Ransom, Sewell and Haag crowned district wrestling champs

Ransom, Sewell and Haag crowned district wrestling champs
Ricardo Juarez shoulders Kade Scheer of Southern Boone. [Eric Mattson]
Dave Faries

It took Keith Ransom 62 seconds to become a district champion. And the Mexico 126-pounder didn’t really need that much of the clock.

The top seed in his weight at Saturday’s Class 2 District 4 tournament at The Sports Complex in Mexico, Ransom received a bye into the title round. He quickly scored takedown points against Fulton’s Kaden Barnes, and then added more to go up 6-0. Only then did he turn his attention to pinning his opponent.

“It’s always important to get points on the board just in case,” Ransom reasoned.

Ransom was one of three Bulldogs to earn district championships at the seven-team event. Jokiah Sewell won at 170 and Deacon Haag took gold at 220.

Also on the podium for Mexico were 120-pounder Ricardo Juarez, who finished second. Keegan Koons, 106, and Dylan Mosley, 138, came in third, while 145-pounder Cameron Beasley and 195-pounder Caleb Prater ended the day in fourth.

“Three champions helps,” said Bulldogs head coach Gayle Adams, heaving a sigh under his mask.

Adams’ thoughts in the aftermath were for Terrell Williams, Mexico’s stalwart at 152. The senior wrestling in his last season qualified for state a year ago, but this time around was hampered by injury and dropped both matches.

“I’m not going to make an excuse,” Williams said. “It didn’t work out.”

“Terrell means a lot to the wrestling program,” coach Adams noted. “He’s got the heart of a Bulldog.”

Williams may not have been at full bore. But his second match was a narrow 3-1 decision in favor of Helias Catholic’s Nikolai Careaga. And the Bulldogs put in a solid showing on the day, especially with three champions.

Sewell and Haag had to put in quite a bit more time than Ransom to claim their district champion hardware.

In his opening match, Sewell dispatched Lincoln Mertens of Helias Catholic by pin in the first period. In the title round, he held a 6-4 edge over Blair Oaks’ Levi Haney after one, but got into trouble in the second.

Haney got a take down and Sewell struggled toward a reversal that seemed never to come. Suddenly the Mexico 170-pounder was on top and in charge. Sewell won by pin with 26 seconds to go in the second.

“Things happen real fast – he made a mistake and I capitalized,” Sewell said. “District champion.”

Haag and Blair Oaks’ Joe Welch went the distance in the morning opener for 220-pounders. Although Haag held the lead throughout, he couldn’t shake free until the end, picking up a 13-9 decision.

“I thought ‘this is not going to end well if I keep wrestling like this,’” Haag said. “Eventually I said ‘start wrestling smart.’”

In the finale, Haag was paired against Fulton’s Josh Dunmire. Earlier in the year, Dunmire pinned Haag. The next time they met, Dunmire won by decision.

The renewal became a stalemate – 0-0 after the first, 1-0 to Dunmire after two.

Haag started the third in the down position and quickly eluded his opponent to even up the score. The two big men locked in and the clock ticked.

But Haag has a penchant for last second heroics. And with only 30 of the precious seconds remaining, there was a flurry of activity that led to take down points for Haag, followed a few moments later by a pin.

“He needed a takedown, too,” Haag said of the situation when knotted at 1-1. “He took his shot and I thought ‘it’s my time.’”

Juarez gained second at 120 thanks to his effort against Kade Scheer of Southern Boone. It was almost even in the first. Juarez began pulling away with a take down in the later stages of the second period. He padded the outcome by putting Scheer on the mat again in the third for a 9-4 decision.

“I made little adjustments,” Juarez explained.

Mosley’s 4-2 overtime win over Austin Baumhoer of Blair Oaks locked in third for Mexico’s 138-pounder. Mosley held a 2-0 advantage almost until the end. With just four seconds left in the match, Baumhoer evened things.

“I thought I’d have him pinned in the first, but it didn’t turn out like that,” Mosley said.

He lost a close one, 6-4, to Hunter Jennings of Southern Boone and claimed bronze when Helias Catholic’s Carson Hayes had to call a medical forfeit.

Koons’ third was a forgone conclusion, with just three wrestlers in the 106 class. He lost of Easton DeMilia of Blair Oaks.

Heavyweight Emille Scanavino lost by fall at 1:48 to Riley Shive of Wright City in his second match. Scanavino’s opener was much tighter – a 10-6 decision that went to Blair Oaks’ DeVonte Sanders, but looked to be an even battle.

With stitches under his mouth, Scanavino was saddled with extra headgear that proved problematical during the match when it fell down over his eyes.

“I couldn’t see,” he said. “I couldn’t see to get a shot.”

Prater has had a hard luck season, interrupted by quarantine. But he rebounded from a pin in his first match to go the distance against Fulton’s JaDontae Ray to pick up fourth at 195.

Although he lost a 7-2 decision, Prater was constantly searching for an opportunity.

“I was going to try to snap him down, but he’s a bigger guy,” Prater observed. “I was trying to find something.”

Beasley had three matches on his way to fourth, losing by fall in the first and final rounds. Sandwiched in between was a powerful 13-8 performance.

The Bulldogs’ 145-pounder scored steadily after a tight opening period, building up a 10-2 cushion. Southern Boone’s Cole Eppy deflated that in the third, closing to within three points with less than a minute to go.

Beasley engineered a critical reversal with 30 seconds on the clock to secure the win and fourth place.

“Interesting match,” he said after. “It’s all about timing – thinking of it before they think of it. I was able to get a shot in before he did.”

At 152, Morgan Grubb battled Camden Meeks of Blair Oaks and Blake Lubbering of Helias Catholic well into the first period before losing by fall in both matches.

Helias Catholic won the team portion of the tournament, seconded by Blair Oaks. Fulton was third as a team.

Mexico finished fourth.


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