Rhodes back rolling, helps West Platte wrestling to 3rd at home invitational

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo West Platte senior Justin Rhodes, rear, wrestles in a 152-pound match during the West Platte Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 30 at West Platte High School in Weston, Mo. West Platte continues to struggle with numbers in its lineup but still placed third in its home invitational over the weekend in a field of 17 teams, just eight of them varsity.

All six participants for the Bluejays finished in the top three and helped earn them 104½ points, just 11½ back of St. Pius X for second. Platte County’s JV topped the tournament with 189, easily outdistancing the undermanned small schools in the field.

Justin Rhodes, a senior ranked No. 1 at 152 pounds according to missouriwrestling.com, won another tournament title for West Platte. He went unbeaten in pool play and won both championship bracket matches, including a first-period pin of Wentworth Military Academy’s Jarek Brown in the title match.

Michael Devers also continued his strong recent run.

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo West Platte senior Michael Devers, rear, wrestles in a 195-pound match during the West Platte Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 30 at West Platte High School in Weston, Mo.

Seeing more and more action at 195, Devers won all three of his pool matches and placed first over teammate Dalton Larison, a Class 1 Missouri State Wrestling Championships qualifier a year ago. Devers won their latest matchup with a 7-3 decision with Larison placing second for the Bluejays’ JV.

Cameron Johnson (220) and Thomas Tharp (285) both lost their openers but won in the final two rounds to finish as runners-up for West Platte. Matik Heskin (106) and (145) came in third with Heskin going 1-2 in his pool.

Conway lost in the championship bracket at 145 to Platte County JV’s Ahmaad Holt but came back to beat Julian Trelow of Platte County’s C team in the third-place match.

Holt ended up as one of four champions for the Pirates. Nick Maddux (113), Blake Bils (120) and Omar Garcia (132) also won individual titles to go with a pair of runners-up (Louis Sousa, 126; Bryan Meyerowich, 182) and three third-place finishers (Jackson Phan, 138; Bradley Poos, 152; Colton Davis, 160).

Maddux, who recently received time in the varsity lineup, pinned his way through three matches at 113, while Bils collected three falls and a technical fall at 120. Garcia won his only two matches by fall, and Holt had four pins and a bye at 145.

Blue Springs South Tournament

Platte County’s depth showed off again in a second straight tournament win Saturday, Jan. 30 in Blue Springs, Mo.

The Pirates medaled 11 out of 14, including five champions, to top a 12-team field, one week after taking the top spot at the Platte County Invitational. Casey Jumps (220), a junior, won his second straight individual title — the first two of his career — beating the top two ranked wrestlers in Class 4 by decision to continue his late season surge.

Currently ranked No. 4 in Class 3, Jumps improved to 35-7 and ran his win streak to 13 straight, dating back to an ultimate tiebreaker loss in the championship match of the Bobcat Classic in Basehor-Linwood, Kan. He went 3-0 in his pool, highlighted with a 3-1 decision against Brandon Fancher of Waynesville — ranked No. 4 in Class 4.

After a pin in the quarterfinals, Jumps beat No. 2 ranked Dominique Hampton of Raytown with a 3-2 decision in a semifinal before topping No. 1 ranked Ali Loyola of Lee’s Summit with a 4-3 decision in the final.

Cody Phippen (106), Matthew Schmitt (132) and Ethan Karsten (145) — all ranked No. 1 in Class 3 — went undefeated on their way to titles. Schmitt remained unbeaten on the season with pins in all seven of his matches, including against Rockhurst’s Carson Meek (No. 4 in Class 4) in the final. Karsten recorded eight pins, all in the first period, with his longest match going 1 minute, 32 seconds.

Dakota Schmidt, a sophomore, overcame an early loss to win at 170.

In his first season as a varsity regular, Schmidt ended up second in his pool after a 4-3 loss to Waynesville’s Neil Albrecht. However, Schmidt pinned his way through the championship bracket, including wins over the top two finishers from the opposite pool.

Schmidt beat Rockhurst’s Joe-Joe Mackey in 36 seconds to reach the final, then needed 4:17 to top Warrenton’s Drake Meine in the championship. Meine upset Albrecht in the other semifinal.

Johnny Blankenship, a senior and two-time Class 3 state finalist, was Platte County’s only runner-up. He reached the championship at 160 but lost a 3-1 decision to Warrenton’s Dan Filipek in a matchup of Class 3’s top two ranked wrestlers at that weight. Filipek scored the winning takedown in overtime.

Entering the matchup, Blankenship (38-7) was at No. 1 over Filipek (42-0), who lost the 2014 Class 3 state final at 145 between the two.

Jake Stathopoulos (113), Matt Boren (152), Tyler Blankenship (182) and Sage Smart (195) were all third-place finishers for Platte County.

Making his return to the lineup after missing time with a back injury, Stathopoulos lost to Class 4 No. 5 Sean Sax in pool by a 5-0 decision then to No. 8 Skyler Reid of Lee’s Summit by an 8-3 decision in semifinals. Stathopoulos came back with a pin of Hazelwood Central’s Jacbo Freebersyser in the third-place match.

Tyler Blankenship lost to Class 4 No. 7 Trey Storey in a 3-0 decision during pool wrestling. The other loss for him came in the semifinals by fall against Class 4 No. 2 Braden Best of Raytown. Four of Tyler Blankenship’s five wins were by fall.

A 3-1 loss to unranked Jacob Manion of Warrenton in pool wrestling left Smart with a matchup against Todd Angel of Waynesville (No. 4 in Class 4) in the semifinals. Angel won an 8-3 decision, but Smart came back to pin Park Hill South’s Travis Fisher for third place.

Fisher won Park Hill South’s only medal, and the Panthers came in 12th out of 12 teams. Platte County’s Nolan Saale, filling in for injured Austin Kincaid at 120, placed fourth with two losses each to Blue Springs South’s Jett Merlo (No. 5 in Class 4) and Waynesville’s Kevin Barrett.

Platte County finished with 506 points with Waynesville in second at 434½.