Republic brought home four medals from the Kinloch Classic at Springfield Parkview High School. That equals last year’s total. It was 2015 the last time Republic won more medals at Kinloch. The Tigers finished 11th overall (out of 25 teams).
Wyatt George (1st – 106 lbs.)
For Wyatt George, who finished fifth at Kinloch last season, expectations were higher this year, but so was his confidence.
“Going in as number-one seed this year, it boosted my confidence, knowing I’d have a little bit easier route to the finals,” he said. “Just doing what I do and having faith in my coaches and all my teammates to push me definitely helped with that.”
George wrestled in a championship match last year, but Saturday’s tournament title was his first ever.
“Just being at this tournament and having this many fans here, the atmosphere is just amazing. Being able to actually come out on top, it was something I hadn’t gotten to experience,” he said.
Dominick Famiano (6th – 113 lbs.)
Dominick Famiano struggled through a difficult freshman season, but has turned a corner and had a lot of success as a sophomore. At Kinloch, he found himself on the mat during the medal rounds at a big tournament for the first time in his career.
“You’re nervous when you’re going onto the mat, but you also know you have a job to do … to go out there and wrestle,” Famiano said.
On the first day of the tournament, Famiano’s only loss came to a 2019 state qualifier. From all his losses, Famiano said he understands the mistakes he made, which will allow him to work to avoid them in future matches.
He attributes his sophomore success to work over the summer that helped give him “confidence and better technique. Last year, my technique was kind of sloppy all around. But this year, there are only a few things I need to clean up, and once I clean those up, I can start working on perfecting it.”
Jonathan O’Connell (1st – 145 lbs.)
O’Connell said he was confident coming into the tournament, but he was careful not to let that confidence turn into complacency, despite his undefeated record.
“I had a feeling I’d win, but I knew it would be a tough route to get there, and I can’t really have my mindset that I’m already going to win this tournament,” he said. “I just have to take it one match at a time.”
As a senior and a two-time state runner-up, O’Connell said he’s not letting the pressure of his final season get to him.
“I’m just … wrestling. A record is just a record,” he said. “I don’t wrestle to not lose, I wrestle to win and to keep winning, and to improve my style of wrestling.”
Connor Sandridge (5th – 160 lbs.)
Connor Sandridge is off to a 12-4 start as a freshman, but he’s not satisfied.
“Coming in, wrestling all seniors … as a freshman, it’s difficult anyway. But I think I could have done a lot better at this tournament. I just need to get my head on straight for upcoming tournaments and districts and state,” Sandridge said.
Sandridge’s loss in the semifinal was more disappointing for him because he sees how it could have ended differently. “I ended up making a big mistake that cost me the match,” he said.