by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley wrestling team has had to deal with some injuries to begin the season.
However, the Eagles are starting to get healthy and some wrestlers who missed some matches competed in Wednesday’s Suburban White Conference dual against Raytown.
Collin Burd (190 pounds), Dru Azcona (132) and Tanner Barker (165) all missed some time this season but all of them helped fill the lineup and got victories to help Grain Valley steamroll the Blue Jays 69-9 at Raytown High School.
"Collin Burd ... it wouldn't matter if he lost two legs or half his arm, he would try to run through a brick wall," Horner said. "He's a warrior and a go-getter. It's amazing to get guys back in the lineup like Dru and Tanner. It's good to have them back in January when the schedule starts getting tough."
Burd suffered a foot injury during the first week of the football season and had to miss the rest of it including the playoffs. He didn’t wrestle in the Grain Valley Tournament and the Blue Springs dual to start the season, but made it back in time for a dual tournament in Columbia on Dec. 10.
He is now available and has a 6-1 record to start the season. He got his sixth win against Raytown’s Sam Pilkinton during a 6-3 decision in which he earned a takedown and two near falls.
“It’s good to be back and healed fully and I am winning,” Burd said. “I have been doing rehab and fixing (the foot) up. I felt like I could have wrestled better. I won but I could’ve taken more shots and got a few more takedowns.”
While Burd has been back to wrestle a few matches this season, Barker and Azcona made return in Wednesday’s dual after lengthy absences.
Barker didn’t wrestle but earned a forfeit victory in his first meet back after suffering a shoulder injury during the Grain Valley Wrestling Tournament on Dec. 3.
Azcona wrestled in his first match of the season against Raytown. Before the season he tore some cartilage in his ribs and had to miss the entire month of December for the Grain Valley wrestling team.
On Wednesday, the senior jumped out to an 8-2 lead against Kaseem Bedford and earned a pin in 2 minutes and 38 seconds in the 132-pound match to help the Eagles dominate in a 69-9 blowout at Raytown High School.
“First thing was to make sure I was stretched and make sure I was all good before going on the mat,” said Azcona, who finished fourth at state in his weight class last season. “I have been practicing and I have been feeling a lot better. I feel 100 percent and I think I showed it.”
Most of the other Eagles to wrestle have been in the lineup throughout the season and have helped Grain Valley stay afloat with the absence of some of the wrestlers in its starting lineup. Ethan Jones (138) is one of them and he got a win vs. the Blue Jays as he pinned Kalem Williamson in 48 seconds.
“I was expecting the way he came out,” Jones said of Williamson. “He was bull rushing but I learned to get used to it and I was able to pin him pretty quick.”
Other boys to win for Grain Valley were Colston Parks (106) by a second period pin, Gavin Parks by pin in 28 seconds, Tyler Groves (144) by pin in 2:50, Justin Deweese (157) by pin in 42 seconds; and Zach Bleess (113), Brock Smith (126) Mason Bertrand (175) and Aven Aumua each won by forfeit.
Camary Schmalzbach was one of two girls wrestlers to win a contest match as the Grain Valley girls wrestling team earned a 42-6 victory against Raytown.
Camary Schmalzbach (135), a first-year wrestler, jumped to a 4-1 lead after a pair of takedowns and used a wrist and half nelson to turn Jazmine Sanchez and get a pin in 49 seconds.
“I was really pleased with how I wrestled today,” Schmalzbach said. “I think all the girls that came onto the team have really grown and have come together.”
Adalia Del Real (170) won Grain Valley’s other contest match. She got a 10-0 lead with a pair of three-point near falls to start the match. She then got a double leg takedown and a pin in 2:49 against Levia Vai Iatala.
Ava Kusick (115), Mackenzie Davis (125), Sovereign Aumua (140), Addison Cross (155) and Jayden Moehle (235) each won by forfeit for the Eagles.
Grain Valley's Ethan Jones prepares to pin Raytown's Kalem Williamson. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley's Collin Burd tries to turn Raytown's Sam Pilkinton in his match during Wednesday's dual at Raytown High School. Grain Valley won the dual 69-9.
Photo credit: Michael Smith