Park Hill avoided the theatrics and drama this time around.
In an earlier than normal matchup, the Trojans pulled away early and beat Platte County 47-13 on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at Platte County High School. The Pirates held them to their lowest point total in six duals on the young season but won just four matches.
The result stood in stark contrast to last year’s wild 37-25 win for Park Hill — a matchup that featured a pair of matchups between eventual Missouri State Wrestling State Championships champions.
“Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed last year’s dual,” Park Hill coach Jeff Davis said. “It was exciting; it was a lot of fun, and that’s what puts people in the stands. And we had a great crowd tonight, and hats off to Platte County. They are going to continue to improve and get better.”
Platte County (0-1) dropped its season opening dual against the Class 4 powerhouse with both teams missing key wrestlers.
Park Hill’s lineup missed three returning state qualifiers, while Platte County junior state champion Cody Phippen (skin) was unable to wrestle. The Pirates actually opened with a win to take a 3-0 lead after junior Austin Kincaid, a sixth-place medalist in Class 3 a year ago, scored an early takedown and held on for a 3-2 decision against Park Hill freshman Aidan Johnson in the 126-pound match.
From there, Park Hill won six straight to go up 30-3.
Weston DiBlasi, a two-time Class 4 state medalist and 2016 state finalist, started the run with a second period pin at 132, his first match of the season to go longer than 2 minutes. Josh Steele (138), Spencer Eastwood (145), Tommy Lisher (152), Blake Hopson (160) and Devin Winston (170) followed in an occasionally tense series of wins.
Eastwood, Hopson and Winston also had pins, while Steele won an 18-3 technical fall against Nick Filger. Steele then had a team point deducted for unsportsmanlike conduct after the match.
“We’re a family. It’s cliché; everyone says it,” said DiBlasi, a junior. “There’s something different about how we act, and for better or worse, we’re really involved in the matches. I think it really shows when we get momentum back on our side.
“I think we feed off each other really well. Everyone picks up slack here and there.”
Platte County altered its lineup slightly to get the next win.
Dakota Schmidt, a junior and state qualifier a year ago, bumped up to 182 to take on Park Hill’s TJ Hullaby, who built a 5-2 lead. Schmidt scored an escape late in the third period and then took the lead after the official hit Hullaby for a second stall warning and penalty point right before Schmidt scored the winning takedown with 3 seconds left.
Schmidt held on for a 6-5 victory to cut Park Hill’s lead to 30-6. Ashton Sharp, a freshman, followed with a 3-1 win over Platte County junior Sage Smart, a returning state qualifier, in the 195 match.
Platte County’s other wins came from Casey Jumps (13-5 major decision at 220) and Jake Stathopoulos (6-4 over Trey Safford at 113). Stathopoulos is in the process of cutting weight to 106 for his junior season but filled in for Phippen.
“I thought we had a good effort,” Platte County coach Reggie Burress said. “Everybody fought and battled. Nobody just folded up the tent, so we can build on that. We had some great performances from Jumps, on his feet looked great, Dakota fighting hard to get back in there, Stathopoulos jumping in there and getting a good win.
“Austin did a good job, stayed in position.”
Park Hill (6-0) again wrestled without sophomore returning state qualifiers Austin Kolvek (120) and Carter Goslee (145). The Trojans used the dual as a chance to certify a few wrestlers at different weights with a lineup different than the one that won all five duals in the Park Hill Duals tournament over the weekend.
Nate Smith, a senior, wrestled at 285 and won a 4-0 decision over Matthew Knopp, while Safford dropped to 113, moving returning state champion junior Kelvin Eblen to 120 where he finished the dual with a 17-1 technical fall. Johnson went down to 126 after being an undersized 138 over the weekend with DiBlasi and Steele bumping up a weight and Eastwood sliding into Goslee’s spot.
Davis expects the full lineup to be available next week.
“With the injuries, having that flexibility and being able to slide guys in is really nice,” Davis said.