Jackson wrestlers will try to defend SEMO title this week

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Indians return four of their seven champions from last year.

Jackson put together one of the most dominating performances in the history of the SEMO Conference wrestling tournament last year en route to a 15th tournament title.

The Indians had seven individual champions and had 11 wrestlers in championship matches while racking up 410 points. Josh Schumacher, Ben McMillian, Sean Gant and Kamden Rampley are all back after winning championships last year.

"This year's going to be a little tougher," Jackson coach Steve Wachter said. "It should be pretty tight."

Luke Rayburn, Jamie Schumacher and Justin Miller are coming off runner-up finishes, and Russell Brown finished fourth last year.

This year's two-day event will start on Friday at Poplar Bluff.

Rampley remains undefeated at 215 pounds so far this year, including a title at the St. Charles West Tournament over the weekend and at the Tiger Classic. In the most recent missouriwrestling.com rankings, Rampley was listed second in Class 4 at 215 pounds. Also making the rankings for Jackson were Josh Schumacher, No. 7 at 135 pounds; and Sean Gant, No. 6 at 152 pounds.

Tyler Yeargain is Central's top returning finisher after finishing second last year. Yeargain, ranked sixth in his weight class in the most recent missouriwrestling.com poll, won the 130-pound weight class at the Tiger Classic this year. Chris Griffith and Matt Latham both finished fourth at the tournament last year.

Scott-Mississippi tourney

Kelly earned the top seed and a bye into the semifinals of the Scott-Mississippi boys basketball tournament, which begins today at Chaffee High School.

The Hawks (10-5) finished 3-1 and took fifth place at the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament. Kelly is already 2-1 against third-seeded Scott County Central this season and defeated seventh-seeded Chaffee on Friday.

East Prairie is the defending conference tournament champion after beating Scott County 67-62 in overtime last year. The Eagles are seeded fifth this year.

Scott City, the second seed, recently had a six-game winning streak snapped at home against Delta. The Rams have defeated Scott County Central twice in the last few weeks, including in the consolation finals of the Christmas Tournament.

The tournament will open 7:30 tonight with No. 4 Oran against East Prairie. Scott City will face Chaffee at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and Scott County will take on No. 6 Delta at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the final opening-round game.

Semifinals are set for Thursday, and the finals will be played at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

Challenge for Jackson girls

The Jackson girls basketball team should get a good idea where it stands among the state's elite Class 5 schools Saturday when it faces St. Louis power Incarnate Word at the Notre Dame Shootout.

Incarnate Word was ranked No. 1 among large schools in the latest St. Louis Post-Dispatch top 10 poll and was ranked No. 1 in the Class 5 state poll. The Red Knights (13-1) recently defeated St. Joseph's Academy for the second time this season.

The Indians carry a 12-0 record into today's game against Webster Groves in the MLK Classic at Maryville University.

Jackson will play Incarnate Word at 6 p.m. Saturday in the final game of the Notre Dame Shootout.

Dexter will play Visitation at noon, Central faces St. Charles at 1:30 p.m., Poplar Bluff will play Nerinx Hall at 3, and Notre Dame takes on Eureka at 4:30.

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