.

Nearly all of the conversations were geared toward the future of the program and building a solid foundation.

But through all of the posturing, no one could see the pride, heart and determination the wrestlers brought to practice each day. Logan Carlin and Wyatt Goade showed why no one should ever judge a book by its cover.

The two Wildcat grapplers made history by qualifying for the state tournament. Just to reach the tournament was quite an accomplishment, as both lost their opening-round district matches and faced four elimination bouts just to qualify for Columbia.

Carlin’s brawling style of wrestling embodied the attitude of the Wildcats team that never quit.

Although he lost his first two matches at state, as a sophomore he saw what he needed to do to get better.

Goade said before the state tourney that he wanted to win a medal. He accomplished that goal by simply winning his first two matches. To reach the quarterfinals, Goade gained the attention of the entire Mizzou Arena crowd with a takedown with 13 seconds left in the match, which gave way to a thrilling overtime victory to reach the semifinals.

“A lot of people came here to watch me,” Goade said. “Everyone in Cassville is rooting for me, texting me. My phone’s been blowing up non-stop this week.”

Not only does Goade have the distinction of winning the Wildcats’ first medal at state in program history, he was also the only competitor this year to win a state medal in a program’s first year in any classification.

Officials, coaches, other wrestlers and fans of other teams all congratulated Goade for his accomplishment.

He saw the best in the state in the semifinal, as it was Brit Wilson from Mexico who pinned him, won the state title. Goade’s frustration with a sixth place finish was understandable — no one likes to lose.

“I wish I could’ve placed higher, but it is what it is,” Goade said. “This experience is going to motivate me for next year. I want to come here and place even higher. Making state this year is going to help [the program] a lot. More people are going to come out next year. There’s already a lot of talent, and there’s going to be even more.”

Nathan Fortner, Cassville coach, noted that his team now has two leaders to set the tone for the program’s next season.

“Our guys showed they have tremendous heart,” Fortner said. “I think the experience of coming here is motivation itself. These guys aren’t satisfied with what they got. They want more, and as a coach, that is encouraging.”

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