SIKESTON -- Heartland Wrestling traveled to Northwest High School to compete in the Missouri National Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 8. This was the biggest tournament these kids are going to see besides the State Championship coming up in February. We saw wrestlers from several other states and they brought with them some very tough competition.
We had eight wrestlers in the final round and five of those boys brought home first-place titles.
Cody Middleton won his championship and showed his determination. He is wrestling really well right now and is still undefeated on the season.
Blake Angle is wrestling like a real champion.
"Blake is so quick on the mat and that helps him wrestle any style his opponent brings into the match," said coach Dan Ruby. "He's trying new moves every chance he gets. Anytime you see these kids try new things and win, it's great!"
Dustin Ruby wrestled another impressive tournament, winning the championship in style. Dustin had won all of his matches by pins and when he faced off against an opponent from Tennessee for first place, he had his work cut out for him. He was down 5-3 in points with only 40 seconds left in the match. I told him he had to score and he did with a sweet move, giving him five points. Dustin won the championship match with a score of 8-5.
Wesley McCollough won his weight class very easily. Wesley is one of our older kids that has some experience behind him and is using it wisely on the mat.
Winning his first-ever championship was Trevor Wheatley. Said Ruby, "Trevor is young and has a lot of wrestling talent. It took a while to get him serious but now that he found out how it feels to win he is wrestling even harder."
Second-place finishers were Josh and Jacob Stinnett. This pair of brothers is very aggressive and never quits. These two give it all they have in every match.
Adam Johnson is new to the sport but you couldn't tell that in this tournament. Adam is another wrestler that wrestles till the final whistle. Adam pulled out a last-minute pin and that took him to the championship round. Adam came home with second place.
Another Stinnett in the lineup is Zach Stinnett. Zach is a wrestler who shows improvement with every match.
"Zack is winning some very tough matches and when you compete at this level and win, you have to be doing some smart wrestling," said Ruby.
Bringing home fourth place in this tournament were Levi Henson and Josh Overall. Levi is dong great, he's one of my harder workers in practice and he gave it all he had in these matches. Josh is one of our experienced kids. He wrestled very tough and did well in his class.
Darin Dicus had some very good matches up there and he wrestled very smart. We are changing some things in his style because he is getting ready for Junior High next year and the level of competition is getting tougher the older he gets.
Also wrestling for the club in the tournament were Katarious Harrington, Austin Bewley, Garrett
Middleton, and Jacob Holt.
The wrestling team is preparing for the Ozark Championship on January 16 with 25 wrestlers competing.
On Saturday, Jan. 1, the Heartland Wrestling Team traveled to Jackson to compete in the USA wrestling tournament.
This was our first USA tournament and it was much smaller than the kids were used to. When you're in small tournaments like this, the kids are matched up against each other. We wrestle in tournaments where there are 500 to 1200 wrestlers. USA has some good competition and our kids stepped right up. We had three wrestlers come home with championship titles. These three had a pretty easy lineup, they were: Blake Angle, Dustin Ruby and Josh Overall.
Blake had one of his best tournaments of the year winning all three matches with pins in the first period.
Dustin continues to improve with each tournament he goes to. Wrestling very aggressively, he won all his matches by pinning his opponents.
Josh won his championship and also won the tournament trophy for the most pins. Josh had four first-period pins.
Winning second place was Darin Dicus, Trey Smith and Wesley McCollough. These guys wrestled very well.
Third-place winners were Drew Harper, Jacob Stinnett, Josh Stinnett, Clay Williams, and Gage Barber.
Fourth-place finishers were Zach Stinnett and Zach Shaw.
Austin Bewley and Brandon Flippo brought home fifth-place medals.