It took just 20 seconds for Kearney senior Grant Leeth to bolster his already illustrious high school wrestling resume.
By KATHLEEN GIER
The Kansas City Star
Leeth, who is a two-time defending state champion, picked up his 200th career victory with a 20-second fall against Staley’s Jordan Steward in the 152-pound weight class.
That helped guide the Bulldogs to a second-place finish at the Missouri Class 3, District 4 meet Saturday.
Leeth improved his record to 50-1 on the season.
“It means quite a bit,” Leeth said. “It’s been a long journey and it’s crazy to look back and think that four years ago I started at zero.”
Leeth, who now holds the program wins record, was one of five Kearney wrestlers to take first place at the district championships. Overall, the team qualified seven wrestlers for next week’s state meet.
“I got into my offense, pushed the pace, moving forward, creating angles and getting my shots,” Leeth said.
Senior Seth Brayfield won the team’s first title of the day in the 126-pound weight class with a 6-1 decision against Mavrick Alexander of Grain Valley. Blake Clevenger added another after earning a 12-2 major decision against Caleb Crabtree of Platte County in the 138-pound class.
Dalton Lewis won the 170-pound weight class by fall against Brandon Seely of Staley, and Brandon Adams added the fifth title with a 3-1 overtime decision against Staley’s Eric Quador in the 195-pound weight class.
Although Kearney had the most top finishers, Staley’s depth allowed it to take the team title away from the defending state champions.
The Falcons, who finished third at state last season, only had two individual champions but qualified a district-high 13 wrestlers on the day. They had seven wrestlers finish in second place and three in third to score 252 points as a team. Kearney came in second with 211 points.
“We were fortunate that 13 of our guys are going and we didn’t lose a third place match, which is huge because that means we are not going to draw a one on the other side,” Staley coach Gary Mayabb said. “It was a good situation for us.”
Staley junior Jayden Bears improved to 47-2 after winning 2-0 by decision against Kearney sophomore Andrew Buckley in the 160-pound weight class. Senior Bailey Sutko, who is looking to defending his own state title, defeated Warrensburg junior Collin Braun with a 3-1 decision in the 285-pound weight class. Sutko improved to 51-2 with the victory while Braun dropped to 47-2.
Sophomore Matthew Schmitt led Platte County to a third-place finish with an 18-3 win by technical fall in the 106-pound weight class against Staley’s David Berryman. Schmitt, who is looking to improve on a second-place finish from freshman year, is now 50-1 in his sophomore season.
“It would kind of be redemption,” Schmitt said. “I didn’t perform my best at state last year, but I’m not taking anything away from that kid because he beat me that match. This year, I’ve got my mind set, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to win.”
Schmitt was one of seven state qualifiers for Platte County which also had two runners up finishes.
To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @kgier.