Jake Laswell will wrestle for the state championship Saturday, leading a Republic Tigers squad that is having its best state tournament appearance in history. The Tigers have 33 points, putting them in 13th place out of 49 teams overall in Class 3.
Laswell moved into the finals by pinning Akintunde Odunleye of Hazelwood East in the semifinals of the 182-pound weight class. Laswell is undefeated at the tournament, and his win sets up a showdown with district rival Jonathon Inman of Branson. Inman is 46-1, and defeated Laswell to capture the district championship last weekend.
Freshman Cody Sandridge has guaranteed that he’ll become the first freshman wrestler in school history to medal at state. Sandridge is 3-1 for the tournament, and has fought his way through wrestlebacks to get into the medal rounds. He meets senior Brian Harman of Farmington Saturday, and the winner will advance to the 3rd place match in the 126-pound weight class. The loser will battle for 5th.
In the 160-pound division, Kerik Crouse’s tournament run ended with a loss to Ian McIntosh of Rockwood Summit in wrestlebacks, just short of the medal rounds. Crouse had defeated Ryan Johnson of St. Charles earlier in the day to stay alive in wrestlebacks. He was 2-2 for the tournament.