The objective was initially a high school state championship. That’s what Platte County High School wrestler Matthew Schmitt says he envisioned during his youth.
But as the years passed and the wins stockpiled, Schmitt altered the expectations. As he entered his senior season already a two-time state champion, he decided a third title would no longer be an adequate target.
“It’s no secret that I wanted to go undefeated this year,” Schmitt said. “It would’ve been nice to do it before, but I couldn’t have thought of a better way to go out.”
That goal added some nerves to the Missouri Class 3 state tournament, Schmitt admitted, but he followed through anyway, capturing the 132-pound title. He finished the season 53-0 and won six regular season tournaments, including the prestigious Kansas City Stampede.
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He is The Star’s All-Metro wrestler of the year.
“I wasn’t going to be satisfied with (the first two championships). I was always working to get better because there’s always someone out there working to get better than you,” Schmitt said after winning the state championship in February. “That’s enough motivation for me.”
“But this is a great end to my senior season.”
Schmitt has signed a letter of intent to attend West Virginia on a wrestling scholarship. He was 155-3 during the past three seasons, winning the state championship in three different weight classes. He placed second at state his freshman season.
The Star’s All-Metro wrestling team
Kelvin Eblen, Park Hill, sophomore. Park Hill won its fourth straight Missouri Class 4 team title, and Eblen got the ball rolling this year with a convincing win in the 106-pound state championship match. He finished 39-4.
Clayton Singh, Kearney, sophomore. Singh won his second straight Missouri Class 3 state championship, compiling a 40-8 record. He has 79 wins during his first two high school seasons.
Connor Brown, Oak Grove, junior. For the second straight season, Brown went undefeated. He was 36-0 and won the Missouri Class 2 state title. Next February, he will be the only wrestler in Missouri with an opportunity to become a four-time state champion.
Colin Valdiviez, Rockhurst, junior. After winning five regular-season tournaments, Valdiviez won the Missouri Class 4 state tournament, where he was scored on just once. He finished 52-0.
Matthew Schmitt, Platte County, senior. The Star’s All-Metro wrestler of the year rolled to a third straight Missouri Class 3 state championship — all three at different weight classes. He was 53-0 and lost only three matches during the last three seasons.
Stephen Tujague, St. James Academy, senior. After three straight third-place finishes, Tujague finally broke through at the Kansas Class 5A state tournament, winning the state title. He was 41-7.
Ethan Karsten, Platte County, senior. He put together perhaps the most dominant performance at the Missouri Class 3 state tournament, winning all four matches by pin for his third straight championship. He finished 51-1.
Olen Brattin, Pleasant Hill, senior. Brattin successfully defended his Missouri Class 2 state championship with relative ease, recording two falls and two major decisions. He was 57-1 and won four regular season tournaments.
Johnny Blankenship, Platte County, senior. Blankenship made a habit out of turning in his best performances in the postseason, and this year was no exception. He won eight straight matches to capture his second Missouri Class 3 state title, finishing 45-8.
Clay Lautt, St. James Academy, junior. Lautt stopped a seemingly unstoppable force, ending Maize senior Brett Moon’s 96-match winning streak in the Kansas Class 5A 170-pound state championship. He compiled a 46-4 record on his way to a second state title.
Andrew Buckley, Kearney, senior. Buckley never had a problem racking up points. On his way to a second straight Missouri Class 3 state championship, he compiled a 46-1 record and overpowered opponents. He won 154 matches during his high school career.
Jacob Boyd, Smithville, junior. The nationally-ranked wrestler put together a dominant season in which he went 50-1 and won the Missouri Class 2 state championship, helping Smithville win its first team title in program history. He had six pins in the postseason.
Blake Johnson, Blue Valley Northwest, senior. After losing in the Kansas Class 6A state semifinals as a junior, Johnson cruised to the state championship this season with three pins at the state tournament. He finished 36-3.
Vincent Spalitto, Rockhurst, senior. On his way to the Missouri Class 4 state championship, Spalitto did not give up an offensive point at the state tournament. He ended the season 50-2.