COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Oak Grove Panthers dominated Class 2 wrestling this past weekend.
The Panthers brought eight wrestlers to the state tournament at Mizzou Arena. Six of them made it to semifinals, and four had a shot at an individual championship Saturday.
As a result, Oak Grove rolled to a second-straight Class 2 state title with 163 points, 22.5 ahead of runner-up Smithville. It was the first back-to-back state titles for the Panthers since 2003-04 and the 15th state crown in program history.
The Panthers also grabbed two individual championships, one from freshman Connor Brown (41-5) in the 106-pound class and one from 145-pound senior Bryce Mercer (45-2).
After the semifinals on Friday, Oak Grove coach Bobbe Lowe emphasized the importance of his wrestlers having endurance to go the full six minutes. Brown had other plans in mind, as he claimed the championship in the first period. Brown scored a takedown 30 seconds in and pinned Kirksville’s Hayden Hamlin in 1:03.
Mercer took an early lead with a first-period takedown. He never lost it and claimed a 5-2 decision over Pleasant Hill's Brady Franklin.
Landon Cairer, who had two pins and a major decision to reach the final, was pinned in the second period by Smithville’s Dalton Tipton in his 152-pound final and finished 43-8 with a second-place medal. Dalton Brinegar couldn’t get anything going against St. Joseph Benton’s Tyler McNutt and fell 7-0 in his 170-pound final to finish 38-8.
Earlier Saturday, Brock Mercer (120), Tyler Brown (132) and Preston Airington (195) each claimed third place, while Skyler Jackson (138) won his fifth-place match.