State Wrestling: O’Connell Still Alive in Wrestlebacks

Republic’s wrestling medal hopes are down to Jonathan O’Connell after day two of the state tournament in Columbia. O’Connell won two matches in wrestlebacks after suffering his first loss of the season in the quarterfinals, ending his hope of a state championship.

Wyatt George also rebounded for one win after dropping his quarterfinal match, but lost his third-round wrestleback match Saturday evening, ending his season.

George ended his season with a 48-6 record. He opened the tournament with a win over Keegan Emrick of Fort Osage, before losing to Colton King (33-1) of DeSmet. In his first consolation match, George defeated Nathan Wishne of Lee’s Summit 5-0. But Seckman’s John Bamvakais won a close 3-2 decision in the next match to eliminate George.

O’Connell’s second day at state began with an upset loss to Cannon Newhouse that snapped a 50-match win streak. O’Connell fell behind 2-1 on a second-period takedown by Newhouse and narrowly missed earning a one-point escape near the end of the round that would have evened the score. His shot at a takedown in the third period fell short before time ran out.

O’Connell followed up his loss with consecutive wins over Gage Baska of Park Hill South (by fall) and Jacob Waldron of Hickman (2-0 decision). He’ll face Brett Smith of Wentzville Holt to open the day Saturday.

O’Connell is now 52-1.

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