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Moison makes most of injury-free junior season as one of four Ozark medalists


Fulfillment in the form of a third-place finish at State is Dayton Moison’s deserving reward for the perseverance he has shown.

Moison finally enjoyed an injury-free season this winter. He responded with a 40-13 junior year that he capped with an 11-10 win against Columbia Rock Bridge’s Tyler Abell in the Class 4 157-pound third-place match Saturday.

Moison’s mat experience at the varsity level was very limited entering this season, after he suffered a fractured pelvis as a freshman and was diagnosed with lumbar scoliosis as a sophomore.

The pain he endured in his lower back was excruciating and relentless.

“It was 9 out of 10 pain,” Moison said. “But I’ve overcome that. You've got to have a mindset pain can't hold you back.”

Moison injured his back while going through military basic training exercises in which he would carry a 20-pound ruck with 120 pounds of litter two miles along a hilly terrain.

His father, Jimmy, was a Staff sergeant.

"My Dad was a soldier and that’s inspired me to follow in his footsteps,” Dayton said.

Dayton also followed the same path taken by his older brother, Clayton, by making State. Clayton was a four-time State qualifier for Ozark.

But Dayton has bragging rights now on Clayton.

“I'm the first one in my family to place at State, that's very special to me,” he said. “This was a dream. I worked hard and achieved it.”

Moison also showed he could bounce back from adversity in the form of losses. Of his 13 defeats, two came at the hand of Nixa’s Malachi Rider, who won the 157 state championship.

“When I wrestled him, I thought to myself it was a very good learning experience against a very good wrestler,” Moison said.

Ozark’s Ruben Arvizu (33-13) came back from a shoulder injury to finish fourth at 215 as a junior. The Tigers’ Caden Harrington and Johnny Williams both placed fifth.

Arvizu, Harrington and Williams all reached the semifinal round and earned medals through wrestlebacks.

Harrington (35-14) closed with a 5-1 win against Park Hill South’s Magnus Hoenshell.

“My freshman year, I didn't even qualify (for State), and last year I got fourth at Districts and barely qualified. This year, I finally got my medal,” Harrington said. “Only up from here. But I've got to keep working hard. If I keep working as hard as I am right now, there's no limit. I could be on top of that podium for all we know.

“The last couple of years, I worked hard, but didn't give it my all every single practice,” he added. “Knowing I worked so hard this year, it gave me more confidence. If I would have worked as hard my first two years as I did this year, I probably would have three medals. That's the way it goes, you've got to learn.”

Harrington’s Quarterfinal win was his 100th career victory.

“Lot of emotions in that match,” he said.

Looking ahead, Arvizu, Moison and Harrington and classmates Damien Moseley and Keaton Hurst will all try to medal as seniors.

“I'm sure we can, that's a huge possibility,” Moison said. “We’ll all be bigger, faster and stronger and more wise with our moves.” 

Williams (43-11), a senior, won his finale by pinning Liberty’s Donovan Hodges in 1:34.