Peyton Moore had to wait what he said, “seemed like forever,” in between his Class 4 District 3 semifinal and championship matches Saturday. But he was able to enjoy a championship feeling even before his final at 106 pounds was over. 

The Nixa freshman was confident after a takedown that his 7-6 lead over Lee’s Summit West’s Orion Bowers in the third period would hold up. It did, as Moore rode Bowers over the final :44 with little resistance.

“I knew right when I got my leg in for that takedown that it was over,” Moore said. “I was confident in my position. I was riding tough on top and could tell he wasn’t going to get up.”

Moore (40-9) was strong to the finish after more than six hours of idle time. Moore and all other finalists wrestled their semifinal matches in the morning and then had to wait until 5 p.m. for the finals.

“That was a long time,” Moore said. “I sat down for about three hours. I eventually got up and walked around and did some stretching. I think I handled the wait pretty good. But I did start warming up way too early.”

Moore picked up two pins at Districts, upping his Nixa freshman record for pins in a season to 33. The Eagles’ overall record for falls in a season is 37.

Moore can try to track down more pins at State. He will be joined in Columbia by teammates Deagan Fugitt and Kolyn Eli and Ozark’s Wyatt Snyder, Elijah Maskrod and Clayton Moison.

Snyder finished second and Fugitt third at 113, deemed, “the toughest weight class in the District,” by Ozark coach Tod Sundlie.

“It was a tough weight class,” Snyder agreed. “We had  a lot of good kids in our class. The top four were pretty close to each other and we had some close matches.”

Snyder (38-13) lost 7-3 to Jefferson City’s Garrett Butell (30-10) in the final.

“I was able to get him to his back with my legs in,” Snyder said. “But it wasn’t tight enough and I lost it pretty quickly.  He turned me and I didn’t bail quick enough, so he got me to my back. He didn’t get the pin. I had to really fight it off.

“I think I could have done better. But it was a good match.”

Butell upset top-seeded Fugitt (44-8) by pinning him at the 4:48 mark in their semifinal matchup. It was in complete contrast to Fugitt’s 8-3 win over Butell in a regular season dual at Jeff City.

“He took me down pretty quickly,” Fugitt said while going over their rematch. “I escaped and took him down. So it was 3-2. Then, he escaped and took me down in the second period. I reversed him so it was 5-5. In the third period, we chose neutral and I got thrown to my back.”

Snyder won his semifinal match 14-2. Like Moore, he tried to relax in the time in between the semifinal and final rounds.

“I thought about taking a nap, but I didn’t,” he said. “I really wanted to. But it was way too loud. I watched my teammates to see how they would do and cheered them on.”

Fugitt bounced back from his semifinal loss by recording two dominating wins and taking third. He won in the “Heartbreak Round” and semifinal round by combined scores of 19-1.

For Fugitt, this will be his first trip to State. 

“I’m happy to be going to State,” he said. “When I didn’t make it last year, I was very disappointed in myself.”

Maskrod fell 15-0 in the 126 championship match to Lee’s Summit West’s Owen Smith. Maskrod (35-21) made it to the final with a pair of pins and a 9-3 win in the semifinal round.

Moison (120) upped his record to 33-13, after he won 3-1 in the “Heartbreak Round” and followed up by picking a pin in 1:43 in the third-place match. Moison (33-13) was pinned in 2:00 against eventual champion Brayden Bradley, of Belton, in the semifinal round.

Nixa’s Kolyn Eli (145) also finished third. He emerged from the “Heartbreak Round” with a 3-1 win and took his third-place match 19-2.

“I didn’t want what happened last year to happen again this year,” said Eli, who fell a win short of State a year ago. “This feels amazing. It’s been one of my dreams to go to State. Now, I’ve achieved it. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t know if I would make it this far because I knew my weight class was going to be stacked at Districts.”

Eli (41-13) lost a majority decision 14-2 to eventual champion Gavin Sax, of Waynesville, in the semifinal round.

“I’m pretty sure he’s been watching me,” Eli said of Sax, ranked No. 2 in Class 3 at 145 by “Every move I made, he countered.” 

Nixa 182-pounder Marek Davis (38-10) lost by injury default in the consolation bracket.

Ozark’s Kale Conway (160) and Nixa’s Dylan Carter (132), Ethan Shepherd (138), Dylan Rust (152) and Taylor Cheek (285) were all ousted in the “Heartbreak Round.”

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