Area grapplers take different paths to state meet

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Jackson sophomore Jarrett Reisenbichler brings a 41-1 record at 106 pounds into this week’s state wrestling tournament. (ADAM VOGLER)

There may not be two better wrestlers than Jackson sophomore Jarrett Reisenbichler and Central senior Chris Bryant to describe the variance among the 896 wrestlers that will compete in the four classes of the Missouri Wrestling Championship that begin today in Columbia, Mo.

Reisenbichler, one of seven Jackson wrestlers that will compete in Class 4, is an ultimate tactician in the 106-pound class. He's a wiry 5-foot-7 competitor who has put together a 41-1 season.

Reisenbichler has been wrestling since age 6, was a fourth-place finisher at state as a freshman and is one of the frontrunners for the 106 title.

"He's a very good live wrestler and a very good technician, and he's got outstanding quickness," Jackson coach Steve Wachter said.

Reisenbichler has used years on the mat to build anticipation and reaction.

"Probably his greatest asset he has is great vision," Wachter said. "He can see things and feel things happening really, really quick. He can make quick decisions maybe because of the time he's spent wrestling."

Central senior heavyweight Chris Bryant, a first-time state qualifier, has 18 pins among his 26 wins this season. (Fred Lynch)

And then there is Bryant, who stands about two inches shorter than Reisenbichler but consumes about twice the space.

The Class 3 wrestler is a heavyweight at 255 pounds.

He's also short on experience, but he is big on strength.

He wrestled as a sophomore, did not return for his junior season and somewhat surprisingly will be competing at the championships as a senior.

"Really, as a second-year wrestler, being a state qualifier is pretty amazing," Central coach James Brake said.

Bryant is not only an unlikely state qualifier, he's the Tigers' lone qualifier.

"I'm super excited. It's like a second Christmas," said a beaming Bryant.

Bryant holds three weight room records at Central, and he makes no secret about his game.

"I have a little technique, like enough to get me by, but I got a lot of power in there," Bryant said. "Most the time I overpower them."

Bryant had used his style to compile a 23-6 record. Eighteen of his wins are by pin.

"I surprise 'em," Bryant said. "You see a short guy and you like, 'Oh, he's going to be easy.' I grab a hold of them, and they're like, 'Oh no, I don't want this man.'"

He started the season as a backup at heavyweight and was targeted to move down to 220, but when the Tigers' lost their heavyweight wrestler, Bryant moved in.

And when he moves in, he usually takes hold.

It's all part of a strategy for Bryant.

His compact frame doesn't give opponents much to grab at, so he lies in wait.

"They got to get close to me because I'm all short and compact, but when they get close to me, that's when my arms reach. I just grab you, twist you down and just try to go for a pin," Bryant said. "I'm quick. I've been told I wrestle like a lightweight."

Brake said Bryant does not have the traditional heavyweight build.

"He's really strong and he never gets himself out of position," Brake said. "He's really, really hard to get in and score on. In fact, most of his losses have just kind of been what we call rookie mistakes."

Brake said Bryant has progressed quickly and has yet to be pinned, with most of his losses by just a few points.

Reisenbichler's only record blemish came through injury during his most recent match.

He's been ranked No. 1 at his weight the entire season despite coping with a knee injury suffered in early January. He is scheduled to have knee surgery two days after the season -- Monday -- for an injury which he says "comes and goes."

Reisenbichler said he had won about "15 to 20" matches with the injury, but the run ended unexpectedly in the district championship match. Reisenbichler led CBC's Bay Roehr 9-5 and was just 29 seconds away from the district title and a 42-0 record when he called timeout for a third time in the match.

"It kind of locked up twice and I called another injury timeout and I didn't know you couldn't take three," said Reisenbichler, who still had some of his of 90 seconds of total timeout time remaining.

Reisenbichler lost on an injury disqualification, but he was far from distraught.

"It disappointing, but district title wasn't the goal," Reisenbichler said. "State is. I just have to move on from that and get ready for state."

And he hopes to see Roehr, who resides on the opposite side of the bracket, down the road.

"I hope I see him in the state final just because I lost to him and I want to get a little redemption," Reisenbichler said.

Reisenbichler also hopes to see Hickman's Josiah Kline and Park Hills' Sean Hosford, two high-seeded freshmen.

"I've been looking forward to wrestling both of them all season," Reisenbichler said.

He's trying to become the 13th Jackson wrestler to win a state championship.

"All year long he's been ranked No. 1," Wachter said. "If he's healthy, he's hard to beat. I don't know where we're at with the knee injury, but a healthy Jarrett is hard to handle."

Reisenbichler isn't so sure about the health of anyone at this point of the season.

"Probably everybody is beat up with something," Reisenbichler said. "They have to have something wrong with them. You've got to push through it. It's end of the season so just three or four more matches to go. You just do what you got to do."

Reisenbichler has been one part of a successful season for the Indians. Jackson went 10-0 in duals and claimed titles at the SEMO Conference Tournament, Tiger Classic and invitationals at Parkway South and Ritenour.

Jackson's state contingent also includes senior Kodi Byrd (113, 38-4), freshman Jake Byrd (120, 39-6), junior Tyler Rush (138, 41-7), sophomore Clayton Collier (152, 34-9), sophomore Josh Stone (182, 33-9) and junior Clay Darnell (220, 28-5).

Bulldogs take four

The Bulldogs' fourth-year program has four representatives for the second consecutive year in Class 2.

Notre Dame will be represented by sophomore Noah Huff (106, 36-11), junior Aaron Schlosser (132, 7-13), senior Austin Harter (138, 34-16) and junior Joseph Yuede (170, 23-8).

"It an honor," Notre Dame coach Marc Stevener said about going to state. "We put in a pretty good season. The kids wrestled pretty tough competition. We try to wrestle the best just so we get better. We don't have any perfect records, but we've got some kids with some pretty good records. I'm pleased with our performance."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: