Grain Valley wrestlers dedicate season to late former teammate Trent Starr

Michael Smith
Special to The Examiner
This season's Grain Valley High School wrestling team is dedicating its season to former teammate Trent Starr, a 2020 graduate who died on Jan. 1.

Going into his wrestling match against Odessa’s Landon Scarborough, Grain Valley sophomore 113-pounder Gavin Parks had one person on his mind. 

Parks pinned Scarborough with a cradle in 1 minute, 7 seconds to help his team rout Odessa 60-7 Thursday at home. But there was a reason behind him specifically using a cradle during the match. 

“I had a former teammate who passed away and that was his move,” Parks said. “I wanted to do that for him.” 

Parks was referring to two-time state medalist and 2020 Grain Valley graduate Trent Starr, 20, who died on Jan. 1, leaving many Grain Valley wrestlers and coaches with heavy hearts. 

“It was pretty tough for the whole team,” Parks added. “(After Starr passed) we took a day off and went to the funeral. We bonded as a team and we are coming back stronger than ever.”

Bowman was the head coach during Starr’s final season with the Eagles and he said the current team embodied what Starr was all about. 

“Any time you lose a family member, it’s tough,” Bowman said. “We talk about it in the wrestling room. Win, lose, angry or sad, we are always a family. That kind of started with Trent Starr. If you listen to people talk about him, he loved everybody. He had a contagious smile. People loved to be around him. 

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“For us, to just be able to embody some of what he stood for, like love, compassion and understanding, it just makes me super proud of these guys that they took that from him. It’s been tough, but with each other, we got through it.” 

Junior Dru Azcona (126), who was a teammate of Starr’s in the 2019-20 school year, echoed similar thoughts to Parks and said the team is dedicating the season to Starr. 

“We try not to show it, but deep down the whole team is doing it for him,” Azcona said. “I am doing it for him from now on. We know he’s looking over us. In practice we see his name on the board. We are doing it for him.” 

Azcona certainly did in a tough match against Gable Gross. He jumped out to a 3-0 lead with a takedown and an escape. Gross got a takedown in the third period to narrow the gap to 3-2 before Azcona got another takedown and hung on for a 6-3 decision. 

“It was a good match,” Azcona said. “I just got done getting the second (COVID-19 vaccine) shot in my arm, so a little rusty. I needed to get back out there and I felt good.” 

Tanner Barker (152) felt good in his match, too, against former state champion Shon Badder. He used a lightning quick single leg takedown that jump-started his 5-2 victory. 

“I thought I wrestled fine, I just tried to stay hydrated all day,” Barker said. “I wrestled quickly and wrestled my match.”  

Like Barker, Collin Burd (182) grinded out a victory of his own in a 4-3 decision over Daniel Bischoff. He went down 2-0 after Bischoff got an escape, but he later worked his way into a tie before getting a double leg takedown in the third to give him enough cushion to hang on for the win. 

“Throughout the match, I was seeing that his legs were open,” Burd said, “so I figured I could get to that when I needed to.” 

One of Burd’s teammates had a little bit of an easier time in his match. 

Andrew Czeschin (285) said he’s had a tough past couple of weeks but ended his slump after getting a throw and pin in 15 seconds against Ayden Agcorpa. 

“I actually wanted to wrestle for a little bit,” Czeschin said. “I actually haven’t had a great season the past couple of weeks and I wanted to come back with a decent win.” 

Other winners for the Eagles were: Colston Parks (106), who used an armbar to roll over Brady Jones and get a pin in 1:23; junior varsity wrestler Ethan Jones (120) filled in for Brock Smith and got a pin in 3:41 over Tyler Renfro; Tyler Groves (132) reversed a takedown attempt from Jase Todd and got one of his own and later got a reversal in a 4-0 decision; and Jace Worthington (170) used a unique version of a cradle to get a fall against Blake Gillespie in 1:32. 

Kaden Crandall (138), O.T. Frederick (195) and Gavin Parker (220) all won by forfeit for the Eagles. 

For Odessa, Nathan Wood (145) controlled his match from start to finish in a 9-2 decision against Kollin Hansuld, and Zane Palmer (160) kept Justin Deweese grounded in a 11-0 major decision. 

There were two matches in the girls contest that saw Odessa win 45-6 with the benefit of seven forfeit victories. 

Sevreign Aumua (149) got the Eagles’ lone victory when she pinned Brianna Ford with four seconds left in the match.