Seven Colonels wrestle way to sectionals

Dave Faries

Missouri Military Academy’s leading wrestler, Christopher Bryant, only took the mat for a second. The 182-pounder had byes to the final, but was expecting to square off against North Callaway’s Joshua Shelby.

However, Shelby was forced to bow out due to an injury from his previous match. So Bryant raised his arm and watched the rest of the Class 1 District 2 tournament at Palmyra on Saturday.

“I’ve never seen that before in a championship,” said MMA head coach Tom Allen.

For the Colonels it was a successful day. Seven of the eight wrestlers they brought to the tourney advanced to sectionals.

“My big surprise because he’s a rookie wrestler was Gabriel Canonico,” Allen said. “It’s pretty exciting.”

Canonico took second at 152, thanks to pinning Will Graves of Father Tolton 30 seconds into the opening match. Also bringing home silver was Pedro Garduno at 285, who earned a 5-1 decision over Christian’s Matt Elgart before falling to Seth Hasekamp of Centralia in the medal round.

Phasakorn Cunningham dropped his first match to Hunter Phillips of Centralia. But he rebounded with convincing wins to take third at 195.

Cunningham took Father Tolton’s Derek York to the mat before 40 seconds had elapsed in the second round. He then felled North Callaway’s Caleb Rorhbach in the first period of the next contest.

“We were fired up, we were ready to go,” Allen said.

Noah Johnson finished fourth in a crowded 220 class. And he put in a lot of effort – pinning Hallsville’s Gage Hart and Trinity Catholic’s Brandon Misuraca in the third period. In the consolation round he took Christian’s Ryan Tan into the second before losing by fall.

Landon Kjolhede picked up fourth at 113 thanks to an opening round win over Palmyra’s Audrin McElvain. Brett Miles also captured his first contest, besting Noah Welty of Palmyra.

“We had a great first round,” Allen observed.

William Cash battled hard, but lost his two matches.

As a team, MMA filed into the fifth slot, behind Hallsville, in the eight-team tournament. Centralia took the team win.


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