Hard fought title

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Karter Brink swings around an opponent to take control of the match during district action on Saturday. Jared Lankford/sports@monett-times.com

Cubs win district title thriller over Bolivar

It was not hypocritical. It just could not be helped.

On Saturday, Daryl Bradley, Monett wrestling coach, found himself checking the 42-inch monitor that listed the wrestling standings to see where his team’s point total was and what they needed to do to win a district title.

Monett Coach Daryl Bradley and Gunnar Bradley share a moment during the district tournament on Saturday. Jared Lankford/sports@monett-times.com

“Usually, I never ever look at points,” Bradley said. “In fact, I told our kids before the championship round to forget about the standings and go and control the things they could control.”

Yet there was Bradley, pacing the floor at Monett High School, peeking at the score after almost every match.

“I couldn’t help it,” he said. “I mean, [the monitor] was right there. I’m just so proud of the team that kept fighting all day. All credit goes to Bolivar. They wrestled a heck of a tournament. Our guys never gave up.”

Monett held off the Liberators 184 to 173.5 to claim its sixth district title under Bradley.

At one point in the semifinal round, the Cubs were staring at a 24-point deficit, but finished the round strong and only trailed 158.5 to 147 entering the final round.

Bolivar advanced eight to the final round and the Cubs punched nine through.

The Liberators left the door open for the comeback, falling in the 106 and 133 title bouts.

The Cubs quickly closed the gap with individual district title wins by Karter Brink and Matthew Bahl, in the 120 and 126-pound classes, respectively.

A win by Elias Barrientos in the 138-pound third place match gave Monett a 8.5 point lead.

Gunnar Bradley and Ethan Umfleet came up just short in their championship rounds, but Bolivar could not make up ground, falling in its 132 and 138 round matches.

In the 145-pound round, Bolivar’s Austin Coons won his district match, and the 160-pound featured Bolivar’s Hayden Burks (48-0) upending Monett freshman Ethan Umfleet, 6-3, to cut the Cubs’ lead to 174 to 173.5.

Bolivar still had two wrestlers, and Monett had three remaining in the contest.

Bolivar fell in the 182-pound and 220-pound rounds.

Monett’s Wesley Merriman was stopped in his 195-pound title bid, but wins by Harrison Merriman and Raymond Villalta in the 220- and 225-pound matches carried the day for the Cubs.

“We had a great tournament from my two freshmen,” Bradley said. “Harrison Merriman at 220 beat the number three seed yesterday and got third as a six seed. He really wrestled above it and beat some experienced guys at 220. My other freshman, Ethan Umfleet, had a great day finishing second to a returning runner-up. Karter Brink wrestled a really tough Schepers kid from Osage. He really had to work for that. We knew he was really tough on top. Karter stuck to the game plan and executed.

“Of course, Matthew Bahl took care of business against an opponent he’s wrestled multiple times this year and beat. It’s hard to beat somebody over and over. Guys start to figure out a little bit. He got that major and it was big points for us.”

The Cubs travel to Columbia for state matches on Thursday.

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