Another tournament, another first-place finish for the Jackson wrestling team as the Indians took the 51st annual Kinloch Classic with a score of 535 points.
Eight Indians finished in the top four of their respective weight classes as sophomore Garner Horman (24-1) won the 145-pound bracket.
Junior 120-pounder Alec Bailey (21-3) and sophomore 170-pounder Cole Parker (20-4) reached their first-place matches but came up short to place second.
“We’re pretty well balanced, which is what I’m very happy with,” Jackson Head Coach Steve Wachter said. “We put 11 in the top six, eight in the top four and all fourteen were in the top 12. That team balance is a great thing — especially for a coach — and it’s a real positive thing if we’re trying to win what I call ‘small tournaments.’”
The five other wrestlers for Jackson to place in the top four of the tournament include junior Riley Wiseman (19-2) at 106 pounds, junior Grady Livingston (16-3) at 126, senior Braden Vaugier (23-3) at 152, junior Cole Amelunke (18-2) at 182 and senior Nathan Reiminger (18-5) at 195.
None of Jackson’s current varsity starters have double-digit losses while 11 of them are above .500 as all have at least 18 or more wins this season. Eight of them have less than five losses.
“With higher competition levels you might have more losses, but that doesn’t mean that you’re a bad wrestler, it just means you’ve wrestled some really tough opponents,” Wachter said. “I don’t have a single man on my team that’s undefeated, and to be honest, if you go through our schedule and are undefeated — you’re a pretty tough wrestler. It’s hard to stay undefeated.”
For Horman to win his individual title, Coach Wachter said he had to wrestle three difficult matches back-to-back-to-back.
On day one to determine seeding, Horman pinned four opponents and received a bye in the fourth round.
In the quarterfinal round, Horman faced Warrensburg’s Colby Benge (11-5) in a match that went into sudden victory. Horman was able to pull out the win at 7-5.
Horman brought Republic junior Jonathan O’Connell’s undefeated season to an end by a 5-4 decision to reach the first-place match. O’Connell took second place at 132 pounds in last year’s Class 3 State Meet.
The 145-pound title bout against Bolivar junior Austin Coons (18-2) went all three periods as well, with Horman coming on top by one point at 3-2 to finish the tournament undefeated.
“Garner had a really, really good tournament, and he just wrestled really well,” Coach Wachter said. “We know he has those tools, and he’s getting more confidence with time. He’s really starting to wrestle [to his potential].”
Like Horman, Bailey received one bye and won four of his matches via pin on day one of the tournament.
Bailey continued his dominance by pinning Raymore Peculiar’s Coleton Cahill (21-8) with 42 seconds left in the second period in the quarterfinals.
Bailey followed that up by pinning Rogerts Heritage’s JC White 43 seconds into the second period of the semifinals before facing Rolla sophomore 120-pounder Alexander Sederburg (23-2) for first place. Sederburg took third-place at 106 pounds in the 2018 Class 3 State Meet.
This was the first match at Kinloch that lasted all three periods for Bailey as he fell to Sederburg 4-2.
“Bailey has lost to some outstanding wrestlers this season,” Wachter said. “The two he lost to earlier this season are ranked two or third in Class 4, and the kid from Rolla is probably ranked in the top three of Class 3.
“Alec has really put in a lot of time. He’s wrestled a lot as a youth and in a lot of national tournaments, and so he’s getting better and better about dealing with the pressure of those finals matches.”
Parker has filled in for senior Justin Singleton at 170 pounds this season, who suffered an injury in the football team’s final game. Parker won four matches by pinfall, one by technical fall and one by decision to reach the first-place match of the Kinloch Classic.
“Parker has had a really great season already, and he’s wrestled a lot through USA and little league,” Coach Wachter said. “He’s put in a lot of time, and he’s really starting to mature and get a lot stronger. All that time he’s put in is really starting to pay off for him.”
The next tournament for the Indians will be the annual SEMO Conference Meet, which will be held in Farmington Jan. 18 and 19. Jackson has won conference each of the last two seasons, and Coach Wachter believes his team can continue that winning streak.
“I think our schedule is good for the conference, but we just need to continue to do what we’ve been doing,” Wachter said. “If we enter conference healthy and keep doing what we’re doing, we might be able to be successful in conference again.