Platte County wrestlers finish with 4 medalists in Minnesota

Platte County didn’t end up with any finalists, but three of the Pirates’ four medalists all ended up third place in the team’s third trip to Kaukauna, Wisc. for the Cheesehead Invitational.

In a loaded 32-team field over the weekend, Platte County placed 13th in the final team standings. Runs to the semifinals for seniors Cody Phippen (120 pounds), Dakota Schmidt (182) and Sage Smart (220) led the way for the Pirates, although all three just missed spots in the finals.

Phippen improved his record to 21-3 on the season — still unbeaten against in-state competition. His run in the championship bracket ended with a controversial loss to Thompson (Ala.) standout and eventual Cheesehead champion Sam Latona in the semifinals.

After a scoreless first two periods, Phippen scored an escape to go ahead 1-0 with about a minute left in the third period. He appeared headed to victory until hit with a stall call with 2 seconds left while attempting to finish a takedown, granting Latona the tying point.

Latona then scored the winning escape in the closing seconds of the second 30-second tiebreaker period of overtime. Phippen failed to escape in the first period and didn’t have enough time to go for a potential winning takedown.

Phippen came back to win tight decisions over Dominic Dentino of Heartland Arrowhead (Wisc.) and Anthony Molton of Lockport (Ill.) to finish third.

Schmidt and Smart also went unbeaten in pool wrestling and reached the semifinals. In the 182 bracket, Schmidt looked dominant until losing a 6-3 decision to Bryson Alsteen of host Kaukauna in the semifinals. Schmidt (18-5) then came back to win 3-1 over Danny Benoit of Mount Caramel (Ill.) and 6-4 over Trevor Swier of Montini Catholic (Ill.) to claim third.

Smart scored the most team points for Platte County (61) but lost a 9-2 decision to defending Wisconsin state champion Aric Bohn of Mukwonago in the semifinals. Smart (18-4) then had a pin in the championship back side against Josh Anderson of Edwardsville (Ill.) to reach the third -place match, which Smart won with a 6-3 decision over Gavin Miller of Stoughton (Wisc.).

Austin Kincaid, also a senior, was Platte County’s fourth medalist, finishing sixth.

After going 3-1 in pool, Kincaid (12-9) lost in the quarterfinals and won just one of his final four matches. He beat Tanner Paulson of Kasson-Mantorville (Minn.) in the backside to reach the fifth-place match and earn a rematch.

Kincaid lost to Eddie Bolivar of Oak Park River Forest (Ill.) in the quarterfinals and fifth-place match both by major decision.

Platte County was the only Missouri team in the field. The top six team finishers and seven of the top eight were ranked in Intermat’s most recent top 50 national rankings.

The Clash

After becoming the first Missouri team to reach the first place pool of the prestigious tournament, Park Hill made it two straight years in the top four.

Park Hill ran through the D bracket on Friday, Dec. 28 before losing all three of its final duals Saturday, Dec. 29 to finish fourth for a second straight year. The Clash features top teams from across the country, and the Trojans (ranked No. 13 according to Intermat going into the tournament) lost to No. 8 St. Edward (Ohio), No. 6 Montini Catholic (Ill.) and No. 25 Apple Valley (Minn.) in the pool of bracket winners.

In each of the first two D bracket duals, Park Hill fell behind early.

Farmington (Minn.) went up 9-0 after two matches in the first round, but consecutive pins for Blake Hopson (170), Devin Winston (182), Ashton Sharp (195) and Simon Tesfamarian (220) plus a forfeit for Antonio Figueroa (285) gave the Trojans a 30-9 lead. They also won the final five matches with senior Weston DiBlasi’s first period pin of Trayton Anderson at 126 locking up the win.

Park Hill won 53-21.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa (Minn.) also won the opening match in the semifinal, but Park Hill came back to win four of the next five, including a technical fall for Hopson plus pins for Winston and sophomore Johnny Wilson (285). The Trojans were up 20-6 and didn’t trail again with freshman Grayston DiBlasi’s pin at 138 locking up the result, which ended up being a 48-18 victory.

In the D bracket championship, Park Hill won the first four but trailed 18-17 to Anoka (Minn.), which recorded pins at 285, 106 and 113 to take a brief lead. The Trojans wouldn’t trail again after pins for Miller and Weston DiBlasi, and Phoenix Thomas’ 4-2 win with a takedown in the 1-minute sudden death portion of overtime in the 152 match made it 38-25 with one match to go.

Park Hill won 38-31.

Hopson, Winston, Sharp, Miller, Weston DiBlasi and Josh Steele (145) all went unbeaten in the three bracket wins. However, Wilson made his season debut at 285 in the semifinal and went 2-2 in the tournament, and Park Hill went without sophomore returning Missouri State Wrestling Championships medalist Trey Crawford, out with injury.

Winston continued his unbeaten season with a 17-second pin to open the first-place pool duals with St. Edward, but Sharp suffered his first loss of the season, a 12-9 decision for returning Ohio state finalist Dakota Howard. Wilson’s decision victory at 285 brought Park Hill level at 9-9, but St. Edward won the next three straight and eight of the final 10 to pull away for a 50-16 win.

Park Hill used some substitutes in a 53-21 loss to Montini Catholic with the Trojans holding a brief 9-6 lead after Wilson’s third win. They also won the opener against Apple Valley – a 6-4 win in sudden victory for Tesfamarian (4-2 record for the tournament) at 220 – before losing three straight.

Winston and Weston DiBlasi went unbeaten at The Clash, although DiBlasi didn’t wrestle against Montini Catholic. Wilson went 3-2 in his first action of the season, including a loss to Apple Valley’s Gable Steveson – the nation’s consensus top high school wrestler.

Park Hill dropped to No. 20 in Intermat’s rankings released Jan. 3.