COLUMBIA, Mo. — Parker Rotterman’s final trip to the mat didn’t end as expected.
Yes, the senior from North Platte earned a win and his first medal in two trips to the Class 1 Missouri State Wrestling Championships, but he didn’t have the final chance to wrestle. Knob Noster sophomore Stevie Elwell injury defaulted out of the 152-pound fifth-place match on Saturday, Feb. 18, leaving Rotterman to walk out to the mat to have his hand raised one final time.
Rotterman pointed up to the corner of Mizzou Arena where his family sat, then ran off the mat to be alone with his emotions.
“I wasn’t expecting to not be able to really have a last high school match,” said Rotterman (46-10), who wrestled four years for Mid-Buchanan as part of a cooperative agreement between the two rival KCI Conference schools. “I was very upset about it. I wanted to wear that singlet one last time with pride, really leave my mark that last match.”
Rotterman entered the fifth-place match off of a disappointing loss in wrestleback semifinals.
A third matchup in two years with Lawson senior Colton Williams ended with Rotterman’s first loss in the series. He beat Williams in the district tournament each of the past two seasons, becoming the first two-time district champion in North Platte history in the process.
Rotterman ended up going 3-2 in his second trip to state, but the final win didn’t come the way he imagined.
“It was hard for me to wrap my mind around not knowing the last match that I actually wrestled was going to be the last match I was actually going to wrestle in high school,” Rotterman said.
Rotterman missed qualifying for state by one match as a freshman then missed his sophomore season while recovering from a broken femur suffered in the offseason.
As a junior, Rotterman came to state and went 1-2 at 145 pounds but missed a medal by two wins. He entered this year’s bracket as a No. 1 seed and hopeful of a medal, but his path to the semifinals included a potential matchup with Seneca senior Trey Smith, ranked No. 2 in the state according to missouriwrestling.com coming into the tournament.
Smith lost to Father Tolton Catholic’s No. 1-ranked Jarrett Jacques in the previous weekend’s Class 1 District 2 title match, making him an unlikely two seed at state.
Luck of the draw made Rotterman’s path to a semifinal berth and guaranteed medal more difficult. After a 12-6 decision in the first round advanced him to quarterfinals for a second straight year, Rotterman wrestled perhaps his best match in two trips to state in a 3-0 decision loss to Smith.
“It’s always find a way to win,” Rotterman said. “That’s what my (assistant) coach Jake Rumpf says, ‘No matter what, be tough and find a way to win.’ I didn’t really get to a lot of my offense, but he’s a great wrestler on his feet. And I didn’t really let him to get to a lot of his offense except one takedown.”
That left Rotterman in need of two wins to keep his medal hopes alive.
In wrestlebacks, the pinned Matt Green of Maplewood (Richmond Heights) and then won a 5-4 decision in a rematch with North Callaway junior Chad Maupin. The loss to Williams followed in what turned out to be the final chance to wrestle in his career.
“It’s not where I wanted to finish, but to get a medal was the goal so I’m happy with that,” Rotterman said. “I wish that I could’ve medaled higher but so does everybody else (who doesn’t win).”
West Platte junior Brayan Rodriguez made his state debut.
A runner-up the previous week at 132 in Class 1 District 4, Rodriguez held a 2-1 lead in his first round match with Valle Catholic freshman Trey Huck after the first period. Huck then started the second period on top and turned Rodriguez to his back in a cradle, scoring a pin in 3 minutes, 54 seconds.
Rodriguez then bowed out of the tournament with a tight 6-5 loss to Blair Oaks senior Bo Thomas in wrestlebacks.
After just missing state as a freshman, Rodriguez sat out last year but returned to the Bluejays lineup this season. He finished at 25-12 after going 0-2 at state.