Osage boys clinch share of second straight conference wrestling title
The boys from School of the Osage remains on the throne of the Tri-County Conference- even if the Indians may have to share it with someone else.
There were just two opponents left for Osage to take care of Thursday night when Boonville and Hallsville, the two schools absent from the Tri-County Conference Tournament in December where Osage went 4-1 with Blair Oaks and Versailles, came to town for a triangular at Heritage Gymnasium. Versailles and Blair Oaks still have a shot for a share of the title if they take care of both opponents. For now, Osage has done its part.
And the Indians did not leave much room for suspense, either, completing the sweep with a 60-20 win over Hallsville and 72-9 win over Boonville to close out the night and win a second straight conference championship.
“It feels great. The last few years the team has really come up and I was happy to see it,” said Osage’s Corey Hubkey who pinned both of his conference opponents Thursday night. “We have improved greatly- Ryan (Schepers), Jack (Creasy), Mason (Dulle)- the whole team and even me. I don’t mean to sound egotistic, but I feel like I’ve come up the last couple of years and it is very nice to kind of see it pay off a little bit.”
And the improvement across the board may be because the team has built some camaraderie amongst each other. For a sport that requires much from any given individual when they step on the mat, the Indians have seen plenty of team success recently whether its conference championships or putting together a fifth place team finish at state last season- one place shy of a state trophy and the best finish in program history.
“We’re all very close. We all like hanging out with each other, practicing with each other and we are all just friends, almost like family in a way,” Hubkey pointed out. “I’m kind of going to be sad leaving this year.
“I enjoy being around them, even though they are kind of weird sometimes,” he said jokingly with a smile.
For Osage coach Randy Satterlee, it is certainly a fun time leading this program and the coach noted that winning two straight conference titles is no small feat.
“Back to back is always tough. They’ve done a great job working all year long,” he said. “They have been focused and that was one of their goals- they wanted to get another conference championship and want to be individual champs as well. Those are all great goals and they have worked hard to attain them, they really have.”
The girls were battling Thursday night, too, as Osage and Eldon wrestlers went to battle with each other and Boonville. In the official duals that took place, Eldon topped Osage 12-6 while Boonville secured a 15-0 win over the home team.
Kamill Burch secured a pin fall for Osage against Eldon’s Vivian Wester in the battle between the Indians and Mustangs at 117 pounds, but Eldon came back with Mackenzie Blankenship’s pin over Osage’s Cierra Glendenning at 174 and Sydney Searcy’s pin over Osage’s Micheala Riner at 235. Burch was also able to earn a 9-2 decision over Eldon’s Addyson Gerber in an exhibition match.
“Our girls are coming around real well and are getting better every day. There are a lot of new girls minus (Olivia) Chapman and (Anmarie) Dillon, but everyone else is new to the sport so we have gotten a lot better, have come a long way and we are just trying to peak at the right time,” Eldon assistant Joe Drake stated. “It is looking like we are getting there and heading in the right direction.”
Eldon is set to come back to Heritage Gymnasium on Saturday for tournament action starting at 9 a.m. Drake is emphasizing the attention to detail that can pay off for his wrestlers, not only on Saturday, but the postseason as well which is not so far away.
“We just have to get back and work on our basics. I preach to these girls that small moves win big matches so you stick to the basics and we’ll be just fine,” he noted. “It is their last tournament of the year so we want to perform well for that before districts. They know it is their last one of the year so they are going to come out and compete like always and just get better every day.”
Boonville picked up an open weight class victory at 102 pounds and added some more points with a 4-1 decision over Osage’s Audrey Utterback at 143 pounds and a pin fall over Glendenning at 174. Satterlee said it is about continuing to compete and improve each day.
“We are a small program and really young. Any time they have a chance to get out on the mat and get some good competition in, it is only going to help build them for the future,” he said. “You like to see that transition from, ‘We don’t know anything to hey, we are actually wrestling, or got a win.’ It is just baby steps, but it is coming.”
Dulle knows all about that transition, having previously wrestled at a time where the Indians were not among the conference’s top contenders.
“It is awesome,” he said. “We were not really close and these past two years it feels like we’ve just swept through everybody. Blair Oaks and Versailles have been tough, though.”
Before Osage took the throne last season, the Tigers had won three straight conference titles, which also featured an undefeated streak of 18 straight conference duals. Blair Oaks has been in the mix as well over the last few years so perhaps it is no surprise these three schools finished in a three-way tie back in December. Blair Oaks beat Boonville in dual action on Tuesday and the Tigers beat the Pirates on January 7 so both schools just need to take down Hallsville this upcoming Tuesday in a quadrangular with the Indians and California.
However it plays out, at least part of the conference crown is staying with Osage.
“We won a lot of the matches and good squads,” Satterlee said of Thursday night’s opponents. “Boonville has a good squad and Hallsville has some good light weight kids. Our kids rose to the challenge in those matches and are wrestling really well. We are excited for them and everyone is healthy- knock on wood. We have one more week and head into districts.”
Osage’s Jackson Wyrick picked up the first contested win of the night for the Indians against Hallsville where he pinned his opponent at 126 pounds. Schepers (138) also secured a pin along with Hubkey (145), Dulle (160), Cordia (182) and Creasy (195). Hayden Westbrook (106) went uncontested along with Zach Isom (160), Devon Denman (195) and Tanner Gardner (285). Hallsville managed to secure a 16-1 technical fall over Osage’s Zach Green at 106, a pin over Gabe Arnall (120) and an 11-7 decision over Regan O’Shea (170) with the rest of the points coming via uncontested weight classes.
Green (106) secured a win by pin fall against Boonville along with Adam Diver (132), Hubkey (145), Dulle (152), Isom (160) and Cordia (182) while Westbrook (113) went uncontested along with Arnall (120), Schepers (138), O’Shea (170), Denman (195) and Creasy (220). Wyrick (126) lost his match by fall and Gardner (285) dropped a 4-1 decision.
For Satterlee, there is not much to complain about at this point in the season.
“Our sportsmanship is great and that is what I really appreciate about our kids. We’ve been working on that,” he said. “Our technique we are really great on, conditioning looks good and I think it is just a matter now of keeping everyone fresh over that period of waiting for districts and getting ready and going.
“We did what we needed to do tonight and all the matches all year long are going to pay off when we go to district seed meetings. I think it is nothing but positive right now.”
At the same time, Hubkey does not plan on getting complacent.
“Practice together, keep that wrestling spirit up,” he said of the road ahead as the Indians get ready to wrestle in the Thundering Herd Invitational at Buffalo on Saturday before wrapping up the season at South Callaway on February 2 at 5:30 p.m. “We just have to keep them functioning because we have a long gap between districts, sectionals or state. We just have to not skip practices, keep in shape, stay sharp and be a good team.”
Winning two straight conference championships is certainly an indication they have done just that.
Michael Losch is the Sports Editor at the Lake Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-346-2132