• Highs and lows for Wildcats

  • At the end of the day, Blue Springs wrestling coach Mike Hagerty was forced to reconcile conflicting emotions.

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  • At the end of the day, Blue Springs wrestling coach Mike Hagerty was forced to reconcile conflicting emotions.
    There was the exhilaration of watching two of his wrestlers win individual championships at Saturday’s MSHSAA Class 4 State Championships as well as the pride of seeing his team take home a team trophy for the ninth consecutive season.
    Still, Hagerty was forced to admit, the Wildcats left Mizzou Arena after falling short of the goal they’d set at the start of the season as Park Hill scored 156.5 points to end Blue Springs’ two-year reign as state champ. The Wildcats (124.5) settled for second, ahead of Wentzville Timberland (96), Wentzville Holt (88.5) and Park Hill South (83). Blue Springs South finished tied for 24th while Fort Osage and William Chrisman tied for 43rd.
    Despite conceding a degree of disappointment, Hagerty said it’s a testament to the Blue Springs program that the Wildcats could take home five individual medals, two titles and a team trophy and feel anything but total satisfaction.
    “You get hung up on that a lot of times,” Hagerty said. “I think with age, maybe I’ve come to appreciate what we have with the program and the support we get from the community in Blue Springs and administration. Everybody expects us to go out and win every time, and probably rightfully so. They deserve that.”
    The Cats entered the final day still mathematically in contention for a team championship, although with a 19.5-point deficit, the odds were strongly against them.
    Junior Daniel Lewis captured Blue Springs’ first individual crown by winning his third consecutive state title with a 5-4 decision over Columbia Rock Bridge’s Samuel Crane in the 138-pound finals.
    As soon as Lewis’ match ended, he raised his arms in the air with three fingers extended, capping a 46-0 season by joining former Wildcats Tyler Hubbard, Louis Caputo and Dom Bradley as the only three-time champs in Blue Springs history.
    “It’s pretty sweet,” said Lewis, who could become the first four-time champion from Blue Springs and 23rd in state history next season. “Three of them, it’s pretty sweet. Four, that’s the ultimate goal.”
    Junior Michael Pixley provided Blue Springs’ other title, running his record to 41-0 by pinning Francis Howell’s Jarrett Franklin in the 182-pound final. Pixley went up 2-0 in the first period and held on to that advantage until scoring a pin with seven seconds left in the final stanza.
    “I had a solid game plan to go out there and attack, attack and get on the legs,” Pixley said. “He was cleaning the mat a little bit, but I found a way to score. In that third period, he had to attack me and when he did, he got whipped to his back and pinned.”
    Page 2 of 3 - Cain Salas had a shot at giving Blue Springs a third champion, but the senior lost his first match of the season in the 152-pound title bout, falling to Park Hill’s Colston DiBlasi 5-1 and ending the season 30-1.
    On Friday, two-time state champion Darick Lapaglia (145) was stunned in the semifinals by Holt’s Clayton Ream, but the senior recovered and bested Park Hill’s Russell Coleman by injury default in the consolation semifinals before taking third place by pinning Columbia Hickman’s Alex Shea to secure his fourth top-three finish.
    “For him to show the character that he had to come back and get a pin in the finals – because I told him, ‘Darick, we need these team points,’” Hagerty said. “And that’s how he came out and competed.
    “That’s just his character. Even though he’s a two-time state champ, especially these last couple years he’s been all about the team and trying to grow this program. And I appreciate that so much.”
    Austin Reyes added a fourth-place finish for Blue Springs at 220. After falling in Friday’s quarterfinals, Reyes won three straight consolation-round matches before falling to McCluer North’s Travon Butler 3-1 in the third-place bout.
    The area’s only other wrestler to make it to the final day, Blue Springs South senior Austin Eads, notched his fourth consecutive top-four finish after a knee injury nearly wiped out his final season. Although Eads had his eyes on winning his first state title, the 160-pounder suffered a 10-2 defeat to Timberland’s Dustin Gray on Friday before advancing to the third-place match by clipping Ritenour’s Lamar Welch 8-4. Then Eads finished his high school career with a 2-1 loss to Francis Howell Central’s John Wood.
    “It’s just disappointing to lose my last high school match,” said Eads, who will wrestle next season at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. “That’s all I can really say about it. ... When I look back and reflect, it’s going to be nice. But now it’s just kind of bittersweet.”
    CLASS 3: Grain Valley 220-pounder Dylan Wolfe made up for a first-round loss at state.
    And he got revenge over his first-round foe to earn a fifth-place medal.
    Wolfe lost a 13-6 decision to McCluer’s Di’ontay Hatch in the first round Thursday at Mizzou Arena.
    But Wolfe fought back with three straight wrestleback wins to reach the consolation semifinals. He pinned his first two opponents in wrestlebacks, taking down Lebanon’s Shawn Dalangin in 3 minutes, 20 seconds, and beating Platte County’s Trent Sluder in 2:31. Wolfe then eked out a 1-0 decision over Farmington’s Austin Herbst to reach the medal round.
    In the consolation semifinal, though, he was pinned by Hillsboro’s Jarad Sheppard, placing him in the fifth-place match.
    Page 3 of 3 - Wolfe then avenged his loss to Hatch, pinning him in 3:01 to earn the fifth-place medal.
    CLASS 2: Powered by eight medalists and three state champions, Oak Grove secured its 14th team title in program history. The Panthers finished with 172 points, well ahead of runner-up Fulton (113) and third-place Odessa (103).
    Tyler Brown (126), Anthony Barker (138) and Logan Cairer (145) garnered individual titles while Jacob Best (120) and Taylor Brinegar (160) both finished runner-up. Bryce Mercer came in third at 132 while Brock Mercer claimed fourth place at 106 and Preston Airington was sixth at 195.
    “We had some guys come through with individual titles, which they’ve been talking about throughout the year,” Oak Grove coach Bobbe Lowe said. “A lot of those guys hadn’t met that goal yet and that’s what we were striving for. Everybody kept it together and everybody on our team scored points in the tournament. It was just a good performance for us.”

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