The Marshfield varsity wrestling team have kept busy this summer, hosting a four-time NCAA qualifying wrestler at their home camp, traveling to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M for a three-day camp and competing with state champions in the Missouri Central Summer Duals in Columbia.
The month of June began with Marshfield’s home wrestling camp, which featured University of Maryland alum Brandon York at the helm. York was an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) champion wrestler for four years during his tenure at Maryland, but he has since settled into the southwest Missouri area.
According to Marshfield head wrestling coach Matt Holt, his assistant coaches, Adam Wright and Keaton Patterson, both worked under York during his tenure as an assistant coach in Ozark, a link which was key in their ability to get such a celebrated athlete for Marshfield’s camp.
“He was a big-time pull for us,” said Holt. “The kids got to spend three days with him and got so much out of it.”
The home camp was followed by a trip to Oklahoma, where they worked among some of the area’s best wrestlers at Northeastern Oklahoma (NEO) A&M College’s camp in Miami, Oklahoma. That annual summer event, which took place from June 11 to 13, featured a series of duals as well as a takedown tournament, and Coach Holt was proud that the Marshfield athletes had a strong showing. Of the 25 Blue Jay wrestlers who participated, everyone won at least one match.
The real highlight, though, was junior Daylon Kanengieter’s undefeated push through his weight class to become an NEO champion.
Kanengieter, who qualified for the Class 3 state tournament in his first year of wrestling last year, pinned a pair of state medalists in the duals and won the camp’s takedown tournament.
“Will Snider did really well, also, he went to the semi-finals of the takedown tournament,” said Holt. “He lost only two matches, one to a three-time state medalist out of Monett and then to an Oklahoma state champ, so he really wrestled well.”
Ruger Leppert was another standout for Holt, not for his wins, but for the quality of his losses. Leppert lagged by a single point against one three-time state champion opponent and had a razor-close bout with another multiple-time champ.
Facing that caliber of opponent is largely the benefit of a camp like NEO, as Holt sees it. “That’s why we go down there,” he said. “Our kids know basically every round is a bubble round at districts, or it’s a blood round where you’re wrestling for a medal. It really sets the bar for them.”
That Kanengieter came out of that environment without a single loss is a good sign for his winter prospects.
“We’re excited to see what Daylon’s going to do next year,” said Holt.
Similarly, the Central Missouri Duals, which took place in Columbia on Saturday, saw several of the Jays’ strongest athletes prove their mettle against top wrestlers from across the nation.
“Team-wise, I would have liked to have done a little better,” Holt assessed, recounting a pair of wins against teams from Miami, Florida, and Mid-Buchanon, followed by four losses. “But it was a good experience for them.”
Individually, there were a few performances that stood out. Notably, the younger, lighter weight wrestlers took their chance to shine. “Ben Wortel pinned a kid that took third in state, Brayden Young had several quality wins, Damien Dockery looked good,” Holt recounted.
It was again Kanengieter who shone the brightest, though it wasn’t quite apparent in the moment. “Daylon lost in a two-point match to a kid we didn’t know, but it was a kid Daylon had on his back earlier, and we were getting frustrated, because it seemed like a match he should have had handled,” Holt recalled. “We found out later he was a state runner-up. So if we’re upset about losing to a state runner-up, we’re where we should be.”
Kanengieter also got the chance to redeem the loss later in the day by going head to head with a state champion. He took that match 4-3.
It was a moment that exemplified the opportunities for great competition that summer wrestling affords. “We’re finding a way to beat good kids, and that’s what we’re going to have to do late in the season to get to the top,” Holt noted.