All three Republic wrestlers are still alive at the state tournament after the first day of competition. Two of them are in the winner’s bracket.
Jonathan O’Connell and Wyatt George both won their opening matches in Columbia Thursday to advance to the second day.
O’Connell (39-1) defeated Gavin Morawitz (29-14) of Hannibal with a pin in the second round. He’ll face Nick Filger (44-12) of Platte County in the second round. Filger advanced with a 10-5 decision in his opening match.
Wyatt George (38-17) upset Cody White (30-8) of North County in his first-round match at 106 pounds. George won a 7-0 decision. In the second round, George will meet Ethan Moses of Van Horn, who’s 45-4 this season. Moses won his opener with a third-round pin.
Michael Taylor (40-9) lost his first match in a difficult draw against Tyler Leonard (40-4) of Hannibal. Leonard picked up the decision 11-3. But Taylor rebounded by winning his second match against J.T. Hale (26-14) of Rockwood Summit. Taylor won a 12-2 major decision to stay alive, and he awaits the loser of a match between Devan Lewis (25-6) of Smithville and Cole Roark (38-12) of Lebanon.