by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley wrestling team had an advantage coming into Wednesday’s Suburban White Conference dual against Fort Osage.
The Indians had four open spots while the Eagles just had one, giving the latter an 18-point head start in the dual.
However, Grain Valley was unable to score enough points in the nine contested matches and only won three of them in a 39-37 loss at home.
“Any time you wrestle Fort Osage, you know they are going to be tough and that’s what they were,” Grain Valley head coach Jeff Bowman said. “They wrestled well, and they looked good. We came out flat in a couple of matches, but we will get better.
“When you get four opens from the other team and they manage to make it that close, it gives them the momentum back. Great job by Fort Osage. They did really well.”
The Eagles surrendered five pins in six of their losses in contested matches. Stevie Gabb (285), Gavin Gallman (220), Dylan Reed (132), Garyson Moore (138) and Nathan Noda (145) all had wins by fall to help Fort Osage escape with the team win.
One marquee match that helped swing the momentum Fort Osage’s way was at 120 pounds when Grain Valley’s Brock Smith took on Colby Gray. Smith took a 2-1 lead in the first period after getting a takedown. However, he was unable to get an escape from the bottom position in the second period as Gray was able to ride him out.
Gray got a reversal in the third period and was rode out Smith for the final minute as the Fort Osage freshman was able to hang on for a 3-2 victory. Gray also topped Smith earlier in the season in a 4-2 win in the Grain Valley Invitational last December.
“That’s not a match you’re going to go to the bathroom during,” Wackerman said. “You know it’s going to be a good match and a grinder.”
Fort Osage led 39-33 going into the final match and Grain Valley senior Tanner Barker (152) had an opportunity to tie the team score and force the dual to be decided by Missouri State High School Activities Association tiebreaker rules.
However, he was unable to turn John Newton for a pin as he got 11 takedown and an escape to win by major decision, 23-9.
“I was going out there trying to get six for the team, but I couldn’t do anything on top because he was sitting there and stalling,” Barker said. “I just wanted him to get up and make him work.”
While Barker went all 6 minutes with Newton, Colston Parks (106) made quick work of Fort Osage’s Kaiden Johnson. He got a takedown and a fall in 32 seconds.
“I really just used one move and it was the headlock,” Parks said. “I felt like I could have done better. I have to start getting a lot tougher because I am giving up a lot of weight. I have to be more defensive.”
Bowman praised Parks for his toughness.
“Sometimes people look at him and see his size and don’t expect such a big ball of intensity,” Bowman said. “He definitely brings it and he’s fun to watch.”
Grain Valley’s other contested match win came from Jace Worthington (170). He got four takedowns and a near fall to help himself earn an 11-5 decision vs. Jasen Periman.
Dru Azcona (126), Collin Burd (182), O.T. Frederick (195) and Justin Deweese (160) all won by forfeit for the Eagles.
Brock Smith (120 pounds) starts from the bottom position in the second period against Fort Osage's Colby Gray. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley 220-pounder Gavin Barker tries to prevent a single-leg takedown from Fort Osage's Gavin Gallman. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley 195-pounder O.T. Frederick runs through smoke and pyro on his way to the ring vs. Fort Osage. He won by forfeit. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley 170-pounder Jace Worthington uses an armbar to keep Fort Osage's Jasen Periman grounded during a 11-5 win. Photo credit: Michael Smith