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Sikeston grappler competes on wining Missouri team

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Bulls, a USA Wrestling team of 14-15-

year-olds, captured the state's first-ever team championship by winning the 2005 Cadet Freestyle National Dual Championships in Kansas City.

Sikeston High School wrestling coach Ivan Robison attended with two Sikeston wrestlers, heavyweights Robert Madison and Josh Northern.

"It was a great week of wrestling, a great thing to see and be part of," said Robison. "Missouri wrestling is on the rise, gaining a lot of national exposure."

Missouri also reached the finals in the Greco-Roman competition, finishing second.

Robison acted as an assistant tournament director of the 28-team event, in addition to his coaching duties.

Madison went 4-4 on Missouri's top team, the Bulls, who defeated the Minnesota Bay Watchers 38-33 in the final.

Missouri and Minnesota were both 9-0 in the tournament heading to the final dual.

The Bulls, seeded sixth, defeated Team Washington 41-25, New Jersey 34-31 and the Pennsylvania Looney Russian Bears 35-31 in the Blue Pool on the way to the final.

Minnesota, seeded No. 1, recorded wins against Michigan (35-33), Illinois (39-29), and the Oklahoma Indians (40-29) in the Red Pool to earn a trip to the championship.

The two teams were deadlocked at 8-8, 12-12 and 18-18 after the fourth, sixth and ninth bouts of their dual, but the Bulls won the next three, two by technical falls.

Behind Missouri and Minnesota, in order of finish were: 3. Oklahoma, 4. New Jersey, 5. Pennsylvania, 6. Michigan, 7. Illinois, 8. Washington, 9. New York and 10. Indiana.

Northern competed on Missouri's second team, the Horns, which finished 11th in freestyle. Northern compiled a 2-4 record.

Also on the Missouri team were Matt and Nick Lester, twin sons of former Sikeston resident Greg Lester, who now lives in Eureka. Matt, at 98 pounds, and Nick, at 105, made key contributions to the Bulls' winning effort.

After a quick return trip to Sikeston, Robison picked up graduated Sikeston senior heavyweight Joe Johnson and headed for Enid, Okla., site of the Junior National Dual Championships (freestyle and Greco competition), held on June 28-July 3. Johnson, a two-time Missouri state high school medalist, will begin competition at 10 a.m. today.