COLUMBIA -- Sikeston heavyweight Joe Johnson took fifth place at the state wrestling meet on Saturday, ending a solid season on a high note at the Hearnes Center in Columbia.
The sophomore lost his first match on Saturday to Nevada's Leonard Keller by a score of 22-12. Johnson came back later in the day to wrestle Carthage's Josh Baugh in the fifth place match, but Baugh was forced to forfeit due to injury.
Johnson had pinned Baugh in the quarterfinal round in 4:15.
"I'm very pleased with the way Joe wrestled," said Sikeston head coach Chris Hodgkiss. "I knew he had the potential to place at state this year, but he had never won a match at state prior to this year. Only being a sophomore, placing fifth really says something about how he wrestled this weekend."
Sikeston qualified six wrestlers for the state meet this year and finished ranked No. 25 as a team.
Other state qualifiers were Adam Miller, Kyle Weeks, Lance Berry, Scotty Keenan and Andy Croxford.
"I would say our season was very successful," said Hodgkiss. "Year in and year out, I measure the success of our team by how we perform at the end of the year. That's what counts. We didn't have the dual meet record we would've liked, but when it came to tournaments, we placed very well. We also had very good district and sectionals, and ended the year with a strong showing at the state tournament."
The Bulldogs will lose just two members of the team to graduation -- Adam Miller and Ken Masegian. The rest of the lineup will return next season.
"We have a lot of juniors, so next year we will have quite a few seniors," said Hodgkiss. "We should be set pretty good."