By Ryan Storz
It was only a decade ago that Sullivan’s program — still in its early days — would send a few wrestlers to state and the season deemed a success.
But for the fifth straight year, the Eagles will send nearly half their team to the next level. Six wrestlers qualified for the Class 2 tournament in Columbia this weekend after competing at the District 1 tournament in Ste. Genevieve.
Freshman Kobie Blankenship, sophomore Ian Kilburn and senior Dalton Ward took third; while freshman Evan Shetley, junior Brendan Labbee and senior Kale Dudley took fourth to advance.
As a team, the Eagles finished sixth.
Labbee (106) had a first-round bye and pinned Adom Yisrael from Lift for Life in the quarterfinal. He lost to Dexter’s Travis Waldner by major decision and pinned St. James’ Kaylynn Crocker in wrestlebacks. Ste. Genevieves Jacob Dickens won a 9-4 decision against Labbee in the third-place match.
Blankenship (132) pinned Lift for Life’s Joseph Graham, then Affton’s Conner Westermayer. He lost a 6-3 decision to Ste. Genevieve’s Grant Staffen, but pinned Central’s Blake Bolin in wrestlebacks. In the third-place match, he pinned Kennett’s Darrell Malone.
Dudley (145) had a first-round bye and won an 8-2 against Dexter’s Wyatt Chastain.
Ste. Genevieve’s Jared Humboldt pinned Dudley, but Dudley won an 8-4 decision against Potosi’s Austin Harris. In the third-place match, he lost a 6-1 decision to Owensville’s Blaine Schoenfeld.
Shetley (152) pinned Ste. Genevive’s Ty Brown, but lost a 7-4 decision to Owensville’s Cooper Bombach in the semifinal.
He came back with a win against Borgia’s Dominic Dolce in the consolation semifinal. Cape Notre Dame’s Bruce Ha pinned him in the third-place match.
Kilburn (160) pinned Ste. Genevieve’s Josh Schmidt in quarterfinals, but lost a 13-6 decision to Owensville’s Tanner Rector.
He came back with a 6-2 decision over Potosi’s Cale Short and pinned Affton’s Michael Moran in the third-place match.
Ward (170) pinned Owensville’s Colton Moore, but lost a 7-3 decision to St. James’ Nick Wilson in the semifinal.
He pinned Affton’s Jadon Harrison and beat Moore again in the third-place match with a 9-2 decision.