Senior Daylon Kanengieter brought home Marshfield wrestling another piece of history from last weekend’s state wrestling meet at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence.
The sectional champion, who competed alongside teammates Damian Dockery and Brady Brooks, became the first state finalist in the history of the boys wrestling program with his run to the championship match of the Class 3 220-pound division.
“We’ve had third, and several fourth-place finishes, but no one in the finals,” Marshfield head coach Matt Holt said. “Our first finalist this year…we just keep adding to [our accomplishments].”
Champion status from the sectional stage granted Kanengieter a bye to open the action, then he made quick work of Liberty (Wentzville) 6-foot-3 sophomore Matthew Craig.
In the semifinals, he won a 3-2 decision over Bolivar's Drayton Huchteman, also a district and sectional champ for the Libs, in a rematch from early in the season.
“We wrestled him at the Bolivar Tournament and Daylon was up on him 7-2 the first time but he pinned us the final 30 seconds,” said Holt. “Daylon gassed out the first time and we forced a lot of action, so this time we kind of picked and chose our spots and got the first escape to go up 1-0. Then he got a takedown to go up 3-1, and I felt like he wrestled really smart [from there]. We could have maybe scored more points, but with the situation last time, we wanted to hold our ground and wrestle smart.”
Undefeated Whitfield senior Keith Miley, a two-time runner-up, joined Huchteman as one of the rare few to get the better of Kanengieter this season by winning the 220 final 3-1.
“I just felt like Miley's experience came in [to play] a little on us,” Holt said. “We got a couple deep shots, and he’s a tall, lanky kid who was able to scramble out. We had an opportunity to beat him a couple times. In fact, his takedown came from our action. It was 1-1 going in late, so we were right in there the whole time.”
In the 132-pound bracket, Dockery fell 3-0 to Belton's Brady Littleton in the opening round. Ushered into the consolation bracket, Dockery received a bye, then matched up with Evan Morris of Hillsboro. A lengthy bout that included several moments that could have turned the tide in Marshfield’s favor went multiple overtime periods before Morris eventually took a 2-1 ultimate tiebreaker over Dockery.
“We had a two-point takedown in the first overtime and the head official called it for us, but the out-of-bounds official ruled it off; I didn’t get a great answer on why it was called off,” Holt said. “We had it won and they took it away. In the second and ultimate, I felt Damian got [out of bottom position]. We got into a scramble situation where if we had a little more time we’d maybe get out of it, but they stalemated it and we came up a little short.
Holt believes a month earlier in the season and the result would have been different, saying, “I really believe if it were March and not February, Damian gets away. I think the biggest [trend from the day] was we saw a lot of overtime matches. Bottom wrestling wasn’t as good as it’s been. Kids’ legs were tired. We had choice, it was 1-1 and conventional wisdom is you go down. I think three, four weeks ago [it would have turned out differently].”
At 145, Brooks dropped a 3-2 decision to Raymund Barnett of Hillsboro in the first round. A bye on the consolation side of the bracket meant a matchup with Smithville's Ethan Muir, who took a 7-3 decision aided by a takedown late in the first period.
“Brady went 0-2, but he was in two tough matchups; he did not wrestle poorly, neither of them did,” said Holt in reference to Brooks and Dockery. “One of the things about the 4-seeds not being in there, both [Damian and Brady] got byes. They’d have had a chance to get a win there and get momentum [in a normal year].”
Holt believes that another successful year will translate into a productive offseason and more long-term momentum for the Jays program.
“There’s a lot of excitement,” Holt said. “Even though we’ve been going for so long, you can feel it in our kids, there’s more urgency. A lot of those kids who took fourth still came up and watched [state], and I think everyone is seeing we’re at the point where we’re a very good duel team, but we see we still have to level up a bit.”
“Now the goal is, how do we put more kids in the finals and on the medal stand, and hopefully a higher score at the state tournament?”