Rhodes finishes as state runner-up against for West Platte wrestling

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo West Platte junior Justin Rhodes, right, takes down Centralia’s Jackson Evans in a 152-pound quarterfinal on Friday, Feb. 20 during the Class 1 Missouri  State Wrestling Championships at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo. COLUMBIA, Mo. — Justin Rhodes didn’t have the offense again in a second try at winning his first state championship.

The West Platte junior earned his second berth in a Class 1 Missouri State Wrestling Championships final but lost a 3-1 decision to Whitfield senior Sky Darrah at 152 pounds on Saturday, Feb. 21. He also finished second in 2013 at 126 pounds before missing out on the medal stand all together as a sophomore.

Rhodes pinned Marceline’s Brady Stallo in 1 minute, 44 seconds in the semifinals on Friday, a result that sent the Bluejays standout into a spirited celebration sprint. He went 2-2 as sophomore at 132 pounds and missed a second straight medal by just one win after entering state unbeaten.

At 55-1 entering the final this year, Rhodes allowed a second-period takedown and fell behind 3-0. He escaped from Darrah early in the third period but could not score a tying takedown.

For the second time in three years, West Platte qualified three for state, but Devin Driskell (113) and Dalton Larison (195) both went 0-2 and were eliminated on the first day.

Jake Williams, a freshman at North Platte, won a match by forfeit in wrestlebacks while competing for Mid-Buchanan as part of the schools’ cooperative agreement. North Platte’s program folded earlier this decade.

At 120 pounds, Williams lost to eventual champion Romelle Person of Maplewood-Richmond Heights in the first round before advancing by forfeit. He then lost a 4-0 decision in the second round of wrestlebacks to Holden’s Colby Seiz, who went on to place fifth.