Warrenton Duo Medals at State

By Derrick Forsythe, Record Sports Editor
Posted 11/7/19

Coach Kevin Fowler believes it's best to put last weekend's MSHSAA Championships in perspective. Two of his Warrenton wrestlers returned home with medals. When you consider the Warriors had just six …

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Warrenton Duo Medals at State


Coach Kevin Fowler believes it's best to put last weekend's MSHSAA Championships in perspective. Two of his Warrenton wrestlers returned home with medals. When you consider the Warriors had just six or seven grapplers to fill an inexperienced varsity lineup for much of the season, it seems a reasonable accomplishment. Furthermore, it appeared junior J.J. Filipek might not even be cleared to compete in the event after taking a hit to the face at the district tournament less than a week earlier. He had just returned from a knee injury which had limited his conditioning over a three-week period. But Filipek refused to be denied, finishing third in the 182-pound class on Saturday. He defeated Webb City's Nick Lovejoy, who was also his quarterfinal opponent, with a 4-0 decision in the third-place match. Junior Ryan Sherry joined Filipek on the medal stand, taking sixth in the 113-pound division. He battled his way back through the wrestleback rounds after losing his opening match. "I think everybody met their goals," asserted Fowler. Filipek, who already had his knee wrapped from a previous injury, wore a protective mask throughout the tournament to avoid further damage to an eye injury incurred at districts. Having to default at districts dropped him to a No. 2 seed and put him in the more competitive side of the bracket, but Fowler believes Filipek made the most of his circumstance. "I'm sure he's a little disappointed, because he doesn't train to fall short of a state title," said Fowler. "But when you consider that he hadn't seen much live action in three weeks, and he was battling a pair of injuries, you've got to be pretty satisfied." Filipek opened the tournament with a 17-5 major decision over Liberty North's Connor Braughton. He followed with an 11-1 major decision in the quarterfinal over Lovejoy, who had upset a No. 1 seed in the first round. Filipek locked horns with No. 1 ranked and eventual champion Jonathon Inman in the semifinal, getting caught and pinned late in the first period. "Both of them were in some pretty dangerous positions several times," said Fowler. "J.J. had a few opportunities to turn him too." "I thought my chances were pretty good, but all that scrambling really caught up to me," said Filipek. "My lack of conditioning didn't help." Burdened by the letdown of the not reaching the title match, Filipek says his coach helped him stay motivated. "Coach told me it takes a bigger man to overcome his disappointment and fight back for third place," said Filipek. "I just tried to keep that thought in my head. Trying diligently to block out the emotion, Filipek dispatched Willard's Garrett Fletchall with an 8-3 decision on Saturday morning to advance to the third-place match. He says locking horns with Lovejoy a second time proved more challenging. "I wasn't going to take it easy just because I had beaten him pretty good the first time," said Filipek. "He knew what I could do, so I tried to work my moves to perfection." Sherry was content to medal, but his tournament finished in somewhat disappointing fashion. He was forced out of action during his final wrestleback after suffering a knee injury against Warrensburg's Malacai Collins. He defaulted to the fifth-place match but opted to forgo the contest to avoid further complicating the injury. "I could have really hurt myself and had to have surgery, but it was just minor, so I got lucky," said Sherry. Sherry says he had come into tournament conscious of the fact his weight class was one of the most challenging in the state. After a letdown at districts, he entered the state meet as a fourth seed, aware he might have to take the long road to the medal stand. "They said 113 was probably the toughest weight in all the classes," said Sherry. "We had seven returning medalists coming back, and I moved up a weight. Probably nobody thought I'd medal again from last year, but I proved them wrong and did it." "With such a tough weight, somebody who medaled the year before was going to be left out," acknowledged. "Fortunately, Ryan was able to avoid being that guy." He opened with a 9-3 loss to Webb City's Cody Jolly, immediately ending up in the wrestleback rounds. "I was trying to win that first match, because then I've have a pretty good road to the semis," said Sherry. "I should have stayed on my feet with Jolly. I tried to wrestle him on the mat, and it costs me." Sherry beat his first two opponents by decision, before escaping an intense bubble match that could have landed him one win short of a medal. He held off St. Charles West's Jared Edwards with a 4-3 decision in overtime. Saturday's match didn't bring the ending he had anticipated, as Sherry would have liked to the opportunity to finish his match against Collins in healthy form.