BRANSON MO NEWS: By Pat Dailey (For OzarkSportsZone.com)
BRANSON — The prospect of a terrific trio of 106-pounders each ranked No. 1 statewide gave the mighty mites top billing entering the Branson Invitational Saturday.
Alas, only two of the top-ranked wrestlers, as pegged by MissouriWrestling.com, competed at 106. But the final between Neosho’s Cayden Auch and Seneca’s Levi Connelly lived up to the hype.
Auch (32-2), ranked No. 1 in Class 3, eked out a 7-6 win versus Connelly (27-3), ranked No. 1 in Class 1. Monett’s Joseph Semerad (36-3), ranked No. 1 in Class 2, was a late scratch at 106 and instead competed at 113.
“I was texting a friend of mine last night and he said (Semerad) had been bumped up,” Auch said. “I was disappointed because I wanted to get a match in with him. But I’ll get one against him in our dual with them. I still knew it was going to be a hard-fought match with everyone I faced.”
Points were plentiful for Auch and Connelly in an action-packed match.
“I got a spladle, but he kind of rolled out of it and caught me on my back,” Auch said. “I got out of it and was telling myself, ‘This is still my match.’”
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Only a freshman, Auch appears on his way to fulfilling hopes he can make history at Neosho. He first caught fans’ notice by winning a Winter Nationals championship as a seventh-grader.
“My goal is to be Neosho’s first four-timer,” Auch said, going on to confirm he’s referring to being a four-time state champion. “Our coach knows that and he’s been pushing me in the practice room because he wants me to be a four-timer.”
Auch was one of five Neosho champions Saturday, as the Wildcats rolled to the …
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