Wildcat wrestling ready for round 2
Cassville aims for larger travel party to Columbia
A year ago, wrestling came to Cassville with the familiar buzz of being the new program on the offer block.
Not much was expected of the program in its first year of varsity competition, the only problem was that no one informed the Wildats wrestler of the relaxed expectations.
Cassville sent two grapplers to state in its first year and brought home a state medal.
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, 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. He finished sixth overall.
“Our guys showed they have tremendous heart,” said Nathan Fortner, Cassville coach. “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.”
The Wildcats have talent to build around in 170-pound Goade and 160-pound Carlin.
Cassville did graduate five senior starters, but there are some guys with intrigue.
Expected to help the Wildcats this season are: Gavin Moore (106), Lakota Babb (113), Gabe Hunter (120) in the first three weight classes. However, the team returns Jaden Davis (126), Blake Gordon (132), Jose Melcher (145), Michael Hunter (152), Colton Moore (182) and Caleb Lucero (195).
Other notables include Ethan Youngman (152), Logan Tolbert (160), Owen Morris (170), Mark Collingwood (182), Colter West (195), Jamie Auginaga and Grant Davis (220) and Mason Hendricks in the heavyweight division.
Keaton Atherton, at 138, has transferred from Diamond High School.
“I think we’re going to have a full team,” Fortner said. “So I’m excited to see what they’re going to be able to do this year.”
Cassville opens the season on Dec. 19 at Carl Junction.