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Jackson wrestlers claim Tiger Classic crown
Jackson High School's tradition-rich wrestling program had a subpar Tiger Classic last season.
The Indians made up for it this year in a big way. Jackson rolled to the title in the 35th annual Tiger Classic hosted by Central.
The Indians scored 318 points to easily prevail in the 20-team event held Friday and Saturday at Central Junior High.
"I'm really proud of all the guys," Jackson coach Steve Wachter said. "It's a very prestigious tournament, and it's a great win for our team."
Jackson placed seventh last year, the first time the Indians finished outside the top four since 1989.
"Last year was pretty disappointing, but we had a young team," said Wachter, whose squad outdistanced runner-up Memphis CBC, which had 267 points. "We bounced back from last year."
The Indians, winning their first Tiger Classic title since 2004, placed six wrestlers in the finals. Last year they had only one grappler reach the championship match.
"To have six in the finals was really good," Wachter said.
Jackson's champions were a pair of sophomores, Levi Rayburn at 103 pounds and Jordan Reisenbichler at 112.
Rayburn, seeded first, defeated Zach Nelson of Fort Zumwalt North 4-1 for the title.
"It was exciting, especially for the team to win," Rayburn said. "That was one of our goals."
Reisenbichler, seeded fourth, pinned Zach Surque of Poplar Bluff in 1:42 for the championship.
"I was pretty surprised," Reisenbichler said of his title.
Like Rayburn, Reisenbichler was happy for the squad.
"That was a big goal," he said. "I thought we could do it if we wrestled well."
Said Wachter: "I'm real proud of those two kids. They have put in great offseason training and it shows."
Jackson's other four wrestlers who reached the finals -- junior Clay Rouse (119), sophomore Michael Riney (189), senior Justin Darnell (215) and senior Blake Peiffer (heavyweight) -- all were defeated.
Riney and Peiffer were both seeded second, while Rouse and Darnell were each seeded third.
"They all had really good tournaments," Wachter said.
Wachter had special praise for Peiffer, who was second in last year's Tiger Classic at 215 and finished fifth in the state at that weight.
Peiffer plans to wrestle at 215 the rest of the season and he could have done that at the Tiger Classic.
But Wachter said Peiffer stayed at heavyweight one more time for the "good of the team."
Giving away at least 30 pounds, Peiffer dropped a hard-fought 4-0 title match to top-seeded DeMarco Kemp of University City, a state runner-up last season.
"Blake came here weighing 217. He stayed at heavyweight because it was best for the team for this tournament," Wachter said. "It shows you what kind of character he has."
Placing fifth for Jackson were seniors Doug Froemsdorf (130) and Chris Hurst (135). Sophomore Ryan Marble (160) was sixth.
"We really didn't know what to expect coming into this tournament," Wachter said. "But I told the kids we are working hard. I think it showed."
Host Central finished 10th with 194 points, bettering its 14th-place performance from last year.
The Tigers had two third-place finishes, from senior Zach Wilson at 171 and junior Trey Grovenor at heavyweight. Wilson was seeded second, while Grovenor was seeded third.
Junior Desmond Howard (125) was fourth and senior Ian Fitzgerald (189) placed sixth. They were seeded fifth and sixth, respectively.
"We had some kids place well," Central coach James Brake said. "Honestly, I thought it could have been better and the kids know it.
"But all in all we wrestled a good tournament."
@z_agate_no tab_no indnt_bld ld:
1. Jackson 318; 2. Memphis CBC 267; 3. Northwest 261.5; 4. Waynesville 258.5; 5. Eureka 227.5; 6. Francis Howell North 214.5; 7. Fort Zumwalt North 207; 8. Ste. Genevieve 202; 9. Poplar Bluff 196; 10. Cape Central 194; 11. De Soto 176; 12. Marquette 158; 13. University City 141.5; 14. McCluer North 133; 15. St. Charles 130.5; 16. Pattonville 119; 17. MICDS 101; 18. Mehlville 66; 19. Sikeston 62.5; 20. Dexter 57.
@z_agate_no tab_no indnt_bld ld:Championship matches
103 -- Levi Rayburn (Jackson) dec. Zach Nelson (Fort Zumwalt North) 4-1
112 -- Jordan Reisenbichler (Jackson) pin. Zach Surque (Poplar Bluff) 1:42
119 -- Tyler Stahlman (Northwest) maj. dec. Clay Rouse (Jackson) 12-2
125 -- Daniel Baucke (Memphis CBC) pin. Jake Cyr (Waynesville) 2:56
130 -- Jason Shell (Francis Howell North) dec. Alex Johnson (Memphis CBC) 7-6
135 -- Zach Hanniford (Memphis CBC) dec. Eric Mateo (Waynesville) 3-2
140 -- Josh Newberry (De Soto) dec. Gary Hahn (Eureka) 4-1
145 -- Jake Watercotte (Northwest) pin. Cole Reedy (Fort Zumwalt North) 1:29
152 -- Nick Lester (Eureka) pin. Jake Reusch (Fort Zumwalt North) 5:03
160 -- Matt Lester (Eureka) dec. Dan Scherer (MICDS) 3-1 OT
171 -- John Vogt (Ste. Genevieve) dec. Eli Miller (Marquette) 8-3
189 -- Maurice Alexander (Eureka) dec. Michael Riney (Jackson) 10-4
215 -- Dakota Smith (De Soto) pin. Justin Darnell (Jackson) 5:44
HWT -- DeMarco Kemp (University City) dec. Blake Peiffer (Jackson) 4-0