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High School Wrestling: Jackson holds end of the year banquet

Nearly a month after the Jackson wrestling team’s season
came to an end after finishing tied for 22nd place at the Class 4 State
Championships, the team held its end of the year banquet on March 13.

This is where the team hands out its end of the year awards, and also
celebrates the season while honoring what each wrestler accomplished this

“At the beginning of the season knowing that we had lost 15 wrestlers, eight to
graduation and seven didn’t come back out, we thought this season could be a
very tough season,” head coach Steve Wachter said. “In ways it was, but in ways
it wasn’t. It seems like our seniors really stepped up and showed great
leadership, and everyone else just followed along really well.”

Seniors Gus and Payne Guilliams were named the Most Outstanding Wrestler 2017
and also won the MVP and Captain Award.

Two other seniors for Jackson also earned awards that night with senior Zach
Flath being named Most Improved Wrestler and senior Bryce Dickerson was named
Most Inspirational.

Something else these four wrestlers have in common besides winning end of the
season awards is that they each qualified for state.

This was the third time Gus Guilliams qualified for the Class 4 State
Championship Meet while it was the second time for Dickerson and Payne

Gus was the only returner for Jackson this season to have earned All-State
honors with a sixth-place finish in 2016, but his cousin Payne managed to be
the only wrestler for Jackson to earn the honor this season.

Payne placed fifth in the state championship meet, and won his 40th match of
the year to do so, which was the most wins by any Jackson wrestler this season.

Payne was also named Academic All-State thanks to his 3.95 grade point average,
and also earned Academic SEMO All-Conference for the fourth time in his career.

Gus earned the honor of being a four-time Academic SEMO All-Conference Wrestler
as well this year while also winning his third SEMO Conference Championship.

Gus also scored the most points out of any Jackson wrestler this season with
210 on the year while also having the best overall record at 38-4.

Both wrestlers also cemented their name in Jackson wrestling history by
exceeding 100-career wins this season.

Gus is 16th all time in Jackson history with 130 wins and 20 losses with Payne
being 22nd all time at 119 wins and 30 losses.

Four other wrestlers for Jackson also earned Academic All-Conference honors,
which were freshman Alec Bailey, Dickerson, junior Cole Welker and sophomore
Justin Singleton.

Four of those wrestlers won SEMO Conference Championships during the season
with Bailey at 106 pounds, Gus at 126, Payne at 152 and Dickerson at 220.

Jackson had two other SEMO Conference Champions this year with Flath winning
the 138-pound title and sophomore Braden Vaugier winning at 132.

Having six conference champions helped lead Jackson to win its 22nd SEMO
Conference Championship, which marked the 37th time the Indians finished in the
top two in tournament history.

Vaugier, who went 26-0 on the junior varsity squad as a freshman to earn Most
Outstanding Freshman a year ago, was named Most Outstanding Sophomore at this
year’s banquet.

Vaugier also had more takedowns than any Indian this season with 47 on the

Flath, who had the most pins out of any varsity wrestler for Jackson at 22,
qualified for state the first time in his career this season.

Each season prior to this one, Flath was a part of the junior varsity squad and
only lost two matches between his sophomore and junior seasons.

Jackson’s junior varsity team remained undefeated through the 2016-17 season to
continue its state record of now 26 years of not losing a dual meet [242
straight wins].

Jackson had another wrestler on junior varsity finish the season undefeated,
and that was freshman Noah Urhan.

Urhan went 31-0 to have the best record and most victories for junior varsity
while also having the most pins with 22.

Even with Urhan going undefeated as a freshman, it was Jackson varsity’s Bailey
and Cole Amelunke who shared the award of Most Outstanding Freshman.

Bailey had an overall record of 37-6 in his first year while Amelunke, who is
known by the team as “Ammo,” became one of Jackson’s five wrestlers to qualify
for the state meet.

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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