Driving forward on the mat

Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Garrett Kritz throws his weight around Saturday for Cassville in the Monett tournament. Rebecca Merriman/Special to the Cassville Democrat

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.

Keaton Artherton earned a second-place finish in the Monett Tournament on Saturday for Cassville. He fell, 1-0, to a defending state champion in the title match. Rebecca Merriman/Special to the Cassville Democrat

“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.

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