Korbin Shepherd remembers what it felt like to lose a district and state title.
The Blue Springs sophomore used those setbacks as drivers to reach the first of two main goals this season when he locked up a district title Saturday at Oak Park High School.
Liberty won the district team title with 244 points. Blue Springs was fifth (98.5), Fort Osage was seventh (69), Truman was 11th (25) and Blue Springs South was 13th (16).
Shepherd, who was one of five Wildcats to qualify for state, went into overtime against Park Hill’s Kal Miller but prevailed 5-3 to take first in the 120-pound weight class at the Class 4 District 4 meet.
“Being a district champion, it is nice,” said Shepherd, who lost last year’s district final and then state crown to Liberty’s Jeremiah Reno. “It is nice to get that one back, I dropped a match against him (Miller) early this season in a dual. It feels good. I got a week left. I’m not holding anything back.”
The win was a slight upset according to the rankings, as Miller, a freshman, was No. 3 in the MissouriWrestling.com poll, while Shepherd was fifth.
That wasn’t his only big win. In the semifinals, Shepherd pinned Staley’s Khyler Brewer, ranked No. 1 in the weight class, in 3 minutes, 42 seconds.
Shepherd was one of two wrestlers from Eastern Jackson County to pick up district titles. The other was Lee’s Summit North’s Adrian Castenada.
Ranked No. 3 in the MissouriWrestling.com poll, Castenada beat No. 6-ranked Wentric Williams III of Liberty by a 10-4 decision.
That improved the Broncos senior to 38-0 on the season. Going into state, he will be considered one of the favorites with the unblemished record.
“Whatever happens, happens,” said Castaneda, who built an early 5-0 lead over the freshman. “It is all about having fun really. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if I was 38-0 or 0-38, I’m just having fun.”
He is headed to state searching for his first medal.
“I’m pretty hungry, I want it pretty bad,” he said of an all-state medal. “I’m not going to be satisfied unless I get ... honestly, the state championship, that is the real goal.”
Outside of that, the trio of Liberty, Park Hill and Staley combined to win the 12 other championships.
Lee’s Summit North finished with six state qualifiers, while Blue Springs and Fort Osage finished with five each. Truman will have one wrestler at the state meet, which starts Thursday afternoon at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
Going into the consolation semifinals, only three spots at the state meet were secured. The two aforementioned wrestlers and Lee’s Summit North’s Caden Schweitzer, who made the finals at 113 but lost by a pin in 54 seconds against Reno.
In the 106-pound third-place match, Blue Springs’ Caden Doston pinned Fort Osage’s Dylan Reed, both qualifying for state.
Jastin Robertson (126), Jaxson McIntyre (132), DeAndre Thomas (145) are all going to state as fourth-place finishers for the Wildcats.
Four of the five Indians from Fort Osage heading to state dropped their third-place matches: Reed, AJ Sanchez (145), Josh Rieck (152) and Josh Newton (160).
Roman Tinoco (170), ranked No. 4 in the state, ended with a 9-3 win against Liberty North’s Levi Anderson in the third-place bout. This district featured three of the top-four ranked wrestlers in the state at 170.
Tinoco lost to No. 2 Blake Hopson of Park Hill in the semifinals, but won his final two matches.
“I planned on going to state, but I had to get the right mindset after that loss,” said Tinoco, now a three-time qualifier for Fort Osage. “I had to control myself and go out and do what I do best.”
Truman’s Chase Schroeder (195) is returning to state after a one-year hiatus.
The senior carries a 31-2 mark into the state meet and one of those setbacks came in the semifinals against North Kansas City’s Xavier Doolin, who was 46-1 after the win. Doolin lost to Devin Winston of Park Hill (37-1) in the finals.
Schroeder was ranked No. 6, while Doolin is No. 3 and Winston, a University of Minnesota commit, is No. 1.
Schroeder bested Blue Springs’ Koby Mansfield in the consolation semifinals to advance to the third-place match. There, he got his third win of the year against Staley’s Hayden Gregg, pinning him in 4:11.
“I have a real competitive mindset, I don’t try to put pressure on myself,” he said of the bubble match. “I hadn’t faced him. He was a tough kid.”
Also going to state for Lee’s Summit North is Triston Jones (third at 152, a 11-4 win against Rieck), Zane Ragland (fourth at 182), Logan Thornton (fourth at 220) and Mark McGehee (third at 285, pinning Oak Park’s Topher York).