Wrestlers O’Connell, George Advance to State

Two Tiger wrestlers kept their seasons alive at Saturday’s district tournament in Jefferson City. Two more fell one win short, losing in the so-called “bubble match” – the win-or-go-home consolation semifinal round.

Jonathan O’Connell (49-0) captured his second straight district championship and kept his undefeated season alive by sweeping the bracket at 145. He clinched the the district title with a 3-1 decision over Sam Rackers (36-3) of Jefferson City. O’Connell’s two-point takedown late

Wyatt George was runner-up at 106, advancing to the championship match before losing a 12-3 decision to conference rival Zan Fugitt of Nixa. This will be George’s second straight trip to Columbia for the state tournament.

Senior Gabe Hesington opened the tournament with a win, then lost a 10-4 decision in the quarterfinals. He won two matches in wrestlebacks to make it to the consolation semifinals, but lost to Cole Harrell of Columbia Hickman in his final match as a Tiger.

At 160, freshman Connor Sandridge won his first two matches to advance to the semifinals, where he faced Aaron McDaniel of Waynesville. McDaniel had defeated Sandridge 13-2 in Sandridge’s first-ever varsity match to begin the season. But Sandridge had McDaniel (28-2) on the ropes in the semifinals, up 4-2 in the final minute. McDaniel tied the score, then won in overtime to knock Sandridge into the consolation bracket. In Sandridge’s bubble match, Marquis McCaster of Rock Bridge won a 2-1 decision to advance to state.

The state tournament begins next Thursday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.

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