Driving forward on the mat
Wildcats taking hands-on approach to growth
In the third year of the wrestling program the Wildcats of Cassville are showing signs of growth and of youth.
The team, 22 members strong, has its senior leadership and also a crop of wet-behind-the-ears freshmen, but that has not stopped the Wildcats on the mats this season.
“We are working hard every day to get better,” said Nathan Fortner, Cassville coach. “We only took nine to Monett on Saturday because of how tough the tournament was, and the rest went to Seneca’s JV tourney. I was proud of the guys that went to Monett, Jose Melchor took third and Keaton Artherton was second in a field that was just loaded.”
The Monett Invitational contained four state-ranked teams and no fewer than 25 state placers in the 22-team field.
Cassville finished 14th with 94 points. Monett, the no. 1 ranked team in Class 2, won the tournament with 284 points.
“Right now, I am happy with how we are coming along,” Fortner said. “Our seniors, the ones that have stuck with me all three years, are wrestling at a high level. Jose and Keaton make it easy for me to coach. I don’t have to be the verbal guy in the room, and they, along with all of our seniors, work well helping the younger wrestlers.”
Fortner said the plan for his team is just drill and compete.
“We need mat time,” he said. “The best way to learn is just to go compete. Between now and districts, we need to get better in on technique. That is something that always needs improvement, but I like the group we have.”
Results from Monett are as follows:
113: Gavin Moore (4-12), 10th
126: Gabe Hunter (11-7), 10th
132: Jaden Davis (9-7), 12th
145: Keaton Artherton (17-2), 2nd
152: Jose Melchor (13-4), 3rd
170: Colton Messbarger (6-9), 11th
195: Nate Boley (4-7), 11th
220: Evan Kessinger (7-7), 12th
285: Garrett Kritz (8-10), 8th
Cassville travels to Branson on Saturday.