Matthew Schmitt put a final stamp on his career at Platte County with another memorable weekend.
A three-time state champion for the Pirates with the most career wins in program history, Schmitt won a national title and claimed his eighth and ninth All-American finishes last week at USA Wrestling Cadet/Junior Freestyle and Greco-Roman Nationals before he starts his collegiate career this fall at West Virginia.
In all, six Platte County wrestlers and 11 from Park Hill competed in Fargo, S.D., combining for nine All-American showings and a number of near misses. Schmitt and Park Hill’s Canten Marriott each won a national title, while Schmitt and Park Hill sophomore-to-be Devin Winston both pulled the All-American double.
Schmitt became the first junior national champion for Platte County and the first to win his bracket at Fargo since Ethan Karsten won cadet titles in Greco and freestyle in 2014.
In the 126 Greco bracket, Schmitt dominated with six straight victories, the first four by tech fall or fall. He allowed just two points total in semifinal and finals victories against Iowa’s Alex Thomsen (9-1) and Illinois’ Gabriel Townsell (6-1).
Schmitt missed a chance to be a four-time national finalist after a devastating third round loss in freestyle. After two easy tech fall wins, Schmitt led Colorado’s Zeke Alirez 8-0 after the first burst of action, but Alirez caught Schmitt and put him to his back to score a surprising pin in 46 seconds.
Sent to the consolation bracket, Schmitt assured another All-American finish with eight straight wins, all by technical fall or fall. He placed third, closing with a pin of Thomsen in the third-place match to wrap up his accomplished career at nationals that includes one title, three runners-up and four thirds.
Park Hill’s Canten Marriott, committed to the University of Missouri, also won a junior national title, but his came in freestyle.
A two-time finalist and 2015 state champion for the Trojans, Marriott survived an 8-8 decision on criteria in the 170 third round of the bracket and then won three more decisions to close out his run. He beat Louisiana’s Josh Ramirez 6-2 in the semifinals before surviving a dramatic final.
Utah’s Owen Pentz led 3-0 after the first period, but Marriott scored a takedown and exposure with a minute to go for a 4-3 advantage. Pentz would take the lead back, but Marriott used a single leg shot to score a two-point exposure as time expired to take the title.
Marriott did not compete in Greco.
Park Hill graduated senior Jacob Sobbing also notched an All-American showing in junior freestyle at 220. After going 4-2 in the 220 Greco bracket, Sobbing reached the quarterfinals in freestyle before losing to Utah’s Ashton Seely.
Sobbing came back for a 12-11 decision to reach the top eight before losing his final two matches.
Park Hill’s other five All-American finishes were from the cadet division, including Devin Winston’s double at 170. A top-ranked freshman this past season, Winston reached the quarterfinals in Greco, fell to the consolation side and won his next match to reach the top eight. He then lost his final two matches, including a 5-4 decision against Kansas’ Michael Waggoner in the seventh-place match.
Winston ended up even better in freestyle.
Five straight wins put him in the semifinal where he lost 10-0 to eventual national champion Travis Wittlake, Jr. of Oregon. Winston then lost his next two but ended up sixth.
Park Hill ended up accounting for three of Missouri’s four All-American finishes in cadet Greco.
Trey Crawford, who will be a freshman at Park Hill, placed fifth at 100 pounds, battling back from a third round loss to Nevada’s Steele Dias. Crawford won four straight to reach the consolation semis before losing to Dias again but coming back to win his fifth place match.
Crawford reached the quarterfinals of the 100 freestyle bracket but lost his final two matches to just miss a second medal.
Josh Steele, a two-time state qualifier and Class 4 medalist at 120 pounds this past season, came in sixth at 126 in Greco. He advanced to the semifinals with a 3-2 decision over Arizona’s Marcus Castillo in the quarters, but Steele lost his final two matches before going 2-2 in freestyle.
Platte County’s only other All-American finish came from junior-to-be Cody Phippen in junior freestyle. After going 1-2 in the 106 Greco bracket, he ended up in the consolation bracket after a second round loss. He started with a bye then won four straight matches, three by decision, to reach the medal rounds.
Phippen went 1-1 in his last two matches, losing a 4-3 decision to drop to the seventh-place match, which he won 15-8 against Texas’ Nathan Rankin.
Platte County’s Johnny Blankenship, committed to Nebraska University, just missed an All-American finish at 170 in juniors. He went 5-2 overall, losing first in the fourth round. He won three straight to put himself on the cusp of a top-eight showing but lost 5-2 to Illinois’ Jack Jessens.
Other competitors at nationals for Platte County included Casey Jumps (junior, 4-2 Greco and 0-2 freestyle at 220), Austin Kincaid (cadet, 0-2 Greco and 2-2 freestyle at 132) and Jake Stathopoulos (cadet, 0-2 freestyle at 106).
Park Hill’s Kelvin Eblen, a junior-to-be and 2016 state champion at 106, competed in both Greco and freestyle at the junior level, going 2-2 at 113 in Greco and 1-2 at 220 in freestyle. A former state champion in Kansas and senior-to-be for the Trojans, Thomas Lisher posted a 4-2 record at 152 in junior Greco and 2-2 in junior freestyle.
Blake Hopson, a state qualifier this past season as a freshman at Park Hill, also varied weights in cadet, going 3-2 in Greco at 152 and 4-2 in freestyle at 160.
Other competitiors for Park Hill included Weston DiBlasi (junior, 5-2 freestyle at 126) and Austin Kolvek (cadet, 3-2 at 120).