The tough out

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

‘Cats medal hopes ride on lone entry

For the third consecutive year, the Cassville wrestling program qualified for the state tournament in Columbia.

This was by far the most difficult qualification year for Cassville, thanks in large part to a district tournament that featured five teams ranked in the top 10.

Every weight class at the district tournament had either a defending state champion or multiple returning state placers.

Keaton Artherton was the only Wildcat to finish in the top four and earn a berth to the big dual, but Coach Nathan Fortner was excited to see how his team stacked up.

“Bottom line is we are just a third-year program, and we had four wrestlers on the bubble matches of the toughest district in the state,” Fortner said. “We are there, but just need that little extra training to get us over the hump.”

The Wildcats made strides this season with their underclassmen and wrestlers like Artherton are a big reason why. Fortner said he was like having another coach on the mat.

While the Wildcat senior took fourth at district, Cassville coaches believe he will make a run at state.

“I’m convinced that he can make the title match at state,” Fortner said. “Keaton is strong on his feet, and I think he is going to stun some people at state.”

Editor’s note: The Cassville Democrat will have coverage of the state wrestling tournament online at to keep our readers informed of Artherton’s progress.

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