Jefferson City, MO 79° View Live Radar Sat H 84° L 69° Sun H 84° L 69° Mon H 85° L 72° Weather Sponsored By:

Careaga takes second in Class 3 at 152, Helias finishes 10th as team at state

Careaga takes second in Class 3 at 152, Helias finishes 10th as team at state

February 17th, 2019 by Tom Rackers in Sports Prep

Jackson Careaga of Helias holds on to Sam Frankowski of Rockwood Summit during Saturday's 152-pound title match in the Class 3 state wrestling championships at Mizzou Arena.

Photo by Jenna Kieser /News Tribune.

COLUMBIA — Jackson Careaga knew exactly what he faced heading into his championship match.

Careaga, a Helias junior, met Rockwood Summit senior Sam Frankowski for the title at 152 pounds Saturday night in the Class 3 state championships.

Frankowski made a name for himself as a two-time defending state champion. And prior to Saturday night's meeting at Mizzou Arena, the two had wrestled twice this season, with Frankowski winning both.

But it goes back further than that.

"We're old friends, we were practice partners at Purler Wrestling Academy," Careaga said.

Frankowski made it 3-for-3 this season against his old practice partner, claiming his third straight state title with a 9-1 victory against Careaga.

"I knew he was going to go hard as a senior, I wanted to slow down the match and hopefully try to do something at the end to get the win," Careaga said.

Frankowski (49-1) got a takedown and nearfall points in the opening minute of the match to take a 4-0 lead. He added to that lead with an escape point early in the second period before getting another takedown and nearfall points to stretch his advantage to 9-0 heading to the third period.

"Jackson just never seemed to get going, but (Frankowski) had something to do with that," Helias coach Weston Keleher said. "We just have a hard time getting our offense going against him."

Careaga got on the scoreboard with an escape in the final seconds to make it 9-1.

"It mattered because I really wanted to score on him," Careaga said. "He's respected by everyone, but I wanted to show that he can be scored on."

Only giving up two takedowns was important to Careaga.

"I didn't let him score as much in neutral as I had in the past," he said. "I've been working on some things to do better there and I think it showed."

Careaga (46-7) is a three-time state qualifier and two-time medalist after taking sixth at 152 last year.

"It's been a better season than I expected," he said.

Careaga is one of three Crusaders to medal at the championships.

"Everybody wrestled really well, everybody just lost some tough matches along the way either Friday or (Saturday)," Keleher said.

Evan Winder (31-6) closed his senior season with his fourth state medal, taking fifth at 132. After dropping a 3-0 decision Saturday morning in the fourth round of wrestlebacks, Winder ended his Helias career with a win by fall in 2:04 against Kolton Sanders of Neosho in the fifth-place match.

"Evan went out with a bang," Keleher said.

Aleksey Salaz (37-9) finished fifth at 126 for the Crusaders.

"We wanted to end the season with wins and that's what Aleksey and Evan did," Keleher said.

Salaz, a junior making his first state appearance, fell 2-0 in the fourth round of wrestlebacks Saturday before defeating James Short of Hillsboro 6-4 in the fifth-place match.

"It was a great tournament for his first time here," Keleher said. "He settled down pretty quickly and had himself a nice tournament."

Helias finished 10th in the final team standings with 59 points, its best placement in several years. But Keleher was torn when talking about whether it was a good tournament for the Crusaders.

"Yes, no," Keleher said. "We came here to place all five kids, we placed three. So the mission wasn't totally accomplished.

"But we're going to build off this."

Gavin Adams at 106 and Dustin Luebbert at 160 both finished one win short of earning a medal for Helias.

"Everybody wrestled really well, everybody just lost some tough matches along the way either Friday or (Saturday)," Keleher said.

Neosho won the Class 3 team title with 141.5 points, four better than runner-up Kearney. Smithville (114) and Pacific (91) rounded out the team trophy winners.