Three days after a record district performance by Carthage wrestlers, head coach Kenny Brown was still coming down from the high.

A school record-tying 10 Carthage wrestlers will represent the Tigers at this week’s Class 3 state championship meet in Columbia.

Three days after a record district performance by Carthage wrestlers, head coach Kenny Brown was still coming down from the high.

A school record-tying 10 Carthage wrestlers will represent the Tigers at this week’s Class 3 state championship meet in Columbia.

It’s the most state qualifiers for Carthage since 2000.

“I was kind of speechless,” Brown said Tuesday. “I had to take a moment to collect myself and go into the other gym. Adrenaline was pumping, I was shaking, tears came to my eyes. It was something pretty special.”

Finishing in the top four and qualifying at last weekend’s Class 3 District 3 meet in Carthage were freshman Dagan Sappington at 106 pounds, junior Dalen Moore at 120, senior Nick Norbury at 126, senior Corben Pugh at 145, sophomore Brandon Crow at 152, senior Ymbar Polanco at 170, senior Dillon Lancaster at 182, senior William Prince at 195, senior Chris Perez at 220 and sophomore Brener Ocana at 285.

Moore, Norbury and Pugh will be making their third trips to the state meet, and Lancaster is now a two-time qualifier.
Their performances on Friday and Saturday at Carthage High School helped the Tigers to a second-place finish out of 15 schools in the district. Powerhouse Neosho scored 213 points to win, Carthage scored 157.5, Rolla scored 147, Helias scored 134 and Marshfield scored 105. Carl Junction was sixth with 92 points, McDonald County was eighth with 81.5 and Webb City was ninth with 72.

“The deck was stacked against us to get that many,” Brown said. “We were just looking at seeds and we should have had five or six.”

Brown said he knew it was possible that others would qualify, but he certainly didn’t expect a 6-for-6 performance by his wrestlers in the consolation semifinals.

“It was something to see,” he said. “It all started with Dagan Sappington at 106. He got that big win and that just kind of got the ball rolling and it kept going. Next thing you know Brandon Crow wrestles a monster of a kid, a very smart match and wins and he was another kid who was a six seed and beat a higher-seeded wrestler. It kind of snowballed and momentum really built for the boys. At that point you’re thinking, ‘I hope this kid makes it, I hope he’s not the only one who doesn’t.’ You want the best for all of them and for none of them to be left out. And none of them who made it to that round are staying home this weekend.”

Sappington beat Camdenton’s Grant Garrett 3-1 in the consolation semifinals. Crow beat Camdenton’s Jesus Ramirez 3-2 in the consolation semi’s. In the other six consolation semifinals matches, Moore beat Neosho’s Brady Franklin 11-3, Prince beat Hillcrest’s Qunici Attyberry 8-4, Perez beat Rolla’s Jacob Dobkins 2-1 in overtime and Ocana pinned Willard’s Austin Webb in 39 seconds.

Norbury, ranked fifth in the state at 126 pounds, claimed Carthage’s only individual district title. He went 4-0 in placing first with a 15-0 technical fall against Willard’s Oscar Martinez and falls in 2:26 and 1:20 against Webb City’s Jackson Taylor and Branson’s Caden Lorenz, respectively. He won by injury default against Rolla’s Zach Fennell. Norbury is now 45-5 overall.

Pugh, Polanco and Lancaster each earned second place.

Pugh, ranked fourth in the state, went 3-1 at 145 pounds to improve to 39-8. He won by fall in 2:25 against Winton Neal of Camdenton, beat Marshfield’s Will Snider by 12-2 major decision and defeated Parkview’s Kenyen Keiber by 12-4 major decision. Pugh lost 4-3 to top-ranked Alex Garrett of Willard in the championship bout.

Polanco went 2-1 to place second at 170 pounds. He won by fall in 2:59 over Nikolai Careaga of Helias and beat McDonald County’s Timber Teague by fall in 1:53. He lost by injury default to Drayke Perry of Neosho. Polanco is now 28-15.

Lancaster, 25-8, went 3-1 to place second at 182 pounds. He pinned Gavin Killingsworth of Willard in 40 seconds, then pinned Hillcrest’s William Hampton in 2:23 and beat Marshfield’s Clay Wilson 6-3. Lancaster lost 13-2 to Neosho’s Joey Williams.

The fourth-ranked Moore went 3-1 to place third at 120 pounds. He opened with a 10-0 major decision against Branson’s Skyler Harris, then lost 5-4 against Helias’ Evan Winder. Moore bounced back with an 11-3 major decision over Brady Franklin of Neosho and a 9-2 win against Republic’s Michael Taylor. Moore is 36-6 overall.

Placing fourth were Crow, Prince, Perez and Ocana.

Crow, 30-22, went 3-2 at 152 pounds. He opened with a 10-2 loss to sixth-ranked Jed Brandon of Willard but then won three straight: by fall in 1:23 over Carl Junction’s Wyatt Ross, 10-4 over Marshfield’s Zach Kurre and 3-2 over Camdenton’s Jesus Ramirez. Webb City’s Kade Hicks beat Crow 8-0 in the third-place match.

Prince, 25-21, went 2-2 at 195 pounds. He won 5-2 over Republic’s Tyler Dawson, lost in 2:35 to fifth-ranked Deryl VanNostrand of Marshfield, won 8-4 over Hillcrest’s Qunici Attyberry and lost in 1:29 to Republic’s Tyler Dawson.

Perez, 20-20, went 3-2 at 220 pounds. He won 8-1 over Corbin Hill of Parkview, lost 3-1 to Webb City’s Matt Miller, won in 3:53 over Mac County’s Mccoy Ikosia, won 2-1 in overtime against Rolla’s Jacob Dobkins and lost 4-1 to Webb City’s Miller.

Ocana, 31-19, went 2-2 at 285 pounds. He pinned Marshfield’s Tristen Burton in 5:28, lost in 31 seconds to top-ranked Adrian Hitchcock of Neosho, pinned Willard’s Austin Webb in 39 seconds and lost 3-1 to Justin Briggs of Rolla.

State pairings

The state championships begin Thursday with first-round action at 5 p.m. inside Mizzou Arena at the University of Missouri. The Class 3 quarterfinals begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday, with Class 3 semifinals at 6 p.m. The tournament concludes Saturday.

Six of the 10 Carthage wrestlers are making their first-ever state appearance. Brown said the coaches will lean on experienced state wrestlers like Moore, Norbury, Pugh and Lancaster.

“The state tournament is different in that we as coaches can’t be around them as much as we usually are,” he said. “We can’t help them get warmed up and make sure they do things they need to, there’s not enough room. The time of hand holding is gone so we’ve got to really lean on those guys who have been there to show these younger guys or rookies at state what they need to do.”

At 106 pounds, Sappington (24-14) opens against Ladue’s Jake Mann (49-4). Mann is ranked third in the state, per

At 120 pounds, Moore (36-6) opens against Union’s Carter Sickmeier (33-14).

Norbury, 45-5, opens against Desoto’s Devin Francis (22-20) at 126 pounds.

Pugh (39-8) will wrestle Liberty Wentzville’s Trentin Helton (33-13) in the first round at 145 pounds.

At 152 pounds, Crow (30-22) will take on Windsor Imperial’s Jacob Warren (41-0) in the first round. Warren is the top-ranked wrestler in the state at 152.

At 170 pounds, Polanco (28-15) will match up with Kearney’s Matthew Witthar (24-9) in the first round. Witthar is ranked sixth in the state.

Lancaster (25-8) faces Rockwood Summit’s Karthik Mogallapu (31-10) in the first round at 182 pounds.

Prince (25-21) takes on St. Charles’ Dahvonte Henry (35-9) in the first round at 195 pounds. ranked fourth.

At 220 pounds, Perez (21-20) faces Farmington’s Dalton Berg (42-9) in the first round. Berg is ranked third in the state.

Ocana (31-19) faces Westminster Christian’s David Toese (49-2) in the first round at 285 pounds.

“Some of them are catching a district champ, should be one of the four best wrestlers in the state is who they’re catching,” Brown said. “You hope to win some on the backside if they lose in the first round. It’s definitely a tall order for them to be able to place. A lot of these younger guys, it’s great they get the state tournament experience under their belt for the rest of their career. Those older guys, seniors with a four seed, I’m just happy they’re there and any wins we get we’re playing with the house’s money. A couple of them haven’t wrestled for very long and to me that just shows the coaching staff, Nate Kelly and John Petticrew and Taylor Bogle. All three of my assistants have done an amazing job with these guys. Can’t say enough about the work those gentlemen have put in.”