Wildcats ride on to sectionals
All 6 Cassville wrestlers move ahead to next tournament
It was about as good a day as Cassville could have hoped for on Saturday, as all six of the Wildcats wrestlers competing in districts earned top-four placements and advanced to the sectional round in Seneca on Feb. 27.
“We had all our kids place, so it was a good day,” said Nathan Fortner, Cassville wrestling coach. “We met our expectations, though there were a couple of weights we could have placed higher. But, we have two more weeks to work on things and get another shot at those same kids.”
Cassville’s top finisher was senior and 220-pounder Zach Coenen, who won his semifinal match by fall and took first place with a 3-1 decision over Seneca’s Jakob Tate.
“Zach had been sick and had some issues hitting weight, so he hasn’t had as many matches as everyone else,” Fortner said. “In fact, he was still not feeling well at districts. He was getting over a cold and felt weak and drained, but he overcame that and wrestled well. Zach had wrestled [Tate] four or five times this year, and that’s the closest that kid has ever come to beating him.”
Coenen was fifth in the state last year at 195, and he will go into sectionals as the No. 1 seed.
Earning silvers for Cassville were senior Gabe Hunter, at 138, and sophomore Jake Anythonysz, at 145.
Hunter came up just short, falling to Logan-Rogersville’s Gabe Brandenburg in a 7-5 decision. Hunter and Brandenburg were tied at 2-2 going into the final round, and takedowns made the difference.
“There are some footwork things we have to work on,” Fortner said. “That kid got two takedowns on Gabe, and that won him the match. But, Gabe has a bigger gas tank. The other kid had four stalling calls. There just wasn’t enough time left to get the points back.
“That’s one of those matches we wish we had back. We know we can beat that kid. I told Gabe this wasn’t state, just districts, so we have another shot. That loss will absolutely motivate him, and I hope it lights a fire in him for sectionals because he is a senior so this is it.”
Anthonysz was pinned by Seneca’s Clayton Swadley in 2:43, and Fortner said some work over the net two weeks should prevent an similar situation at sectionals.
“Jake has wrestled that kid four times and he’s beat us three,” Fortner said. “The one time we beat him was at the Big 8 meet. Jake just got caught with his hips high and pinned, but the match was even up until then. He and Gabe are sparring partners in practice, so that loss should motivate him, too.”
Third-place finishers for Cassville were sophomore Kurt Deaver and Matthew Whittenburg, wrestling at 106 and 126, respectively.
“Kurt was beating the kid that ended up getting second, but he got caught and pinned,” Fortner said. “We’ve learned from that mistake and hope to fix it and get that kid back at sectionals.
“Matt wrestled really hard and has some stuff he has to clean up, but he definitely wrestled hard.”
Rounding out the qualifiers was senior Gavin Moore at 132, a journeyman of sorts for the Wildcats over the years. His wrestling career was on the line in the consolation semifinals against Hollister’s Jamie Gomez, and Moore prevailed with a win by fall in 4:11
“Gavin had a bubble match that was a go-no go, and he came up with the win to advance,” Fortner said. “He was really excited for that. Gavin is one of those kids that has been in and out of the varsity lineup for his whole high school career, so to see him be a senior and advance to sectionals is a big deal.”
As a team, Cassville finished fourth with 83 points. Seneca won the meet with 229, Monett took second with 134, and Logan-Rogersville was third with 110.
Full match results for Cassville follow:
106: Quarterfinals - Kurt Deaver (Cassville) over Cameron Mckendrick (Buffalo) (fall, 4:44)
106: Semifinals - Simon Hartline (Monett) over Kurt Deaver (Cassville) (fall, 1:52)
106: Consolation Semifinals - Kurt Deaver (Cassville) received a bye
106: 3rd Place Match - Kurt Deaver (Cassville) over Cameron Mckendrick (Buffalo) (fall, 4:49)
126: Quarterfinals - Matthew Whittenburg (Cassville) received a bye
126: Semifinals - Kendon Pollard (Seneca) over Matthew Whittenburg (Cassville) (fall, 1:12)
126: Consolation Semifinals - Matthew Whittenburg (Cassville) over Daniel Settles (Reeds Spring) (fall, 0:56)
126: 3rd Place Match - Matthew Whittenburg (Cassville) over Griffin Swearengin (Logan-Rogersville) (decision, 14-11)
132: Quarterfinals - Gavin Moore (Cassville) received a bye
132: Semifinals - Riley Williams (Logan-Rogersville) over Gavin Moore (Cassville) (fall, 1:15)
132: Consolation Semifinals - Gavin Moore (Cassville) over Jamie Gomez (Hollister) (fall, 4:11)
132: 3rd Place Match - Ben Bluel (Monett) over Gavin Moore (Cassville) (fall, 0:50)
138: Quarterfinals - Gabe Hunter (Cassville) received a bye
138: Semifinals - Gabe Hunter (Cassville) over Cole Whitehead (Seneca) (fall, 1:43)
138: 1st Place Match - Gabe Brandenburg (Logan-Rogersville) over Gabe Hunter (Cassville) (decision, 7-5)
145: Quarterfinals - Jake Anthonysz (Cassville) over Rhyn Withnell (Monett) (fall, 2:50)
145: Semifinals - Jake Anthonysz (Cassville) over Kit Farran (Logan-Rogersville) (decision, 1-0)
145: 1st Place Match - Clayton Swadley (Seneca) over Jake Anthonysz (Cassville) (fall, 2:43)
220: Quarterfinals - Zach Coenen (Cassville) received a bye
220: Semifinals - Zach Coenen (Cassville) over Joe Korasick (Monett) (fall, 3:00)
220: 1st Place Match - Zach Coenen (Cassville) over Jakob Tate (Seneca) (decision, 3-1)
Cassville will compete in sectionals on Feb. 27 in Seneca.