Jonathan O’Connell returned from an injury with a big weekend at the Kinloch Classic in Springfield. O’Connell had sat out about two weeks before returning to the mat this weekend in one of the season’s biggest tournaments––and he wrestled up a weight classification, competing at 145 pounds instead of his usual 138. He still managed to take third, the highest finish of any Republic wrestler at the tournament.
O’Connell’s only loss was in the semifinal to Garner Horman of Jackson, who won on a 5-4 decision. Horman went on to win the tournament. O’Connell finished out with a pin of Blake Daher of Buffalo in the third-place match.
“The knee is still a little sore, but it’s not anything that’s going to stop me wrestling,” said O’Connell. “My mindset was pretty good [before the tournament]. I’ve been wrestling in practice all week, and I’ve been still running, so I knew I was going to be sore and I was going to feel it, but I knew it wasn’t going to affect how I wrestled.”
In addition to O’Connell’s third-place finish, Republic had two wrestlers finish fifth. Michael Taylor defeated Riley Hawk of Bolivar in his fifth-place match at 132. Wyatt George finished fifth, as well.
Gabe Hesington wrestled for fifth place at 126, but lost that match to Ozark’s Elijah Maskrod.