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Jackson wrestling’s youth displaying promise through first two tournaments

Jackson girls wrestling sophomore Kayleigh Milam (3-1) took second place at 110 pounds in the Festus Scramble on Nov. 21. Submitted photo

With the Jackson boys and girls wrestling teams having wrestled in its first tournaments of the season, the Indians have already showcased some athletes that will likely have success for years to come.

Starting off with the girls back on Nov. 21, the Indians took last place in the Festus Scramble but only had five wrestlers compete out of the 14 available weight classes. Nixa won the scramble with 469.5 team points as it also brought home individual championships alone.

Despite Jackson’s girls lack of numbers, the Indians still had four of their five wrestlers place in the top four of their respective weight class. Three of these wrestlers for Jackson reached their championship bout in sophomores Kayleigh Milam, Mollie Metzger and junior Haley Sanders.

At 110 pounds, Milam (3-1) went up against not just one but three wrestlers from Nixa as she ended up falling to senior Kelsey Watts (4-0) by a 9-2 decision for the title.

Prior to that, Kayleigh pinned Nixa sophomore Brooke Chandler (2-2) in 53 seconds and Eagles freshman Clementine Castleberry (1-3) 50 seconds into the second period of round three. Milam started the tournament with a 2-0 win over Seckman junior Emma Donze in round one.

Metzger (3-1) also ended up falling to an undefeated Nixa wrestler freshman Abigail Counts (4-0) for the 125-pound championship as she was pinned 39 seconds into the second period. Mollie won each of her other three matches via pinfall against the likes of Ft. Zumwalt North sophomore Jocelyn Alicea (3-1), Nixa sophomore Ellie Moore (2-2) and her teammate junior Layla McClish (2-5).

As for Sanders (5-1), she received a bye in the first round and proceeded to pin Seckman freshman Emily Chronister (1-2) in round two of the 235-pound bracket. Haley ended up falling to Seckman sophomore Madison Clover (3-0) with 52 seconds left in the second period for the championship.

The fourth and final Indian to place in her weight class was senior Josephine Collins (1-3), whose lone victory of the Festus Scramble came against Seckman freshman Ashlin Stivers via pinfall.

Moving to the boys tournament at Francis Howell North this past Saturday, the Indians took third place (30 team points) and had six wrestlers finish in the top three of their weight class. Ft. Zumwalt South won the tournament with 47 points, coming away with three individual champions.

While this is his first and last year of wrestling varsity full-time for Jackson, senior Hayden Wessell (3-1) won the 190-pound championship with a 7-4 decision over Ft. Zumwalt South senior JD Dunn. Wessell recorded two pinfalls, received one by and fell to Raymore-Peculiar junior Patrick Martin (2-1) by a 3-2 decision in round two prior to making the finals.

Another Indians senior reached their championship bout in Landon Vassalli at 126 pounds, while sophomores Kade King and Hayden’s younger brother Brysen Wessell made it the first-place match at 132 pounds and 215 pounds, respectively.

Vassalli picked up a technical fall, major decision and one decision to reach the championship round, where he fell to Ft. Zumwalt South senior Zack Tihen (4-0) by a 3-0 decision.

As for King, he recorded two pinfalls — one in the first period and the other in the second — and one decision to advance to the title bout. Kade only lost the 132-pound championship by two points to Lafayette Wildwood senior Dylan Roth (5-0).

Each of Brysen Wessell’s four matches lasted all three periods as he won one via major decision and the rest by normal decision. Wessell faced Lafayette Wildwood senior Andrew Wier (4-0) for first place at 215 pounds, falling by a 10-2 major decision.

Taking third place for the Indians were sophomore 106-pounder Kamden Gerhardt (3-1) and junior 150-pounder Matthew May (4-1), while sophomore 113-pounder Graidy Rice (2-3) placed fourth overall.

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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