Four Marceline wrestling Tigers district champions
Team advances everyone to sectional, finishes second in district tourney
MARCELINE — Even though they only entered wrestlers in half of the weight divisions of the Class 1 District 7 Tournament they hosted last Saturday, the Marceline Tigers made the most with what they had.
Covering seven of the 14 weights, the Tigers produced four individual title-winners and qualified everyone they had in uniform for the Feb. 27 sectional tournament, while grabbing second place in the team standings.
Leading the Marceline parade to the state-tournament-qualifying sectional event were individual champions Canaan Wright at 120 pounds, Conner Quinn at 126, Mason Barnett at 160, and Hunter Nelson at 170.
The Tigers had one of each of the other top-4 place finishes. Ryder Gooch took second at 138, Jace Bixenman third at 145, and Brayden Brown fourth at 132.
Team-wise, considering it had barely half the lineup depth of neighboring champion Brookfield, that it trailed the Bulldogs only 165-121 was an impressive showing. The host Tigers edged Trenton for third place by six points.
Gallatin was fourth with 105, Macon (97) fifth, South Harrison (80) sixth, and Hamilton: Penney (79) seventh.
Of MHS’ quartet of district champions, Wright (25-14) had the easiest day. With the 120-pounds division having only three entrants and his record gaining him the top seeding, he was assured of a top-2 finish. He easily claimed the top spot when he bested Macon’s Logan Hillard (2-19) in 31 seconds.
The other three Marceline champs won twice each, two of them with a pair of falls each.
Nelson (21-2) pinned Draygan Schweizer of Gallatin at 5:05 and then Kaden Owen of Trenton at 2:25.
Barnett (8-1) finished Gage Lewis of Macon at 4:46 in the semifinals and Logan Bottcher of Gallatin in 1:27 in the finals.
Quinn (33-4) opened with a 1:08 win by fall over South Harrison’s Braxton Magee and then closed with a 9-6 decision over Brookfield’s Gambal Staddie.
Gooch (13-3) also had a mere two bouts on the day, beginning with a 6-4 win over a Gallatin opponent before dropping the 138 title bout to Brookfield star Donavan Parn by fall at a respectable 3:11.
Bixenman (12-11) got third place by rebounding from a championship-semifinals loss to a Gallatin Bulldog to pin a Hamilton opponent at 43 seconds and then a Macon foe at 2:20.
Brown had Marceline’s busiest day, competing four times and alternating wins with losses. He won by fall over a South Harrison wrestler in the quarterfinals, lost to a Trenton opponent by fall in the championship semis, and won by 35-seconds fall in his consolation-semifinals “bubble” bout before dropping the third-place bout by early fall to the South Harrison foe he’d begun the day by defeating with eight seconds remaining.
At sectional, each Marceline wrestler will be targeting a top-3 finish, since that’s how many in each weight will move on to state. Only 12 contestants per weight will be involved in this year’s state tournament in every classification so that it can be concluded in one day. High school wrestlers are limited to a maximum of five bouts in any given day.