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Ozark District roundup — Moseley, Strick, Campbell lead seven State qualifiers


As recently as four years ago, even the most optimistic Ozark fan would have had a hard time predicting Damien Moseley was a future District champion.

Moseley got a much later start on the mat than most of his cohorts. He didn’t start wrestling until he was 11 years old and didn’t experience instant success.

“My first year, I didn’t win a single match,” Moseley said. “My second year, I think I won four matches. The next year, after going to the Terminators (wrestling club), I got better and started winning. I was about 50-50. (Two years ago) was when my winning really bumped up.”

Now, Moseley is headed to the Class 4 State Tournament as a freshman. He captured the Class 4 District 3 106-pound championship this past weekend with a sweep of his three matches.

Moseley (36-8) pinned Republic’s Phillip George in :38 in their title tilt.

“I’ve improved in neutral. At the beginning of the year, I rarely took shots,” Mosley said. “My bottom work is also getting better. I used to have my head on the mat all the time.

“I want place top three at State,” he added. “That’s the same goal as I had early in the season.”

Not surprising, wrestling has caught on in a big way in Moseley’s household.

“My brothers who are 6 and 8 are wrestling,” Mosley said. “They’re pretty good at it. Before, we didn’t know anything about wrestling and now we have a wrestling mat at our house.”

Strick pulls out victory

Braxton Strick recorded a takedown with 1:10 remaining to break a 3-all tie and go on to a 5-4 triumph versus Trey Robinson, of Lee’s Summit North, in the 152 title bout.

“I was able to get a shot and finish and ride tough for about :40,” Strick said. “I could feel that he was pulling back and I know that’s when it’s time go (for a takedown).”

Last year at State, Strick (42-3) pinned Robinson in the third period.

“We talked about how this was a good match and a lot more fun than our match the last time,”  Strick said. “Our last match was a lot of stalling on our feet. I like to wrestle and see what I can do when it matters. Obviously, I didn’t pin him this time. But I got done what I needed to do.”

Tigers’ Campbell victorious

Ozark’s Lucas Campbell won three of his four matches at Districts by fall en route to taking the 145 title. He pinned Ray-Pec’s Eli Van Trump in 3:12 in the final round.

Campbell (32-9) has his sights set on placing at State.

“A medal would be great, that’s what I’m going for,” he said.

Ozark’s Hurst goes the distance

Ozark 113-pound freshman Keaton Hurst (28-16) displayed resilience and endurance. He bounced back from a quarterfinal loss to claim two one-point victories and an overtime triumph to clinch a berth to State.

“It’s definitely been stressful with all the close matches,” Hurst said. “I knew I didn’t wrestle my best (in the quarterfinal loss). I had to come back with a whole different attitude and work my hardest.

“It’s exciting to lock in a spot to State as a freshman,” he added. “I love being on a big stage and in front of people’s eyes, especially when I’m working my hardest and doing good.”

In Hurst’s overtime win, he scored a takedown just inside the out-of-bounds circle.

“I don’t fully understand the out-of-bounds rule because it’s different with every ref,” Hurst said. “I made sure my feet were in and my knees were in.”

More Ozark State qualifiers

Ozark 138-pounder Nolan Moeller (35-11) secured three pins during Districts while finishing third.

Finishing fourth were Ozark 132-pounder Levi Maskrod (30-17) and 160-pounder Brock Sundlie (22-9),