Oakville leaves districts in fourth place, seven wrestlers to advance to sectionals
Wrestling is much like that of a chess match and the Oakville Tigers are positioning themselves for a strong run to the state championships on Feb. 19 to 21 at the Hearnes Center in Columbia.
This past weekend, Oakville competed in the District No. 1 championships in Jackson and came away with a fourth-place finish as seven of the Tigers' 10 wrestlers advance to the sectional championships this Saturday.
Oakville head coach Tim Vogel was happy with his team's success on the mat and is optimistic about the squad's chances of making a strong showing at the state championships.
"Districts went really well for us," Vogel told the Call. "It was a tough district and we had seven guys make it to sectionals that have a good shot at state.
"It was a real meat grinder," Vogel said. "But I think we had a good showing."
Heavyweight Nick Wymore provided the strongest showing for the black and gold as the senior won his weight class and proved his ranking as one of the top five wrestlers in the state.
"He did a really good job this weekend," Vogel said. "I do believe that he pinned everyone this past weekend."
Oakville's Ryan Sutton took second-place honors at 189 after losing to Billy Conger of Fox in the championship match. Despite the loss, Vogel believes that his senior will have another crack at the defending state champion.
"Conger is the returning state champ at 152," Vogel said. "More than likely, it will be Ryan and Conger in the finals at sectional next weekend."
Another senior who racked up second place honors was Jesse Gunderson at 145. Gunderson lost to Cody Rouse of Jackson.
"Jesse had an outstanding match," Vogel said. "He ended up losing to Rouse of Jackson who's ranked second in the state."
Oakville grappler Eric Schmidt pieced together a strong performance in the district championship match at 152 as he captured a second-place finish.
"I think that Eric on any given day is one of the best wrestlers in the state," Vogel said. "There's no dominant guy in that weight bracket this year."
Junior Matt Mitchell also had a strong showing at 140 last weekend with a solid second-place performance. Mitchell lost to Brock Howard of Jackson in the championship match.
Tiger Darren Green was another Oakville wrestler to capture second place at districts as he also received runners-up honors at 103.
The sophomore faced off against C.J. Oden of Seckman, who currently is ranked second in the state.
"Darren had a really close match with Oden of Seckman," Vogel said. "In fact, I think that it was the closest match Oden had all year. "
This Saturday morning the Tigers travel to Lindbergh for the sectional championships, which is the last stop for Oakville wrestlers before the state championships the following weekend.
Vogel doesn't see any of his grapplers having an easy trip to state this season, but he feels confident in his squad's chances of advancing all seven wrestlers to Columbia.
"Everybody's going to be beating up on each other," Vogel said. "Lindbergh and Lafayette are very good, but I think our district has much more depth."
"All of the guys that I've got going to sectionals have the potential to medal at state this year."
The sectional championships begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.