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High School Wrestling: Jackson returns four state qualifiers from last season

Last winter, not only did the Jackson wrestling team win a record fourth-straight SEMO Conference Tournament Championship, but the Indians also placed in the top 12 of the Class 4 State Tournament for the second season in a row.

Jackson did so by having three of its nine state qualifiers place in the top six of their weight class to earn all-state honors. These Indians were none other than 2020 graduates Cole Amelunke and Alec Bailey along with senior Garner Horman.

Horman placed the highest by taking third in the 152-pound weight class to become a two-time all-state medalist for Jackson. Amelunke and Bailey, who are both now wrestling at the college level, placed fourth at 195 and sixth at 126, respectively.

Amelunke (two-time all-state medalist) officially signed with Westminster to not only continue his wrestling career but also play football, while Bailey (three-time all-state) inked with Lindenwood.

Both of these wrestlers finished in the top-10 most wins in program history as Bailey ended his career at No. 6 with 163 wins as Amelunke placed three spots behind him at No. 9 with 146 of his own.

On top of graduating Amelunke and Bailey, other 2019-20 state qualifiers like Riley Wiseman (113), Levi Kaelin (145), Noah Uhrhan (160) and lastly David Ekstam (220) also graduated over the summer.

Horman amassed 100 victories last season as he currently sits at No. 24 in the top-25 most wins in program history with 121. Another returning wrestler for Jackson reached 100 wins last season in fellow senior Cole Parker, who qualified for state at 182 pounds.

Both Horman and Parker also won individual conference champions as Horman was the only Indian to win a Class 4 District 1 title last winter. Looking back at his state performance, Horman became the first Indian to place third since Jarrett Reisenbichler did so back in the 2014-2015 season.

Horman will have the chance to not only become a three-time conference and two-time district champion, but he could also become a three-time all-state medalist, which only five other wrestlers in Jackson history have ever accomplished.

Like his fellow all-state honorees from last season, Horman will wrestle in college as well since he verbally committed to William Jewell College last week.

The two other state qualifiers returning for the Indians along Horman and Parker are junior Liam Bryant, who will remain as the team’s heavyweight, and Garner’s younger brother sophomore Griffin Horman.

Bryant was one of Jack-son’s 10 wrestlers to pick up at least 30 wins last season while he lost 11. Horman was only two victories away from reaching 30 himself as he compiled a record of 28-17 in his first year of varsity competing at 138.

Before Bryant qualified for the state meet, he also helped lead the Indians to win their fourth-straight conference title by placing third overall in his weight class to earn all-conference honors.

The fourth and final returning wrestler for Jackson to earn an all-conference medal with Bryant, Garner Horman and Parker was sophomore Tyler Beyatte, who only wrestled in 15 varsity matches last winter. At 170 pounds, Beyatte was able to take third place at conference as his only loss in the tournament came to three-time conference champion and 2020 Dexter graduate Travis Waldner.

Out of individual wrestlers in the SEMO Conference, Waldner was one of the three to reach his respective state championship match. Waldner placed second in Class 2 as it was his only loss of the season to finish with a record of 50-1.

Another wrestler who saw plenty of varsity competition last winter was sophomore Trenton Bollinger, who finished with a record of 16-15 at 106 pounds.

As a member of the junior varsity, Beyatte was one of the two Indians to finish with a perfect record at 24-0. The other Jackson wrestler to go undefeated on J.V. was sophomore Tanner Mitchell (8-0) at 182.

With eight weight classes open due to graduating seniors, there will be plenty of competition to see who can fill those spots. A lot of wrestlers who primarily competed on J.V. last winter will need to step up.

Beyatte will likely fill a spot as other wrestlers like seniors Dylan Bomar, Devin Reiminger, Wyatt Rose, juniors Jace Davis, Gabe Estes, Flint Guilliams, Carson Hartlein and Jayden Moore will compete for spots as well. Bomar, Davis, Estes, Hartlein, Reiminger and Moore each recorded at least 23 wins on J.V.

Guilliams only wrestled 17 J.V. matches while going 16-1 at 145 pounds as he wrestled 10 on varsity and went 8-2 at 126.

There will also be a few more underclassman like Beyatte that could compete on the varsity level this season in sophomores Craig Aufdenberg and Tony Terry. Aufdenberg finished with the most wins amongst any freshman at 25-4 wrestling at 120, while Terry only suffered one loss at 24-1 competing at 195.

All of these wrestlers helped Jackson’s J.V. finish undefeated for the 29th-consecutive season, which is a national record.

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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