Four Jays move into tourney semifinals

Without three of their normal starters, there was a lot of uncertainty for the Jays heading into the district tournament.

It wasn’t the best-case scenario Jefferson City had hoped for, but four Jays advanced to the semifinals of the Class 4 District 3 Tournament on Friday at Fleming Fieldhouse.

Moving on for the Jays are Corbin Howard at 113 pounds, Logan Moriarity at 120, Rodney Webbe at 145 and John Carter at 285.

“Those are four kids we are dependent on that we thought had a chance,” Jefferson City wrestling coach Phil Cagle said.

The four who helped Jefferson City reach the semifinals put Jefferson City in eighth place after the first day.

Ty Archer (138), Alex Bise (132), Colby Blatz (126), Jalen Martin (152), D.J. Jones (160), Tekoah Sage (170), Isaac Templeton (182), Zach Eggen (195) and Garrett Tucker (220) are still alive in wrestlebacks and could reach the third-place match.

Carter, the No. 2 seed at 285, made quick work of Connor Berry of Raymore-Peculiar, pinning him in less than one minute.

That sets up an interesting semifinal matchup today at 285. Carter takes on Jacob Semple from Waynesville. If Carter wins, it likely sets up a matchup with Hickman’s J’Den Cox in the title match. Cox, who won the state title at 220 last year, is wrestling up a weight class this year. Cox defeated Carter earlier this season.

“If John can get into the championship, it could be a good match,” Cagle said. “The Semple kid from Waynesville he’s meeting in the semifinals is ranked ahead of John. He’s been wrestling well. That’s going to be a good matchup unless someone catches somebody, and that can happen with big guys.”

Moriarity, a freshman, picked up a victory by tech fall against Samuel Byrd of Northwest before defeating Ross Zuber of Raymore-Peculiar.

“He’s the No. 1 seed and there are some really quality kids in that weight class,” Cagle said. “For him to finish No. 1, he’s going to have to keep wrestling. He’s just a very tenacious kid. He’s very focused, he’s very goal-oriented.”

After a bye in his first round, Howard picked up a second-period pin against Cody Wood of Raymore-Peculiar. After a bye in his first round, Webbe picked up a pin in less than a minute against Eureka’s Matthew Yancey.

The four in the semifinals need just one win to advance to the state tournament.

Even without a full squad due to late-season issues, Cagle had hoped to be in a little better position.

“Coming into this if everything went right we were looking at maybe six, maybe six,” Cagle said. “Right now we’re looking at four kids that have a great chance to do it. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, 24 hours can change a lot of things.”

Waynesville is in first place with 48 points. Eureka is second with 40 points while Nixa is third with 39 points.

Action resumes at 10 a.m. today. The top four in each weight class advance to the state tournament which begins Thursday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.

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