Eleven Marshfield wrestlers will continue their seasons following an overall third-place team finish at the Class 3 district tournament held over the weekend in Camdenton.
Senior Daylon Kanengieter tossed all comers aside to top the podium, while another handful of Jays –– Damian Dockery, Brady Brooks, Ben Wirtel, Garrett Cantrell and Eli Steffen –– took runner-up.
Odds-on-favorite Lebanon locked up first with 240 points, while Camdenton totaled 169.5. Marshfield trailed just behind with 160, while Rolla followed with 133.5 out of the seven teams.
“I felt like as a team we did really well,” Marshfield head coach Matt Holt said. “We put six in the finals, which is relieving, because when you’re qualified then you can relax for the day. Obviously, we only only won one in the final, which is kind of how we’ve been, but we haven’t had good semifinals in the past either. I told my assistants next year we’ll focus on the finals.”
“We had a lot of 3-seeds beat their 2-seeds, and those are kind of 50-50 matches. I felt really good about nine guys [chances of] qualifying, then there were a couple that were 50-50. To get 11, I feel really good.”
On the overall result, Holt said, “We finished third as a team, which, that’s just how districts are scored. We knew Lebanon would take first, but it was disappointing [to finish behind Camdenton]. In the 14 weight classes, we finished higher than them in nine. If it were a duel we would have won, and we beat them [twice] earlier in the year, so that was a little frustrating, but it is what it is.”
Kanengieter pulled in 20 points for the Jays with his winnings at 220 pounds. After scoring a fall over his Rolla competitor in the semis, he won a decision over Lebanon's Jayden Hubler in the final, putting him one step closer to a return to state.
The lightest from Marshfield to qualify for sectionals, Tommy Mynatt (120 pounds) came back from a semifinal loss to Canon Roarkand eventually beat Camdenton's Logan Tibben in the third-place match.
"He wrestled one point at a time," Holt said. "Sometimes Tommy gets in matches and tries to score in bunches, whereas at this tournament he slowed down mentally and scored the one that was one in front of him. It paid off big in the final match."
Joseph Martin, the Jays' 126-pound rep, was another 4-seed to qualify.
"He dislocated his shoulder in football, then in mid-December, so he's been out for a couple months,” Holt said. “He had to win a couple matches we weren't sure on and looked good. He's really been working on his cardio on the side and it showed because he wrestled strong for three periods every match."
At 132 pounds, Damian Dockery placed second despite Holt's skepticism over the eventual pinfall by Lebanon's Cole Patton in the first-place match, as well as one instance where Dockery appeared to have him shoulders down. Above him at 138, Ryan Nagy also punched his ticket by beating Keegan Allcorn of West Plains in the consolation semifinal.
Brady Brooks took second at 145, reaching the final by winning a majority decision over Lebanon's Bo Rosen, a state qualifier last year that he dominated before losing to Rolla's Alexander Sederburg. Ben Wirtel also placed second 152. Similarly, he beat a returning state qualifier in the semifinals, Elijah Arl of Lebanon, before running into one of the top high school wrestlers in the country, Rolla's undefeated Nathan Pulliam.
Of Mathew Derecichei, who placed third at 160 by defeating Camdenton's Nathaniel Beeson, Holt said, "He wrestled a good semifinal and just came up short. He was in attack mode for two periods and we weren't able to finish on a couple takedowns, then he tired."
Dusty Stevens returned from a loss to Cade Grimm of Branson and picked up a pair of wins later in the day, including a third-place victory over Garrett Stark of Camdenton to qualify.
In a show of toughness, 195-pounder Garrett Cantrell suffered a sternum injury in his quarterfinal match, but persevered and reached the finals.
"The trainer came out and she said it maybe wasn't wise to kep wrestling, but also that it was his senior year and [up to him to] decide," Holt said. "He thought he could get through, was working on it and kind of heard a 'pop' and the pain kind of went away. By the end of the day he was perfectly fine, no bruising or anything. He had a phenomenal tournament to gut that out."
In the 285-pound division, Eli Steffen took a tiebreaker victory over Lebanon's Zachary Smith, a former Marshfield junior high teammate, in the semifinal.
Said Holt, "He's always thrown Eli, and he threw and pinned him earlier in the year...we were attacking but also trying to stay out of the danger areas. Eli knew [the throws] were coming, wrestled a smart match, avenged the loss."
Holt complimented his two wrestlers that made the trip but didn't qualify, freshman Avery Byars (106 pounds) and Jacob Houska (182). Regarding Houska, Holt said, "He won us the Willard duel and sealed the Branson duel for us. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to punch his ticket, but he's a team kid who's gotten better every year."
The Blue Jays won’t determine who reaches state until their sectional meet on Feb. 27 in Willard. Adjustments made due to COVID-19 have constricted the state competition this year to just one day, while also reducing the number of qualifiers. That means an uphill battle to secure a spot out of a more-than-formidable group of programs.
“My only complaint on sectionals is that only the top-3 get to go,” said Holt, who noted that the majority of medalists from last year’s state tournament came from Marshfield’s region. “I feel like we have seven or eight kids that are top-4 [but fewer] that are top-3. It’s tough, but we’re not going to make excuses when we get there and it’s time. We have to perform better.”