By Pat Dailey (for OzarkSportsZone.com)
Lebanon left no doubt as to who was the queen in the girls’ team race at the Ozark Conference Tournament. The Lady Jackets rolled to their fourth tournament championship in as many years on Saturday.
Lebanon scored 235 points while West Plains was second with 135.
“We work two hours every day to achieve that,” said Lebanese 125-pound champion Halea Bartel. “It means a lot to us.”
“We will forever know that we won our first four (titles) in a row,” said 120 champion Kaylyn Rogers.
Lady Jackets take seven singles titles
Rogers made history by becoming the first four-time champion of the OC tournament on the girls’ side. She won the 120 title with a pin in 3:34 against Parkview’s Cherokee White.
The timing of the Missouri State High Schools Activities Association sponsoring girls’ wrestling for the first time for the 2018-19 school year was perfect for Rogers to hit the mat as a freshman.
“It reopened the sport for me,” Rogers said. “I fought from the age of 4 until I was 10, but then I took a break of about five years. I didn’t like wrestling guys so I decided to take a break and try something new.”
Rogers (36-2) appreciates the conditioning she’s gaining in cross country and soccer.
“Cross country really gives me a gas task,” she said. “If you run 6-7 miles almost every day, it keeps your stamina high, as does soccer.”
Jessa Joiner gave herself a chance to one day also become a four-time OC champion by winning the 110 title as a freshman. She picked up a first-period pin in the final against Parkview’s Rosa Le.
“I didn’t think I had her because I thought it might be illegal to have her neck on my shoulder and my hand on the outside,” Joiner said. “But I think it was legal and I pinned her with it. She has a reversal on me, which I sort of suspected. But when she did, I turned her over.”
Joiner (35-2) enjoyed the atmosphere at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds Expo Center.
“I didn’t expect so many people to be here,” she said. “It’s getting really loud. But with a hat you don’t really hear anything. You put your hat on and it calms everything down so you can focus.”
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West Plains’ Bartel and Natalie Stewart provided plenty of late drama in the 125th championship game. In the final 10, Stewart took a 3-2 lead, only to have Bartell respond with a reversal, leaving :02 for a 4-3 win.
“I wasn’t looking at the time or the score. I still thought I was a point ahead until I heard my parents yell, ‘You have to score,'” Bartel said. “It was really nerve wracking with only :02 left. I won’t lie, I was exhausted. But I told myself I could do it.”
Bartel (27-3) has never lost to Stewart (31-3) but expects their matchups to be tough.
“She was always difficult and rough when I wrestled her,” Bartel said.
Lebanon also took championships at 130 from Quincey Glendenning, at 135 from Bailey Joiner, at 141 from Taylor Johnson, and at 149 from Dream Cunningham. All four beat opponents from West Plains in the last round.
Glendenning (34-2) earned a pin in 2:32 against Lillien Ingram. Joiner (31-1) won by majority decision 12-0 against Lianna Ward. Johnson (24-5) pinned Nikeshia Davis in 3:11. Cunningham (23-3) pinned Jade Martin in 1:35.
Dutton takes on a titanic scramble at 194
Both Central’s Catherine Dutton and Lebanon’s Mariyah Brumley have enjoyed success at the state and national levels. Their meeting on Saturday lived up to his advanced reckoning as Dutton won the 194 championship with a 10-9 win over Brumley.
The two faced each other five times, with Dutton winning all five. In her previous matchup at a national tournament in Fargo, North Dakota last summer, Dutton won by a two-point margin.
Dutton (19-0) wasn’t surprised that their match scored so many goals and was so close this time.
“I expected that. I knew she was coming my way,” said Dutton. “She’s definitely faster than me and I personally feel like my technique is better. We use our power differently. She uses more of her upper body than me and I use my lower body more so it kind of balances it out.”
Brumley (32-3) threatened to pull a pin off but Dutton escaped a grab on her neck with some ingenuity.
“I said flatly, ‘If I choke myself, I’ll get out,’ and I did,” Dutton said. “I choked, got out and got to the top and got my points. When you’re in a headlock and trying to breathe, you need to turn around. Well if you keep your arm close to your head it will choke you more but it will give you more room to slip out.”
Dutton’s hair has been dyed blue and she’s excited to unveil another new look in the postseason.
“My hair was originally purple, but it faded to blue,” she said. “I’m in the process of changing it back for State. I’m not releasing (the color) yet. We’ll see what it is in the photos. I change my hair at every big tournament.”
Revenge is sweet for Pohlsander
Central’s Jaidyn Pohlsander defeated Lillian Cottongin of Lebanon 7-6 to win the 106 championship. A week earlier, at the Reeds Spring Tournament, Cottongim had pinned Pohlsander.
“I had to believe that I could do it and trust that I knew what I was doing and that my coaches taught me well,” said Pohlsander. “No one is bigger or better than me, we are all the same size. My coaches believed in me and my teammates believed in me, so that was enough for me to believe in myself.”
Pohlsander (17-12) and Cottongim (25-10) were caught in a 5-all tie midway through the third period when Cottongim requested and was granted a medical time-out.
“She said she had trouble breathing,” Pohlsander said. “It was nice to take a little breather and get everything together.”
As they continued, Pohlsander allowed Cottongim to escape before winning with a takedown.
“My coach said to me, ‘You can get the takedown, put them up, and then pull them down,'” Pohlsander said. “I tried and hit my shots that I know.”
Unbeaten cruise to championships
Like Dutton, Camdenton’s Abigail Fuglsang and Kickapoo’s Wendy Riley-Washington remained perfect this season.
Fuglsang improved to 31-0 with a 7-4 win in the 106 final over Parkview’s Becca Waterman (23-2).
Riley-Washington went 23-0 thanks to a pin in 3:10 against Waynesville’s Marisa Gonzalez in the 174-title tilt.
Camdenton also got a first place finish from Clara Rathman with 235. Rathman (21-6) pinned MaKenna Lucas of Lebanon in 5:02 on the last lap.
Rolla’s champion was Gracie Skyles (18-11) at 115. She won by a pin in the third period.
Waynesville’s champion was A’Myrha Syyan (11-2) at 159. She won with a fall in the first period.