Platte County came away with its first tournament title of the year and received contributions up and down a reshuffled lineup.
Without three regulars, the Pirates had 10 medalists, six finalists and three champions Saturday, Jan. 28 in the Blue Springs South Tournament in Blue Springs, Mo. They finished with 438½ points to beat Class 4 Waynesville by 31 in what ended up a two-team race.
Park Hill South was 10th out of 13 teams with four medalists.
Platte County juniors Cody Phippen (113 pounds) and Dakota Schmidt (170) and senior Casey Jumps (220) led the way with individual titles, while juniors Sage Smart (195) and Matthew Knopp (285) and senior Jaron Hoegler (145) also reached the finals. Knopp and Hoegler are both unranked in Class 3 according to missouriwrestling.com but scored impressive victories for the Pirates.
Ranked No. 1 at 113 and a defending Class 3 state champion at 106, Phippen nearly pinned his way through the tournament and continued his strong run of recent finishes. He improved to 35-3 with two pins, a medical forfeit and a technical fall in pool matches before scoring pins in the final three bracket matches.
In the championship, Phippen pinned Chance Carmack of Waynesville in just 57 seconds.
Schmidt also scored a pin in the finals, sticking Drake Meine of Warrenton in a matchup of Class 3-ranked wrestlers. Now 35-7 on the season, Schmidt has victories over No. 3-ranked Seth Veatch of Rolla and No. 5-ranked Meine in consecutive tournaments.
Jumps pinned his way into the 220 final and then beat Warrenton’s Jacob Null in a 5-2 decision. No. 2-ranked Jumps improved to 32-4 with the victory over the No. 5 wrestler in Class 3 for his weight class.
Smart (29-11), ranked No. 4 in Class 3, at 195 pinned his way into the championship but lost 8-5 in the final to Joplin’s Solomon Garcia, unranked in Class 4.
Hoegler bounced back from a so-so performance at the Platte County Invitational to win his pool. In the 145 final, he lost by fall in the middle of the second period against unbeaten but unranked Peter Lucitt of Waynesville.
One of just four seniors, Hoegler improved his record to 19-19 overall.
Knopp finished as a tournament runner-up for the second straight weekend. He won his pool with four pins and then pinned his way into the championship opposite Jacob Booe of Joplin, who won a 4-1 decision for the title.
One match away from qualifying for state last year, Knopp improved to 23-13 on the season.
In addition to the six finalists, Zach Rolofson (third, 126), Nolan Saale (fourth, 132), Nick Filger (fourth, 138) and Ahmad Holt (third, 182) also grabbed medals. Rolofson and Holt — both seniors — were filling in with injuries affecting the lineup.
A state qualifier in 2015 who didn’t wrestle a year ago, Rolofson received the nod with 2016 state medalist Austin Kincaid out with a minor injury. Rolofson’s two losses were to No. 1-ranked Cameron Valdiviez and No. 5 Sean Sax — both Class 4.
Rolofson came back from the loss to Sax to pin Steven Maples of Springfield Central in 51 seconds in the third-place match.
Holt continues to remain in the lineup with Bradley Poos out indefinitely with a neck injury. Holt lost just once in his 182 pool and reached the semifinals before losing to Devin Stearns of Wanesville. Holt rallied for a 7-5 decision over Raytown’s Antonio Berry in the third-place match.
Saale and Filger also lost in the semifinals but also lost their third-place match.
Platte County was also without a 106-pounder junior Jake Stathopolous still out with a knee injury. He’s expected to return for the postseason — and possibly this weekend for the Silver Lake Invitational in Silver Lake, Kan. — after just missing a state berth at 113 as a sophomore.
The Pirates will travel to Kansas this weekend to make up for the canceled Gardner-Edgerton Invitational in January.