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McBride's return helps Eagles claim title

By Michael Smith
The Examiner

The Grain Valley wrestling team is inching closer to being at full strength, as it continues to get competitors back from injury or illness.

The lastest return of heavyweight Donovan McBride, who is a three-time state qualifier and a state medalist, provided a big boost for the Eagles.

He won his weight class at the Winnetonka Varsity Invitational Saturday, putting the exclamation point on Grain Valley taking first place with 301 points. Harrisonville (232) was second and Lone Jack (160) was third. Van Horn (105) took seventh in the portion at Winnetonka.

“It’s huge. It’s great to get all of these guys back,” Grain Valley coach Jeff Bowman said. “Not only do they wrestle well, they are very compatible with the team. Everybody loves them and everyone is cheering for them.”

McBride was the latest return after Hunter Newsom (195) and three others came back after missing time last Tuesday. The senior heavyweight has missed most of the season due to a lateral collateral ligament tear during football season.

“It felt great (to be wrestling again), but my conditioning was a little rusty,” McBride said. “I still have a month of training to get ready for districts. State is the main goal.”

On Saturday, McBride made his season debut by winning all five of his matches, four of which came by fall.

“It was kind of iffy there for a while because we didn’t have very many people in the lineup,” Newsom said. “We’re getting the team back together as we get closer to the postseason, and it’s really exciting.”

After returning last Tuesday, Newsom has gone on a tear to start the season. He improved to 9-0 after defeating Van Horn’s Keanu Sua and Harrisonville’s Trevor Campbell, who is ranked No. 1 in his weight class in Class 2 according to the poll, both by fall.

“I wanted to see a challenge, a measuring stick is what I called it,” the Class 3 No. 2-ranked Newsom said of his match with Campbell. “I felt pretty good about it. He was a tough opponent.”

While top wrestlers like Newsom and McBride winning their weight divisions weren’t surprising, the Eagles had one wrestler who pulled off a stunning upset. O.T. Frederick (182) who came into the tournament with a 5-15 record, went 2-1, tying with Lone Jack’s Triston Barrett and Park Hill South’s Ashton Kuhn. He ended up winning the tiebreaker and took first.

“It was exciting to win and do it for my team,” Frederick said. “I think my throws were decent. I got a few wins with those.”

Added Bowman: “O.T. has been with me since he was a freshman. But he’s one of those guys that’s loveable because of the growth he’s shown. Going from JV tournaments where he wins a few matches, to out here competing with varsity guys is awesome.”

Anthony Greco (152) wrestled in his first tournament of the season for the Eagles, and he did not disappoint. The freshman went 5-0 and capped his day with a pin in 44 seconds to take the first-place medal.

“Coach Bowman told us to come out here and get on and off the mat,” said Greco, who won all his matches by pin. “That’s what I was thinking going into my matches. I wanted to win as fast as I could.”

So did fellow freshman teammate Gavin Parks (106), who rolled through his weight division with three pins. His final match of the day ended in just 13 seconds.

“I thought I did pretty good,” said Parks, who improved to 24-2. “I just need to be more comfortable on my feet and get more shots.”’

Like Parks, Tanner Barker (138) continued his strong season. The No. 3-ranked sophomore improved to 21-3 after finishing 5-0, capping off his day with a hard-fought 4-1 decision against Jackson Leath of Lone Jack.

“I wrestled him earlier in the season,” the No. 3-ranked Barker said of Leath. “I knew what I needed to do and wrestled my match instead of his.

“I am looking to a state championship. That is my big goal.”

Other Grain Valley competitors to place in the top three included Tyler Groves (113, second), Brock Smith (120, second), Justin Deweese (132, third) and Andrew Czeschin (220, third).

For Van Horn, Ethan Moses (120) was the lone Falcon to win his weight class. He won all three of his matches, including a 5-0 decision against Smith.

“We’ve been trading matches back and forth,” Moses said of Smith. ”I’ve beat him and he beat me earlier this year. I just knew I came out on the mat wanting to win it more. It showed, he didn’t even score.”

Other Falcons to place in the top three were Tevaughn Chambers (106, third), Chandler Seevers (160, second) and Sua (195, third).

FORT OSAGE GOES 4-1: Fort Osage went 4-1 in duals in the Kearney portion of the Winnetonka Invitational.

The Indians topped Oak Park (51-21), Odessa (39-35), St. Thomas Aquinas (42-36) and Kearney (42-33) but fell 40-29 to Liberty North.

Stevie Gabb (285) went 5-0 with five pins, including four in the first period. Dylan Reed (126) and David Jacquez (195) also went 5-0. Reed recorded one pin, two major decisions and two decisions, while Jacquez had four decisions and a forfeit win.

Rylan Mansfield (113) went 4-1 with four pins. Jesse Newton (152) and Jeremiah Phillips (160) also went 4-1.

HICKMAN TOURNAMENT: Lee’s Summit North captured second place and Blue Springs South was seventh in the eight-team Columbia Hickman Tournament.

The Broncos totaled 181 points to finish behind Jefferson City (211.5). South totaled 79 points.

North’s Trevor Taylor captured the 285-pound title, winning a 3-2 decision over Jefferson City’s Isaac Enloe in the final. Aaron Barnhill took the 195 crown, stopping Jeff City’s Jakell Hayes 11-9 in the final, and Caden Schweitzer topped the 120 field with a 6-1 win over Jeff City’s Braden Werderhausen in the final. Javi Gutierrez (145), Trey Robinson (138) and Ryan McNeel (132 each took second for the Broncos.

Logan Mainard (106) took third and Tommy LaPour (220), Danny Hampton (120) and Alessio Creek (132) each finished fourth for Blue Springs South.