Jackson cracks top 4 again

Sunday, December 17, 2006
Central's Garrett New controlled Pattonville's Brian Patrick in the championship match for the 152-pound division at the Tiger Classic on Saturday. New lost a 7-3 decision in the match, and Central finished 13 among the 20 teams in the annual event. (Fred Lynch)

The Indians extended their streak with a runner-up showing behind Northwest.

Jackson High School wrestling coach Steve Wachter wondered whether his relatively inexperienced squad could continue its impressive streak at the Tiger Classic.

Much to Wachter's delight, the Indians pulled it off.

By virtue of their runner-up finish in the 20-team event, the Indians have now placed in the top four in the rugged tournament every year since 1990.

"That is something to be very proud of, especially because of how tough this tournament is," Wachter said after the event wrapped up Saturday night at Central Junior High. "I feel really proud of the team.

"And this year might be extra special, because we're kind of young and inexperienced. Before the tournament, we said if we finished in the top six, we would probably be pleased."

Jackson, which returned no state qualifiers this year, finished the 33rd annual Tiger Classic with 279.5 points despite having no individual champion.

Jackson's Jamie Schumacher was in control over Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers' Josh Baucke in the 145-pound division championship match at the Tiger Classic on Saturday night. Schumacher lost a 15-5 decision. (Fred Lynch)

Defending champion Northwest of House Springs repeated with 316.5 points and a tournament-high three individual winners.

Seckman was third with 273 points, while Christian Brothers of Memphis, Tenn., and Francis Howell North rounded out the top five with 271.5 and 243 points, respectively.

Host Central was 13th with 152 points.

"I'm extremely pleased, especially from where we started the season at," Wachter said. "We wrestled really well. We were on top of our game the whole tournament."

Jackson, which finished fourth in the Tiger Classic last year after winning titles in 2003 and 2004, recorded their eighth second-place showing during their streak of top-four finishes.

The Indians did it despite having just one wrestler in the finals. Jamie Schumacher placed second at 145 pounds after losing 15-5 to Christian Brothers' Josh Baucke.

Eight other Jackson grapplers finished in the top six, including four third-place performances.

Justin Miller (140), Will Perry (152), Blake Peiffer (215) and Ben Wood (heavyweight) all bounced back with wins after losing in the semifinals.

Miller pinned Northwest's Matt Chandler in 1 minute, 41 seconds, Perry edged Northwest's Todd Porter 8-7, Peiffer beat De Soto's Dakota Smith 3-1, and Wood slipped past Springfield Glendale's Nick Detelich 3-1 in overtime.

Damarcus Huddleston (189) was fourth, Doug Froemsdorf (119) and Luke Rayburn (125) both placed fifth, and Clay Rouse (112) finished sixth.

"Jamie did a great job getting to the finals, but it's hard to pick out just one because they all did really well," Wachter said. "We didn't have any champions, but they all wrestled like champions."

As for Central, coach Josh Crowell wasn't all that excited even though the Tigers bettered last year's 16th-place showing.

"I'm displeased overall as a team because we didn't fare as well as we would have liked in our own tournament," Crowell said. "I'm happy for the guys who medaled, but as a team we have to learn to be consistent from round to round.

"We have to continue working hard toward what's really important, which is district and state."

The Tigers had one wrestler in the championship match as 152-pounder Garrett New finished second after losing to Pattonville's undefeated Brian Patrick 7-3.

Tyler Yeargain (130), who placed first last year, settled for third place. After losing in the semifinals, he bounced back to pin Ste. Genevieve's Gary Schenz in 5:25.

Central's other place-winner was Matt Latham (135), who finished fourth.

"Garrett was seeded second so he lived up to that," Crowell said. "Patrick is a tough kid and you have to hand it to him.

"Tyler and Matt also wrestled tough tournaments, like Garrett did. Tyler was seeded second but he got upset in the semifinals. Matt was seeded sixth, so he did better than that."

Crowell praised freshman Raymond Woldtvedt (140), who was not seeded but placed seventh.

"I'm proud of him," Crowell said.

Crowell also had plenty of praise for everybody associated with the tournament as it again went on virtually without a hitch.

"So many people help out," he said. "The community support and the support of the school district is just phenomenal. Without them, we couldn't have this kind of tournament."

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