Peyton Moore predicts his response to a runner-up finish at the State Wrestling Championships will include being even more determined to bring home a gold medal over the next three seasons.

“It’s going to make me work harder to get back to the finals and win it next time,” Moore said after his 10-0 loss to Liberty’s Easton Hilton in the Class 4 106-pound final Saturday.

Moore has already proven he can quickly turn things around on an opponent. On his way to making history by becoming the first Nixa freshman to ever wrestle for a state championship, he avenged a regular-season loss by beating Blue Springs’ Coyden Dotson 5-2 in the semifinal round.

When they met at the Winnetonka Tournament in January, Dotson beat Moore 6-4.

It felt great to beat him,” Moore said. “At State, I didn't let him get in on shots and wrestled more passive against him.”

In the first round, Moore won by technical fall 19-4 against Marquette’s Zack Watkins, with the match called at the 3:54 mark. Moore collected an 8-5 victory against Park Hill’s Cael Keck in quarterfinal action. 

Moore finished with a 43-10 record and also set a Nixa freshman record with 33 pins.

Coach Dustin Martin says Moore can be proud of his accomplishments.

It was neat for Peyton to get to the finals,” Martin said. “Losing that match is something that will bother him for a little while. But you stand back and look at the big picture, it was an awesome season for him.”

Another Nixa freshman, Ashlyn Eli, took third at 103. She won four of her five matches at State. She was pinned by Kearney’s Emalie Olson in the semifinals.

“I was confident of placing, but the tournament went better than I expected,” Eli said. “It was a great year and wonderful to be the first Nixa girl to place at State." 

“Ashlyn brought the hammer at State,” Martin added. “She pushed the pace and wrestled intensely. (Olson) has been part of Team Missouri and wrestled for a long time. We were outclassed in that match. But it was a great tournament for Ashlyn.”

Nixa’s Kolyn Eli (138) finished one win shy of placing at State.

Nixa’s Deagan Fugitt (113), Kailla Bowman (110), Harmony Rust (187) and Ozark’s Wyatt Snyder (113), Clayton Moison (120) and Elijah Maskrod (126) all were eliminated early on in wrestlebacks.

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