Blue Springs' Shepherd helps Missouri to Metro Classic win over Kansas

By Michael Smith
The Examiner

All season long, Blue Springs senior Korbin Shepherd has dominated.

In fact, only four of his 32 matches of the 2020-21 season came down to a decision as he finished undefeated at 32-0 with his second Class 4 state title.

He had one final match of his high school career against Cade Holtzen of Louisburg (Kan.) in the 29th annual Kansas City Metro Classic, an event that features some of the best high school senior wrestlers from the Kansas City area, Tuesday at Avila University.

And, of course, he dominated.

The Wildcat senior won by a 15-0 tech fall in the 126-pound match, helping Team Missouri edge Team Kansas 28-27. Missouri now leads the Metro Classic series 19-10.

Blue Springs' Korbin Shepherd gets control against Cade Holtzen of Louisburg in their 126-pound match in the 29th annual Kansas City Metro Classic at Avila University. Shepherd won a 15-0 technical fall to help the Missouri senior all-stars edge Kansas 28-27,

Shepherd teamed up with other wrestlers on the Missouri side, including Eastern Jackson County wrestlers like Lee’s Summit North’s Aaron Barnhill (182), Blue Springs’ Cayden Dotson (120) and Grain Valley’s Hunter Newsom (195).

Shepherd dominated his match from start to finish, getting three near-falls, three takedowns and a reversal to highlight his win against a three-time state medalist.

“My coaches say, ‘Don’t go out there to win. Go out there to dominate,’” Shepherd said. “I went out there to put on a show and score as many points as I can. Scoring points is fun and that is what the crowd wants to see.”

Blue Springs' Korbin Shepherd gets control against Cade Holtzen of Louisburg in their 126-pound match in the 29th annual Kansas City Metro Classic at Avila University. Shepherd won a 15-0 technical fall to help the Missouri senior all-stars edge Kansas 28-27,

Shepherd admitted he was disappointed that he didn’t get a pin. He had 22 during the regular season.

“I wanted the pin for more team points, but I was still glad I got the tech,” Shepherd said. “He was a good wrestler. Hats off to him.”

The event was a warm up for Shepherd, who will be competing at the Fargo National Tournament this summer before he heads to the University of Missouri in the fall.

“I am going to be back in that MO West (club team) room on Thursday,” Shepherd said. “That is the best wrestling room in Missouri. I will take that to the grave. I wouldn’t be out there with the MO West coaches. I go there and get whooped. They make me better.”

Shepherd’s Blue Springs teammate Dotson came close to getting a reversal to tie the match late in the third period, but the official ruled he didn’t have full control as he fell 2-0 to Olathe North’s Joseph Triscornia. The Olathe North senior was able to ride Dotson after a takedown in the first period and for the entire third.

“I thought it was (a reversal) too, but I wrestled like crap,” Dotson said. “I can’t leave it up to the last 20 seconds for a questionable call.

“He was a big kid. He was strong. I wasn’t a big 126-pounder as it is, and he looked like a big 126-pounder. He probably cut a lot (of weight) for this.”

Like Dotson, Newsom fell in a close match to Mill Valley’s Caiden Casella, 4-3. The Grain Valley senior, who recently claimed the Class 3 195-pound state title, was winning 3-2 late in the third period after he got an escape and takedown in the second. However, Casella got a takedown in the final 20 seconds and held Newsom down for the win.

Grain Valley's Hunter Newsom, right, battles Mill Valley’s Caiden Casella during their 195-pound match in the 29th annual Kansas City Metro Classic at Avila University. Newsom fell 4-3 on a late takedown but the Missouri senior all-stars beat Kansas 28-27.

“This whole thing was just for fun. I didn’t really come in serious like I had to,” said Newsom, who has signed to play football at the South Dakota School of Mines. “This was an opportunity to have fun in the sport I love. I got to hang out with some teammates that I didn’t get to hang out with during the season.

“It was a good match. He was a really good wrestler. I guess I am only allowed one last-second mistake.”

Barnhill also capped his high school wrestling career with a loss in a close match. He fell 5-2 to Mill Valley’s Brodie Scott, a four-time state medalist.

“It’s a cool experience to come out here and see new opponents,” Barnhill said. “It’s just refreshing.

“It could have had a better match. I should have set up my offense better.”

Lee's Summit North's Aaron Barnhill, right, tries to escape the leg hold by Mill Valley’s Brodie Scott during their 182-pound match in the 29th annual Kansas City Metro Classic at Avila University. Barnhill lost 5-2 but the Missouri senior all-stars beat Kansas 28-27.

Park Hill’s Chris Bizzle defeated Louisburg’s Alec Younggren 3-1 in the 220-pound match to give Missouri a seven-point margin it needed to clinch the dual.

Also winning for Team Missouri were Liberty’s Kage Lenger (132), who earned a 14-8 decision against Bonner Springs Cruz Lara; Grandview’s LJ Davenport (138), who defeated Silver Lake’s Kai Allen 6-4; Odessa’s Gavin Gross, who earned a 17-2 tech fall against Turner’s Byron Kirkwood; Odessa’s Bryce Palmer, who pinned Olathe South’s Bobby Thomas in 3:22; and Raymore-Peculiar’s Coleton McElliott, who won 4-2 over Lansing’s Jacob McLain.