Rockhurst junior Colin Valdiviez stood tucked underneath a tunnel leading onto the Mizzou Arena floor, his eyes glued to a cell phone. Only moments away from wrestling in the Missouri Class 4 state semifinals, his focus was elsewhere.
On his twin brother, Cameron.
An obstructed view prevented Colin from watching Cameron’s 120-pound semifinal match, so he settled for updates on his phone until the final result came across:
Cameron had won.
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Colin then followed suit.
The twin brothers kept their undefeated records intact Friday, and they will wrestle for state championships Saturday at Mizzou Arena — Cameron at 120 pounds and Colin at 126 pounds.
“I’m pretty good at calming my nerves when I wrestle, but when I’m watching him, it is nerve-racking,” said Cameron, who was able to watch his brother’s match after winning his own. “I’m pretty confident in him, but it’s tough.”
Oak Grove’s Brown goes for third title
For the first time since 2005, the Missouri state wrestling tournament will not crown a four-time state champion Saturday.
But Oak Grove junior Connor Brown could be on that path.
After quarterfinal and semifinal wins in the Class 2 120-pound division, Brown can win his third state championship in three seasons Saturday. He is the only junior in any class who will wrestle for his third title.
“It’s something I’ve thought about, but you can’t worry about that right now,” Brown said. “I’m going to have a tough match tomorrow, so I have to worry about that first.”
Oak Grove has five wrestlers in the championship round, but the Panthers trail Smithville in the Class 2 team standings. Smithville qualified six wrestlers for the finals, including senior Luke Sachs (182), a two-time champion.
Oak Park’s Shelton eyes repeat
A shoulder injury kept Oak Park junior Hunter Shelton off the wrestling mat for nearly a month this season. It took another three weeks to regain his confidence.
“After I came back, I didn’t wrestle real well because I was worried about how my shoulder would react. But after that, I finally just said, ‘(Forget) it,’ ” Shelton said. “I just went for it.”
So far, so good.
Shelton will wrestle for his second straight title in the Class 3 152-pound championship. He will meet Neosho senior Kyler Rea in a battle of unbeaten wrestlers.
Platte County with four in finals
For the last few seasons, Platte County wrestlers have been fixtures in Saturday night championship matches.
It will be more of the same this year.
Seniors Matthew Schmitt (132 pounds) and Ethan Karsten (145) will try to cap their high school careers with their third state championships, Johnny Blankenship (160) will wrestle for his second championship and sophomore Cody Phippen (106) will compete for his first title.
Platte County trails only Neosho in the Class 3 team standings.
Vying for No. 3
Park Hill senior Sean Hosford can win his third championship for the Trojans, who remain in the lead in the Class 4 team standings. Park Hill has won three straight team championships.
Odessa senior Dakota Miller, also a two-time winner, reached the finals in the Class 2 126-pound division.