Pair of Wildcats 5th at state

Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Akhilleus Arguelles receives his fifth-place medal from Coach Nathan Fortner. Kyle Troutman/

Arguelles, Anthonysz bring home hardware

The fast-paced style of Cassville’s boys wrestlers paid off at the 2022 MSHSAA Wrestling Championships, as two of the team’s three participants found spots on the podium.

Cassville juniors Akhilleus Arguelles, at 132 pounds, and Jake Anthonysz, at 160 pounds, both ended the tournament with wins, taking fifth-place in their respective brackets. The pair are the fourth and fifth medalists in Cassville wrestling history, and this year was the first for the Wildcats to have two medal in the same year.

Jake Anthonysz receives his fifth-place medal from Coach Nathan Fortner. Kyle Troutman/

“The boys had a very good tournament.” said Nathan Fortner, Cassville wrestling coach. “Kurt [Deaver] has never even been to an arena like this before, so he go to se something totally new and had two buddies with him. I love that he got this experience.”

Deaver, in the 113-pound bracket, was pinned in his first two matches and eliminated form contention. He said the experience is one he will remember.

“I feel like I could have done better, maybe by changing my mindset before each match,” he said. “The atmosphere and noise of all the people in the stands was tough to deal with.”

Arguelles was forced into wrestlebacks after a quarterfinal loss to runner-up Landen Davis, of Excelsior Springs. He then won two more consolation matches to guarantee himself a medal before falling again to third-place finisher Gavin Gross, of St. Genevieve.

In his final match of the tournament, he earned an 18-3 technical fall over Jacob Foster, of Logan-Rogersville.

“I feel good,” he said. “This was better than my freshman year [when I won one match at state] and way better than last year [when I was ineligible],” he said. “I feel like I could have done a little better in the [consolation] semis, but I feel I did pretty good. I wish I had come out faster from the start in that match instead of trying to feel him out.”

Fortner said Arguelles’ go-get-em style is the reason he’s on the podium to begin with.

“Triple-A is a go-getter,” Fortner said. “There will be points on the board when he wrestles. He never slows down, and he has some serious power in his hips and can pick up and slam anyone.

“I like when he mixes it up. Sometimes it hurts him, but the majority of the time, he catches the kid and gets him on his back. Or, if he gives up points, he can always come back. I wish I had more kids that wrestled like him and let loose.”

Anthonysz worked his way to the semifinals before falling to eventual champion Jay Greiner, of Lafayette-St. Joseph, by a 7-2 decision. He lost a 5-1 decision in the consolation semifinal before rebounding with a 3-2 tiebreaker win over Ty Shetley, of Sullivan.

Anthonysz earned an escape in the first half of overtime, hen held Shetley in the second half to secure the win.

“I feel good to finally get to the big show and make it on the podium,” he said. “I will remember this for the rest of my life. It was a weekend I’ll never forget.”

Anthonnysz said in his losses, he wishes he had been a little more technical.

“When I try to take my shots, I try to shoot into space, and you can’t do that here,” he said. “They were too good.”

Fortner said Anthonysz is his most technical wrestler, and his improvement has been astronomical.

“Triple-A worked a ton, and that’s why he got on the podium, but no one outworks Jake,” Fortner said. “He’s won my Iron Man award every year because he never misses a practice, watches film, is respectful and always works to get better. After every match, win or lose, he asks what he can do better.

“He jumped a level this year. The kid that won state only beat him 7-2. It’s rare that you have a kid that wants to learn and gets better as much as Jake does.”

Each of the Wildcats said a big help this year was having teammates at the Championships.

“I’m glad more guys came up than in years past,” Arguelles said. “It helps us with warming up and reminding me that I’m ad good as everyone else here.”

“It’s really fun having teammates here and getting to watch them battle,” Deaver said.

“It’s nice to have teammates here, from the hotel room to cheering each other on,” Anthonysz said.

The Wildcats also said they are already pumped for next season.

“I’m pretty motivated for next year,” Arguelles said. “I will work over the summer so I can come back better.”

“I want to spend more time in practice and go over my moves,” Deaver said. “I feel like I go too fast sometimes and need to take my time.”

“We will all be back next year, and we have some eighth-grade hammers coming up,” Fortner said. “Some of those kids may be qualifying and placing here as freshmen next year.”

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: