Even though the Centralia varsity wrestling team had plenty of places it could've been over the weekend, the place it chose to go was the two-day Battle of Lexington on Dec. 15-16.
Because the field was so incredibly deep and accomplished at this event, each individual competed in eight matches. While that format may not have been conducive to some, the Panther's Grafton Litrell did make it all the way to the title match at 152 before losing by technical fall in the first place match Father Tolton's Brock Mauler 24-9 in 4:52.
Prior to that in the quarterfinals Litrell edged out Lathrop's Tyler Paul 6-4, in the semifinals he pinned Lawson's Cade Killingsworth in 5:35 and in rounds two and three he received a bye. Litrell also stuck Rick Sisk of Lafayette/St. Joseph in 1:33, in round four he won by fall in 3:04 over East/Kansas City's Alexander Villa and in the fifth round he downed Mid Buchnan's John Robinson in 1:20.
Trevor Bodine was Centralia's next best finisher in fourth at 195 by virtue of dropping the third place bout to Lawson's Ethan Bowers by Major Decision 13-5 after defeating Summit Christian Academy's Trenton Holloway by Major Decision 11-3 in round four and drawing a bye for the third and second rounds. Bodine was also defeated in the semifinals 11-6 by Knob Noster's Kodie Bellury, in the quarterfinals he beat Forrest Herzog 6-4 and he pinned Lafayette/St. Joseph's Corey Wallace in :54.
Winning the 11th place match by forfeit over Lone Jack's Zac Braun for Centralia at 126 was Duke Newsted, who also lost in round five to Richmond's Rance Waigand in 2:43 and was given a bye for rounds two and four. In round one Newsted did find a way to best Trenton's Brice Gibler in :39, but in consolation round three he lost in sudden victory 6-4 to Father Tolton's Wyatt Cooley and in round two he was pinned by Knob NOster's Conner Johnston in :33.
Jase Cox was able to place for Centralia, as well, in 13th by taking out Mid-Buchanan's Ethan Vidal in :45 after losing by technical fall 21-5 in 4:50 to Rock Port's Ethan Wood and receiveng a bye for rounds one, two and four, Cox also defeated Brookfield's Quinn Gladbach in 2:19 before losing to South Harrison's Timmy Williams in 4:39 and Mid Buchanan's Kaden Anderson in 5:24.
Also participating for the Panthers at this event included Nicky O'Toole at 113, AL Hombs at 120, Shawn Pehle at 132, Anthony Stevens at 145, Ethan Hargis at 160, Lakota Phillips at 170, Qunetin Foster at 182 and Sam Lynn at 220.