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Jackson wrestling’s Landon Vassalli only CBJ wrestler to earn all-state

Jackson wrestling senior Landon Vassalli, left, became a three-time Class 4 All-State medalist by taking fifth place in the 126-pound weight class this weekend at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. Submitted photo

Last week, 12 area wrestlers from Jackson and Notre Dame combined competed in the annual state championship meet held at Mizzou Arena.

Only one of those wrestlers returned home with an all-state medal, though, as Indians senior Landon Vassalli placed fifth overall at 126 pounds in Class 4.

This makes Vassalli a three-time all-state medalist as he won the final match of his high school career via an injury sustained in the first period. Landon (42-8) beat Grain Valley senior Gavin Parks (29-8) in the 126-pound fifth-place bout as Parks went down with a match-ending injury at the 49-second mark.

Vassalli’s dreams of competing for a state championship were derailed in the first round after falling to Liberty junior Devon Harrison (34-9) via a 11-0 major decision. Harrison ended up being the 126-pound runner-up as he fell to Class 4 State Champion Lee’s Summit North senior Charlie Dykes (41-0) in a 1-0 decision for the title.

In the first round of the consolation bracket, Landon pinned Francis Howell sophomore Cristian Helton (22-16) in two minutes, 57 seconds. Vassalli then beat Neosho freshman Kelton Shaffer (28-12) with a 12-1 major decision in the second round of consolation.

To guarantee himself a spot on the podium, Landon won his consolation quarterfinal matchup against Christian Brothers College freshman Michael Poulette (35-11) by four points at a 6-2 decision. Vassalli was defeated by Staley junior Zayne Reynolds (36-12) via a 13-9 decision as Reynolds ended up taking third place at 126.

Two other Jackson Indians came up one win shy of earning all-state as sophomores 113-pounder Graidy Rice (34-11) and 215-pounder Brysen Wessell (40-8) fell in the consolation quarterfinals.

Both wrestlers lost to the state champions of their weight class in the championship bracket, as did fellow sophomore 106-pounder Kamden Gerhardt (38-12). Gerhardt made it to round two of consolation with other Jackson wrestlers sophomore 132-pounder Kade King (37-14) and junior heavyweight Tyler Hudson (28-20) doing so as well.

For the Jackson girls team, sophomore Kayleigh Milam (32-12) ended up only lasting two rounds in the Class 2 State Tournament. However, she returns for two more seasons after becoming the fifth-ever state qualifier in program history.

As for Notre Dame in the Class 1 State Tournament, boys senior 215-pounder Charlie West (37-4) and girls senior 135-pounder Lily Ahlvin both fell in the second round of consolation. Ahlvin lost to the state champion of her bracket in the first round, while West was beaten by the runner-up in his weight class.

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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