Platte County’s five seniors didn’t know if they would have any more chances to wrestle in front of the home crowd as the dual wound down Wednesday, Jan. 16 at Platte County High School.
Blue Springs won two straight weight classes by fall to take a 33-28 lead, needing just one more win in the final two matches to prevail. Platte County’s fortunes turned with an unexpected reversal and second-period pin for junior John Owen at 220 pounds.
That sent Platte County senior Glen Gammill to the mat for a winner-take-all finale, and the two heavyweights would need tiebreakers in front of an entranced crowd, which slowly kept raising the energy level in the gymnasium.
Gammill and Blue Springs senior Simeon Sullivan ended regulation and the 1-minute sudden death overtime period tied 1-1. In the second tiebreaker period with Gammill up 2-1, Sullivan tried a desperation move that ended up with him on his back and pinned at the 7 minute, 36-second mark of the match.
Platte County came away with a memorable 40-33 victory that continued a tradition of wild dual finishes in recent years.
“It was crazy. Just hearing the crowd, that’s what really got me going,” Gammill said. “I was really tired. Me and the other dude were both tired. I was just trying to wait him out, make him do something dumb. He tried to roll through; I got him on his back in the second overtime, and I got the pin, got the win for the team.”
The nonconference dual went back and forth with the two teams splitting the first eight matches. Platte County didn’t lead until freshman Blaine Keuhn tied the score with a pin at 152, and senior Nolan Saale followed with a 15-2 major decision at 160. Up 25-21 at that point, the Pirates appeared to have missed out on key team points when Saale didn’t score the pin with Blue Springs’ Corbin Katamura on his back at the end of the second period and then couldn’t get a final takedown at the end of regulation for a technical fall.
Platte County’s lead hit 28-21 when freshman Jaydon Walls won a 1-0 decision at 170 against Michael Infranca. Walls scored an escape early in the second period for the match’s lone scoring, and he rode out Infranca for the entire third period despite a stall warning with 31 seconds to go.
Blue Springs fought back with pins from seniors Lawson Lackey and Koby Mansfield (early first period) in the next two matches to take the 33-28 lead.
Instead, Owen took a 1-0 lead on Blue Springs junior Xavier Cooper on a clasping call in the second period. Then, Owen used an unorthodox reach back to roll through for a reversal and then the fall at the 3:48 mark to put the Pirates back in front at 34-33.
“We knew it would be a tough dual,” Blue Springs coach Bobbe Lowe said. “You know, it’s one you’d like to have, but we’re young. We have a lot of work to do; we have a long way to go trying to rebuild and do some things. It takes time.
“Until we get there, we’re going to have close duals; we’re going to have tough battles ahead of us.”
That left the result up to Gammill, a senior who wrestled junior varsity as a sophomore and then missed last season with a knee injury. However, he recently managed a fifth-place finish at the always-stacked Cheesehead Invitational in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, while wrestling a series of tight matches with his likely Class 3 District 4 and potential Class 3 Missouri State Wrestling Championships foes.
“(Glen’s) been working really hard and turning some heads because of how well he’s been doing,” Saale said of his senior teammate. “I know that even if it’s 1-1, he’s going to come out on top because he’s in better shape than most of these heavyweights.”
That exact scenario played out against Blue Springs.
After a scoreless first period, Sullivan had an escape in the second period, and Gammill evened the score with his escape 8 seconds into the third period. Scoreless again in the tiebreaker period, the match between clearly exhausted heavyweights went to the two 30-second tiebreaker periods.
Gammill went down to start the first tiebreaker period and needed just 4 seconds to escape. Sullivan then made the critical mistake that led to the pin, a flex of the arms from Gammill in celebration and a mob scene on the mat with his teammates.
“I’m just like, ‘I’ve got to get this for my team; that was all for my team,’” Gammill said. “That’s all I was thinking was for my team.”
Platte County sophomore Grant Stathopoulos came up with a first period pin at 113 in the second match to start the series of back-and-forth results between the two teams. They also split key decisions at 120 and 126.
In the match of the night, Blue Springs sophomore Korbin Shepherd — a Class 4 Missouri State Wrestling Championships runner-up in 2018 at 106 — jumped to a 5-1 lead on freshman Eli Rocha. Shepherd went up 2-1 after the first period and then scored three on near fall with a turn early in the second period.
Rocha, currently unranked in Class 3, then scored a reversal and added three takedowns to eventually tie the score at 9-9 late in the third. Shepherd — ranked No. 4 in Class 4 at 120 — escaped with the winning point with 13 seconds left, and the official waved off a potential fourth and winning takedown for Rocha after a scramble that went to the final whistle.
At 126, Nick Maddux, a returning state qualifier for the Pirates who just recently came back from surgery and complications as a result of the operation, trailed 3-2 late in the second period against Blue Springs sophomore Jason Gross before picking up an escape and a takedown in the final 10 seconds to regain the lead.
From there, Maddux held on for a 6-5 win to tie the team score back up at 9-9.
Maddux missed the most difficult part of Platte Conty’s schedule, including national tournaments at KC Stampede and Cheesehead. However, his return bolsters a lineup with only one wrestler currently ranked but a slew of other contributors that could have the Pirates under the radar as the postseason approaches.
“As a team, we’re pretty ready,” Platte County senior Nick Filger said. “Rankings really don’t mean anything.”
The next four matches after Maddux’s decision were all pins. Blue Springs won at 132 and 145, while Platte County answered with victories from No. 1-ranked Filger (138) and Keuhn.
After the last of four ties, Platte County won four of the final six matches to come out on top in the final home dual for the five seniors, who went 4-1 on the night. The Pirates ended up back at home for the Platte County Invitational over the weekend, but on the night of the Blue Springs dual, the weather forecast had that competition in doubt.
Maddux, Omar Garcia, Filger, Saale and Gammill will still have the finish to the home dual schedule to keep in their memories for years to come.
“Pretty cool experience for senior night,” Saale said. “Getting a win myself and then the team win was one of the best dual wins I’ve got to witness so that was a lot of fun.”
Platte County 69, Grandview 9
The Pirates flirted with a shutout and won the first 12 matches of a Suburban Conference Blue Division dual on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at Platte County High School.
Vinny Cesaro (106), Stathopolous (113), Rocha (120), Maddux (126), Garcia (132), Filger (138), Gabe Davis (145), Keuhn (152) and Saale (160) all won by either forfeit or pin to give Platte County a 54-0 lead. With the dual over at that point, Walls then won a 5-2 decision over Henderson Moore at 170 before Drake Lacina and Gabe Harmon took forfeits at 182 and 195 to make it 69-0.
Grandview won the final two matches, including a 2-1 decision in tiebreakers for Mario Quezada at 285 over Gammill. The two could meet up again in Class 3 District 4 competition, which features six strong state contenders in the bracket vying for four spots.
Park Hill South 78, Ruskin 6
Park Hill South 73, Truman 6
The Panthers swept a dual at Truman High School on Tuesday, Jan. 15 in Independence, Mo.
Park Hill South won seven of the eight matches vs. Ruskin, all by pins. Wins were by Cameron Gillespie (182), Michael Swope (220), Trey Mastio (106), Gage Baska (138), Parker Greenfield (145), Andre Anderson (152) and Max Rosario (160) in the matches. Jackson Minor, Preston Dishman, Nash Bickford, Mohamed Ali and Austin Bryant all won by forfeits.
The Panthers won all but one match for the second time during the night when facing the Patriots in a Suburban Conference Red showdown.
Eight of the wins for Park Hill South came from forfeits: Rosario, Minor, Gillespie, Mastio, Bickford, Ali, Bryant and Max Donohoe. Swope, Clay Cronkleton (285), Slater, Baska and Anderson all won matches. The only win for Truman came via a forfeit at 195.
Park Hill 48, Lee’s Summit North 25
The Trojans picked up a Suburban Conference Gold Division win on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at Lee’s Summit North.
Park Hill won the first six matches and built a 33-0 lead. Kal Miller (120) and Trey Safford (138) won by forfeits, while Grayston DiBlasi (145) posted a 10-3 decision against Hunter Ross. Ethen Miller (126), Trey Crawford (132) and Tyson Moore (152) all won by pins against Peyton Kramer, Cole Davis and Triston Jones, respectively. After three straight wins by the Broncos, Park Hill won three of the last five. Devin Winston (195) pinned Ben Watson, while Simon Tesfamarian (220) won 4-3 against Logan Thornton. Cael Keck (106) ended with a forfeit win.
Carrollton 36, West Platte 22
Hamilton 48, West Platte 24
The Bluejays were swept in a pair of duals on Thursday, Jan. 17 at J.C. Penney High School.
Against Carrollton, the Bluejays had four wins – three of them were forfeits, going to Zack Esther (113), Cameron Sadell (195) and Thomas Tharp (285). Julian Trelow (160) won by a 16-3 major decision against Tragan Cox. Carrollton won the other two matches of the night by pins.
Facing the Hornets in a KCI Conference showdown, West Platte got two wins by pins and two by forfeits. The latter went to Esther and Mikenna Peters (126). Tharp pinned Chase Matthews in 1 minute, 14 seconds, while Sadell needed 50 seconds to dispatch Levi Hartley.
Hamilton won the other three matches, all by pins, while getting five wins by forfeit.
Lathrop 63, West Platte 6
Thomas Tharp picked up the lone win for the Bluejays in a KCI Conference dual on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at Lathrop.
Tharp needed only 28 seconds to pin Drake Chisam in a 285-pound match.
Lathrop won 11 total matches, five of which were actually contested. Zack Esther (113), Blake Davidson (145), Julian Trelow (160), Mason Taylor (182) and Cameron Sadell (195) all lost for West Platte.