Carl Junction Bulldogs earn back-to-back district wrestling titles

Feb. 18—CARL JUNCTION — The Carl Junction boys wrestling team earned its second straight Class 3 District 3 title on Saturday. Carl Junction crowned four individual champions and qualified a total of eight wrestlers for the MSHSAA Class 3 State Championships this weekend in Columbia.

Carl Junction finished with 188.5 points, Jefferson City was second with 144 points and the McDonald County Mustangs were third with 126.5 points in the 15-team field.

The Bulldogs earned their first individual title when sophomore Carter Fogelson (42-1) pinned Jefferson City's Makoa Castillo (32-12) in their 113-pound match. Senior Sam Melton (28-3) followed with a pin of Pacific's Caleb Browning (31-11) in their 120-pound bout to earn his district title.

"The team really came together this year," Melton said of the Bulldogs. "It's more fun when your team performs well as well as yourself. We're just a big family. We love each other and we fight for each other."

CJ sophomore Marcus Lopez-Durman (33-6) also finished as a district champ as he won by injury forfeit over Marshfield's Levi Fuller (36-8) at 165 pounds. The Bulldogs fourth individual title came at 175 pounds when junior Tony Stewart (44-3) outlasted Bolivar's Mason McCurry (36-3) in a close 5-3 match.

Stewart — last year's state runner-up at 165 pounds— talked about the success of this year's squad, which also captured the Central Ozark Conference title this year.

"We have such a connection on this team," Stewart said. "We just put in all of the work in the wrestling room and we have all come together. We're just happy to be here."

Bulldog senior Dexter Merrell (35-9) was runner-up at 157 pounds after getting pinned by undefeated Casey Olszowka (47-0) of Washington.

Three other Carl Junction wrestlers qualified for state with third-place finishes. Senior Max Matthews (29-13) pinned Marshfield's Mac Mohnen (35-20) in their 126-pound third-place bout. In the third-place match at 138 pounds, Bulldog senior Brenden Berry (30-13) pinned Bolivar's Maddux NeSmith (30-9). CJ earned its eighth state qualifier when freshman Aaron Dillingham (34-16) pinned Jefferson City's Mikel Carver (37-14) at 150 pounds.

CJ Head Coach Mike Frizzell said he was impressed with Dillingham's performance.

"He avenged a loss from last night and came back and pinned the kid for third," Frizzell said. "That's a big win for him going into the state tournament."

Jefferson City trailed the Bulldogs by just a half point midway through the semifinal rounds, but the Bulldogs were aided by multiple head-to-head wins over the Jays to gradually stretch the lead en route to the district title.

Frizzell talked about the significance of those head-to-head wins over the Jays.

"Our boys responded well and came out and did what they had to do there in the middle rounds to put the tournament away for us," Frizzell said.

McDonald County

The McDonald County Mustangs also will be well represented at the state meet after earning two individual championships and qualifying six total wrestlers for state.

Senior Samuel Murphy (44-3) logged a 24-9 technical fall over Jefferson City's Alex Halloway (27-22) in their championship bout at 215 pounds, and fellow Mustang senior Jayce Hitt (39-3) pinned Union's Killian Cordia (35-12) to claim the district crown at 285 pounds.

McDonald County also qualified wrestlers for state with three third-place finishes and a fourth-place finish.

Junior Malosi Sosef (20-8) was third after a 9-3 decision over Washington's Nolan Hendrix (29-21) at 190 pounds.

Mustang sophomore Robinson Yoshino (26-21) logged a 7-3 decision over Rolla's Carson Mickem (32-17) in their third-place match at 120 pounds, and sophomore Eberson Perez (20-17) held on for a 3-2 decision over Rolla's Caleb Parker (22-21) at 113 pounds in their third-place bout.

Freshman Adam Bogart (26-21) rounded out the Mustang qualifiers, finishing fourth after dropping a 10-0 major decision to Washington's Gable Ohm (43-8) in their 106-pound third-place match.

Webb City

Webb City qualified a pair of wrestlers for state and finished 12th in the tourney with 42 points.

Webb City senior Colt Taylor (35-9) finished third at 132 pounds after pinning Pacific's Brock Webb (31-17), and Cardinal freshman Louden Bollinger (20-19) was fourth after falling by pin to Washington's Tyrese Thurman (39-13) in their third-place match at 215 pounds.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association state wrestling championships run Feb 21-24 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. Boys Class 1 and 2 and Girls Class 1 will be Feb. 21-22, and Boys Class 3 and 4 and Girls Class 2 will be Feb. 23-24.