by Michael Smith
It was a night to remember for the Grain Valley wrestling team.
In Wednesday’s tri dual, the Eagles finished the 2022-23 regular season undefeated in duals for the first time since 2001 following a 66-15 drubbing of Blue Springs South and a 51-26 victory against Fort Osage at home.
Not only that, senior Brock Smith joined Dru Azona and Tanner Barker as Grain Valley wrestlers to earn their 100th career win this season as he got pins in both of his bouts.
“Always pleased but never satisfied,” Grain Valley coach Donald Horner said. “I have an amazing group of kids. We went into the hallway and I reminded them, ‘The job is not done.’ We’re working to bring home a state trophy and a district trophy.”
With wrestlers like Smith (126) and the four other wrestlers ranked in the top six of their weight class, the Eagles could do just that. The senior used a headlock takedown to win by fall against Fort Osage’s Joseph Hunt and he used a half nelson to turn South’s Simone Creek for a pin in 1 minute, 35 seconds.
“I am fired up that I got it,” Smith said. “It took a little longer than I thought it could but hey, I got there. I'm happy it’s done.”
“I haven’t felt the best recently but I was able to get the job done in both my matches.
So did Gavin Barker (215), who recently came back from missing a month due to an ankle injury. He looked sharp on Wednesday as he used an arm bar to turn South’s Bryson Nelson to get a pin in 2:58. He also won by fall against Fort Osage’s Nathan Parkerafter using a chicken wing to get the turn and the pin.
“I am feeling a lot better,” Barker said. “There is still a little bit of soreness. But I am still good enough and should be 100 percent by districts.”
“I was focused and I was moving constantly. I wasn’t trying to do too much.”
Senior Tyler Groves (144) is having a career year and he picked up a couple of big wins over wrestlers he may see in the district tournament. He used a cradle to pin South’s Carter Roach in 1:11 and also used a head and arm to put down Fort Osage’s Grayson Moore on his back in 1:30.
“To be honest, I was nervous about that match,” Groves said of his bout with Moore. “I had a great pep talk with my coach. He told me ‘To just go out there and wrestle your match. It’s your last one. You just have to take care of business.’ That’s what I did. I just kept applying pressure.”
Other Eagles to finish 2-0 on the day were Zac Bleess (113), Gavin Parks (120), Dru Azcona (132), Justin Deweese (157) and Tanner Barker (165).
Grain Valley split four contested matches with Fort Osage, but had too many opens as it fell 57-18.
Defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Sevreign Aumua (140) pinned Kayleigh McGrath and Madison Hobbs (130) won by fall over Becca Marlow. Camary Schmalzbach got the other win for the Eagles by forfeit.
Grain Valley senior Brock Smith displays his banner after getting his 100th career victory in Wednesday's tri dual with Blue Springs South and Fort Osage. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley freshman Zac Bleess tries to stay on top of Fort Osage's Tony Martinez. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley junior Justin Deweese, right, looks for the pin against Blue Springs South's August Kienast. Photo credit: Michael Smith
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