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High School Wrestling: Jackson celebrates 2019-20 season with annual banquet

Jackson’s wrestling season ended back in February, but the Indians were unable to hold their annual end of the year banquet until late this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2019-20 campaign was a historic one for Jackson, and the team accomplished something that no SEMO Conference team has ever done, which was win the conference tournament four years in a row. This conference title was also the 25th overall for the Indians and was the 40th time they have finished in the top two in the tournament.

Jackson also had nine wrestlers qualify for this year’s Class 4 State Meet as three of them placed in the top six of their weight class to earn All-State. Those Indians were 2020 graduates Cole Amelunke (fourth at 195 pounds), Alec Bailey (sixth at 126) and current senior Garner Horman (third at 152).

Amelunke (3.81 GPA), Horman (3.77) and Bailey (3.72) also earned Academic All-State honors.

The other six Indians to qualify for state were graduates Riley Wiseman (113), Noah Uhrhan (160), David Ekstam (220), senior Cole Parker (182), junior Liam Bryant (285) and sophomore Griffin Horman (138).

Garner Horman was the only wrestler for Jackson to win an individual district championship while also claiming a conference title. Wiseman, Uhrhan, Parker and Amelunke also won individual conference championships. Bailey, Ekstam and fellow graduate Levi Kaelin (145) were each conference finalists as Bailey finished his career as a three-time SEMO Conference Champion.

The Indians had a total of nine wrestlers earn Academic All-Conference: Uhrhan (4.02 GPA), Amelunke, Riley Wiseman (3.81), Rhett Wise-man (3.81), Garner Horman, Kaelin (3.76), Bailey, Bryant (3.57) and sophomore Tyler Bayette (3.50).

Amelunke and Bailey finished in the top-10 most career wins in program history as Bailey currently ranks sixth all-time with 163 as Amelunke is eighth at 146. Both are now wrestling in college as Amelunke is with Westminster, while Bailey attends Lindenwood.

Garner Horman and Parker also have 100 career wins as Horman is in the top 25 with 121 with Parker having 101. Horman took home two of the team’s Stat Awards by recording the most team points (242) and pins (29).

Finishing with the best overall record was Amelunke at 41-4, while Bailey and Riley Wiseman produced the most wins with 42 apiece. Kaelin came up with the most takedowns at 85.

Sharing Jackson’s MVP Award were Amelunke and Bailey as Garner Horman took home Most Outstanding. Winning Most Inspirational was graduate Grady Livingston, while Ekstam was named Most Improved.

Four wrestlers earned the Iron Man Award voted on by the coaching staff: Kaelin, Riley and Rhett Wiseman and Uhrhan.

The junior varsity team recorded its 29th-consecutive undefeated season and has won 272 duals in a row, both currently standing as national records.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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