COLUMBIA — Noting the State Wrestling Championships don’t seed each weight class’s 16-man brackets, Ozark's Braxton Strick couldn’t find fault that as a defending state champ he faced a two-time defending state champ in a semifinal and not a title tilt Saturday.
Likewise, Strick couldn’t find fault in his game plan and attack, after dropping a 5-1 decision to eventual Class 4 157-pound champion Carter McCallister (49-0), a Mizzou signee out of Columbia Rock Bridge.
“It was a good match on my part and a really good match on his part,” Strick said. “I was ready to compete and so was he. He was really good at keeping me away from my offense. That's what it came down to. He's long and has a good ability to scramble, which makes him difficult to score on.
“Two really good wrestlers going at it,” he added. “It probably should have happened in the finals. They don’t really seed (the brackets). It’s pretty random, so it just happened to be that way.”
Strick (50-3) went on to finish third by pinning Carthage’s Grey Petticrew in :57 and pinning Fort Osage’s Colby Gray in 2:28.
“It’s always been my main point to finish strong,” Strick said. “It may not have gone my way in the semifinal match and it puts you in a tough spot. You either fold under pressure or bounce back and respond well, and I'd say that's what I did.”
Ozark’s Brock Sundlie and Damiem Moseley also finished third to help the Tigers place fourth in the team standings.
Sundlie was pinned in 5:21 by Liberty’s Trey Craig in a 157 semifinal. Sundlie (39-11) finished by edging Neosho’s Collyn Kivett 3-1 and beating Francis Howell’s Thomas Stuhlman 4-2.
He posted a takedown in the final seconds against Stuhlman.
“I saw the opportunity and thought, 'Why not, it's my last match,’” Sundlie said.
This is Sundlie’s highest finish in three trips to State. He was sixth two years ago.
“I wish I would have had a better semifinal match,” he said. “But it's awesome to come back and get third. It's fun to end on a win. It makes a big difference.
"It's been a fun tournament," he added. "My mindset this year has been, 'One more time, all I've got is one more.’ I'm happy how the tournament turned out, not just me, but also as a team.”
Moseley (44-9) had an eventful few days. He tested positive for pneumonia on Thursday and took an elbow to the top of his nose during a match Friday that required four stitches.
Through it all, the 113 sophomore placed third. Moseley lost 5-2 to Fort Zumwalt North’s Nathaniel Provost in the quarterfinals. On Saturday, he edged Jackson’s Jack Vassall 2-1 in a tiebreaker and gained revenge by beating Provost 4-1 in their third-place match.
“I didn't wrestle how I would have liked (Friday) and took a tough loss. But I bounced back,” Moseley said. “I was scared (pneumonia) was going to stop me. It definitely impacted me. I had to take an injury timeout a couple times and use an inhaler that I got from my doctor.
“I've taken so many vitamins this week,” he added. “(Friday) night and (Saturday) morning, I felt really bad. But after my first match (Saturday), I felt a little better since I started moving around.”
Keaton Hurst (29-17) lost by major decision 14-0 in the semifinal round to eventual 120 champion Taylor, of Liberty. Hurst finished sixth.
Peyton Greer (40-17) was sixth at 285.
Lucas Campbell (30-17) was pinned in 4:45 by eventual 165 champion Aidan Hernandez, of Francis Howell, in the quarterfinal round. Campbell was 2-2.
Johnny Williams (37-13) was 1-2 at 190 and Caden Harrington (33-15) 1-2 at 126.