Dragons dominate for Midland Empire Conference championship
ST. JOSEPH — The Cameron Dragons took the Midland Empire Conference championship by nearly a 100-point margin with all but three grapplers medaling Saturday.
With five gold medalists, five silver medalists and a trio of fourth-place finishes the Dragons easily took the MEC title, besting second-place Chillicothe by 89 points.
Caleb Husch(34-2), freshman, lightweight
After pinning Savannah’s Gage Schottle (19-5) in the first round, Husch continued rolling through the MEC competition with pins of Elliot Copeland (3-14) and Sheldon Rader (17-3) to take gold.
“I feel like I made the matches look easier than they were,” Husch said. “They were actually really hard. I need to improve me endurance, lasting a lot longer than them and getting in their heads.”
Tanner Riley (32-2), sophomore, 113 pounds
After a first-round bye, Riley cruised in his gold medal performance with first round pins of Sal Mormino (6-10) of St. Pius X, then took only 45 seconds longer to pin Andy Nyugen (18-12) of Lafayette.
“I did pretty good. Last time, the Lafayette kid lasted a little longer than he did today,” Riley said. “I just had to come out and get what I had to do done. Going out there, being aggressive, taking them down and doing what I had to do on top (made the difference).”
Coleman Oxford (34-4), senior, 120 pounds
After reaching the 100-win milestone, Oxford has not let up in his quest to a Missouri State Activities Association title. After a first-round bye, Oxford began the day with a first-round pin of St. Pius X’s Manuel Chavez (4-14), then followed it with first-round pins of Angelo Barron (17-12) of Benton, Austin Allen (11-10) of Lafayette and Aidan Zimmerman (8-10) of Chillicothe to end the day.
Chase Short (14-2),
freshman, 126 pounds
Short began the day with a second-round pin of Trevor Johnson (20-11) of Lafayette, earned a bye in the second round and crush Chillicothe freshman Jaxon Albertson (7-19) in the third round. Benton’s Tyler Murphy (8-1) edged Short in the fourth round, but he rebounded by annihilating Ethan Hunter (9-8) of St. Pius X bronze with a 15-0 major decision.
Brecken Gates (29-7), sophomore, 132 pounds
Gates began the day with a third-round pin of Savannah’s Will Courtney (15-9), following up with a first-period pin of Christop Arias (13-15) of Lafayette, but fell to Chillicothe’s Colten Sewell (15-2) in the championship round in a 9-1 major decision.
Grant Thompson (22-10), senior, 138 pounds
Thompson became only one of three Dragons to not medal Saturday. After a first-period loss by pin-fall to Maryville’s Drew Spire (15-6), Thompson fought his way into the bronze medal match after tech-falling Savannah’s Chase Hinton (9-13) in the third round. He later picked up a third-period pin of Chillicothe’s Ruger Cox (9-14), fell to tournament champion Jay Greiner (33-1) of Lafayette with a first-round pin and ended the day with a 10-0 major decision loss to silver medalist Xavier Arambula (16-13).
Tristan Brown (30-7),
senior, 145 pounds
Brown kicked off his day with an 8-0 major decision over Chillicothe’s Bryce Dominique (13-7), then crushed Maryville freshman Macen Shurvington (6-10) with a pin in 38 seconds and took only 12 seconds longer to pin St. Pius X’s Chase Holtzman. He came up short of the gold after falling to Benton senior standout Cristian Dixon (25-1) with a pin in the first period of the championship round.
Caleb Worland (38-2),
senior, 152 pounds
Although stepping up a weight class due to the unforeseen departure of senior Aaron Anders, Worland rolled through the competition while adding to his 150-win milestone. Worland took only 17 seconds to defeat Savannah’s Noah Duncan (4-20), followed it with another pin of Lafayette’s Anthony Hawkins (8-11) and ended the day by rolling through St. Pius X’s Nick Voss (11-8) with a first-round pin to take gold.
Kobly Robinson (25-12), junior, 160 pounds
Robinson began the day with a second-round pin of Lafayette’s Riley Hamm (14-16), then took another pin-fall victory over Savannah’s Jacob Lorraine (8-20), but fell to eventual champion Dawson Wheeler (14-1) in the third round. He ended the day with a loss in the bronze medal round to Maryville’s Conner Weiss (9-7) by pin-fall shortly before the first-period whistle.
Jacob Husch (25-9), senior, 170 pounds
Using his stout takedown defense and strong-arming opponents with his patented cradle, Husch cruised to victor with first-period pins of Lafayette’s Fabian Hudson (16-17), St. Pius X’s Peter Perlik (6-10) and took only a few moments more for a second-period pins of Benton’s Korbin Wolf (17-14) and Chillicothe’s Brock Miller (13-5). He fell in the championship round to Savannah’s Gabe Hummer (20-3) to end the day with a silver medal.
Keegan Reynold (33-5),
junior, 182 pounds
Reynolds began the day with a victory over Benton’s Remington Boldbridge, propelling himself in the air on a flying half-nelson for the first-period pin. After a second-round bye, Reynolds continued rolling through the competition with a second-period pin of Chillicothe’s Isaih Kille (5-4), but fell in the championship round to St. Pius X’s undefeated senior Eddie Omencene (21-0) in a 4-2 decision.
Camren Hedgpeth (33-5), junior, 195
With state championship aspirations, Hedgpeth cruised to victory with a trio of first-period pins of Savannah’s Dillon Spicer (5-19), Chillicothe’s Evan Loucks (7-10) and Lafayette’s Brett Lynch (12-20). In the championship round, he edged Maryville’s Keiren Watkins (19-6).
“I’ve faced [Watkins] before and beat him, but I just wasn’t myself today,” Hedgpeth said. “He kind of picked me apart and found the stuff I wasn’t good at. I’ll see him again at district. Hopefully, I’ll stick him again like I did last week.”
Kaden Brown, (23-14), freshman, 220
In his first year at the high school level, Brown continues turning heads. He began the day with a third-period pin of Lafayette’s Joseph Brewka (9-15), then won a 10-9 decision of Savannah’s Ben Walker (20-7) coming back from being down 8-2 in the second period. He seemed unstoppable with a flurry of double and single-leg takedowns to pull him back into contention with the last coming with only second left in the third period. He fell to Maryville standout Kort Watkins (22-6) in the third round, then rebounded with a first period pin of St. Pius X’s Daniel Burns (3-17) and ended the day with a loss to Chillicothe standout Isaac Washburn on a 9-0 major decision.
Wyatt Burnett (27-10), junior, heavyweight
After a first-round bye, Burnett wasted no time in pinning Savannah’s Hunter Lucker (11-26) 42 seconds into the first period, then followed it with a third-period pin of Lafayette’s Brayden Addington, but ended the day with a second-period loss via pin-fall to Chillicothe’s Christian Peniston.