Leppert, Jays grapplers sweep Branson

Mementos of sports milestones, whether as posters, pictures or plaques, make for great memories.

It was just temporary, but Marshfield wrestler Ruger Leppert got a shiny black eye to commemorate his.

“It was my 100th win souvenir,” the 145-pounder said. “He was on top and came across with a nasty elbow. They had to stop the match. The trainer was like, ‘You should probably not wrestle.’ I said, ‘I’m finishing this.’ I finished it, beat the kid.”

Leppert continued on and picked up his 101st shortly after as well, helping Marshfield defeat Branson Thursday evening, 54-15. Leppert, Daylon Kanengieter (195 pounds) and Eli Steffen (220) were among those who picked up the full points to grab the win.

The senior, one of several returners who qualified for state in 2018-19, carried some anxiety into the milestone win.

“It was amazing but I was so nervous for it,” Leppert said. “The one before [I got it], I got so nervous they had to medically take me out. I got so hyped up that I nearly passed out in the match. The second one, I came out, calmed myself down and took care of business.” 

He was originally supposed to have a shot at it Tuesday night, but weather conditions forced the tri-meet with Waynesville and Ozark to be pushed to Wednesday. The Jays ended up splitting the event, coming out on top against the latter of the two Tigers.

“Really, it hurt us worse [Wednesday] not being in school,” Marshfield coach Matt Holt said. “We lost to Waynesville, who’s a good team, but we should have wrestled tougher than we did. We turned around and defeated Ozark, who had beaten Waynesville that night, but our kids really wanted this one [against Branson]. This is a district opponent for seeding, and we had been staring at this one for a while.”

Competing on back-to-back days exacts an added mental and physical toll on wrestlers, requiring them to take the necessary steps –– icing, heating, hydrating –– as well as maintaining weight to be in match form.

“What helped us here was that because of the snow day and not being able to practice, we got a pound yesterday, and actually got two pounds today, so we didn’t have much as far as weight issues,” Holt said.

With Leppert joining a 100-win club that includes recent graduates like Patrick Wilson, Travin Plemmons, Clay Wilson and Jordan Irwin, Will Snyder is just one victory away from joining them. Holt anticipates getting there may be tougher in the future.

“We’ve had a lot of three and four-year starters, but it’s going to get harder,” Holt said. “We have some really good sophomores on JV that would have been varsity a couple years ago. Right now, they’re stuck behind some really good seniors. It’s a great problem to have.”

The Lady Jays made the evening a complete success, defeating Branson 36-30. 

Both teams get an extended break for the holidays before resuming action at the Kinloch Classic at Parkview.

Marshfield hoops wins across the board at Showcase

Led in the main event by the varsity Lady Jays, Marshfield basketball swept Thursday evening’s Winter Sport Showcase that involved three teams.

The Lady Jays tore it down early to dispatch an unmatched East Newton side 59-26 to close out the show.

Marshfield trailed just once, 5-4, in the first few minutes, then ripped off an 11-2 stretch that included Kori Cromer’s corner 3-pointer to take a 17-6 advantage after the first. Seemingly without a primary ball handler, East Newton struggled to cope with the aggressive nature of Marshfield’s defense as the visitors also gave up second- and third-chance looks.

What started as a stretch that put the Lady Jays ahead ended up comprising a larger 23-2 run that ended three minutes into the second quarter, at which point the Jays were already ahead by nearly 20. 

Peck led the way in scoring with 16 points, a season-high, in the victory. Cromer followed with 14, and Alliyah Joiner, a beneficiary of multiple fast-break baskets, had 13.

After opening with a pair of defeats, Marshfield enters the Pink and White Tournament and a game Thursday against Ozark on the heels of a handful of consecutive victories.

In prior main gym action, the JV Lady Jays defeated East Newton 39-19, led by Taylor Stephens and Breanna Pohlenz. The freshman boys opened up the night with a 31-28 win over Reeds Spring, aided by 13 points by Travis Greenfield and 11 by Joe Harles.

Bryan can be followed on Twitter @BryanEversonMF.

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