Marek Davis and his Nixa teammates couldn’t help but wish they were wresting in a triangular two weeks ago when both Nixa and Ozark traveled to Jefferson City.
The Eagles and Tigers found themselves on the same mat on the same night, but not facing each other. Instead, they both went up against the host Jays. Their COC matchup would have to wait until this week.
“We understood it,” Davis said. “But we really want to wrestle them as many chances as we can get."
Nixa and Ozark finally received that chance Tuesday, with the Eagles emerging with a 58-13 victory.
Davis, who won by pin at 182 pounds, feels the teams’ rivalry brings out the best in both sides.
“We watched Ozark wrestle at Jefferson City and they wrestle completely different against us than any other school and we wrestle differently against them. The rivalry ups the game,” Davis said. “Tonight, we were focused on breaking our losing streak against them from the last couple of years.”
Davis improved to 27-4 by collecting a fall in 1:31 against Ozark’s Colby Allen. It was one of seven pins for Nixa.
Afterward, Davis quickly set his sights on this weekend’s Winnetonka Tournament and why not. The tourney field will include the top four wrestlers at 182 in Class 4 in the MisosuriWrestling.com rankings.
“Two of those kids are nationally ranked. It’s going to be pretty high-class competition,” Davis said. “I think I can earn a ranking. I want to beat somebody who is ranked.
“I’ve proven a lot to myself by doing as well as I’m doing. I really want to prove to everyone else and truly to myself that I can be one of the best wrestlers in the state. Beating someone who is ranked will let me do that.”
A strong showing this weekend would give Davis plenty of momentum entering the COC Tournament and Districts.
“It would probably give me an irresponsible ego boost,” he said with a laugh. "I would feel great. Confidence and your mental game is huge in wrestling. Beating someone who is ranked is not just about a comparison in skill. It would be a huge mental boost to know you’re one of the top six in the state.”
Davis is a bit apprehensive about returning to Winnetonka only because he suffered a torn ACL at the tourney a year ago.
“I’m a little nervous about going back there,” he said. "But I’m a different wrestler than I was last year. I think I can protect myself better than I could last year. I’m more aware of my knee now.”
Nixa’s Peyton Moore (106) and Deagan Fugitt (113) both improved to 27-5 while giving Nixa a 9-0 lead on Ozark. Moore picked up a pin in 5:11 and Fugitt won a 1-0 decision to start the dual.
“We always say to each other, ‘Let’s go out and get the team motivated,’” Moore said.
Moore proved patient and relentless en route to pinning Ozark’s Dylan Billingsley in the third period.
“He came out aggressive and I weathered the storm,” Moore said. “I took a shot and started racking up some points. In the third period, I turned him over and pinned him.”
Cole Crahan (120) put Nixa up 15-0 with a pin of his own in 4:38.
Elijah Maskrod put Ozark on the scoreboard with a pin of Nixa’s Conner Swensen at 126 just as the final buzzer sounded ending the first period.
Maskrod wasn’t sure he beat the buzzer.
“I saw both of (Swensen’s) shoulders settle on the mat for just a second and the ref was about to slap the mat when the buzzer went off,” Maskrod said. “Then, I heard (the ref’s) hand on the mat. It was definitely close. I wasn’t sure if he wasn’t going to have us keep going or not.”
In addition to Davis, Moore and Crahan, Nixa received pins from Kolyn Eli (145), Logan Lewis (160), DeSean Downs (195) and Taylor Cheek (285). Ethan Shepherd (138) won by decision and John Gholsen (220) won by forfeit.
Ozark’s Riley Newsom (132) and Cale Conway won decisions.
Ozark 58, Nixa 13
106: Peyton Moore (NIXA) over Dylan Billingsley (OZARK) (Fall 5:11) 113: Deagan Fugitt (NIXA) over Wyatt Snyder (OZARK) (Dec 1-0) 120: Cole Crahan (NIXA) over Sean Evans (OZARK) (Fall 4:38) 126: Elijah Maskrod (OZARK) over Connor Swensen (NIXA) (Fall 2:00) 132: Riley Newsom (OZARK) over Dylan Carter (NIXA) (Dec 5-4) 138: Ethan Shepherd (NIXA) over Riley Sundlie (OZARK) (Dec 5-2) 145: Kolyn Eli (NIXA) over Kaleb Doyle (OZARK) (Fall 3:29) 152: Kale Conway (OZARK) over Dylan Rust (NIXA) (MD 8-0) 160: Logan Lewis (NIXA) over Toretto Stine (OZARK) (Fall 0:55) 170: Dustin McCort (NIXA) over Max Schilling (OZARK) (MD 13-2) 182: Marek Davis (NIXA) over Colby Allen (OZARK) (Fall 1:31) 195: DeSean Downs (NIXA) over Braegan Patman (OZARK) (Fall 1:07) 220: John Gholson (NIXA) over (OZARK) (For.) 285: Taylor Cheek (NIXA) over Luke Hulse (OZARK) (Fall 1:21).