Warrenton wrestling brings home five medals from state tournament

By Tim Schmidt, Publisher
Posted 2/29/24

The Warrenton Warriors had five individual state medalists and finished seventh as a team at the MSHAA Missouri state wrestling championship.

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Warrenton wrestling brings home five medals from state tournament


With a program-best nine wrestlers competing in the Missouri Class 3 state championships, Warrenton Coach Clayton Olsson’s squad was putting it all together at the right time of the season.

“You like to see each athlete wrestling their best matches at the end of the season,” he said. “Our performance at districts and at state really showed that our guys were focused and peaking at the right time.”

It ended with a season to remember.

The Warrenton Warriors wound up with five state medalists and placed seventh as a team. The seniors led the way, with Jacob Ruff placing third, Jeremiah Kassing finishing in fourth and Joshua Kassing in fifth. Manny McCauley and Zayden Teson also medaled in fourth and sixth, respectively.

Others competing at state for the Warriors were Noah Lohrmann, Max Teson, Korben Johnson and Elias McPike.

“Our coaching staff is very proud of the way our wrestlers battled in every match,” Olsson said. “There were a couple of matches where things didn’t go our way, but that happens in this sport. Our guys responded well and pushed through adversity.”

None more than Ruff who saw his unbeaten streak snapped in his third match at state. A runner-up a year ago, Ruff had his sights set on a state title at 215 pounds. In the semifinal round, he lost a 6-2 decision to Platte County’s Jake Fernandez.

“That was a devastating loss for him,” Olsson said. “To have his dreams and everything he’s been working for just shattered, and then you have about 30 minutes to get over it and get ready for the next match, it’s the hardest thing to do in sports. He was still very emotional when he had to step out on that mat to continue the tournament.”

Warrenton’s Jacob Ruff, above, wrestles Van Horn’s CJ Nelson in the Class 3 third-place match at 215 pounds Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. Ruff beat Nelson 4-3 to earn a state medal for the second consecutive year.
Warrenton’s Jacob Ruff, above, wrestles Van Horn’s CJ Nelson in the Class 3 third-place match at 215 pounds Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. …

Ruff rebounded with an 8-3 decision over Landen McNeil of Capital City and capped state with a 4-3 decision over C.J. Nelson of Van Horn in the third-place match. Ruff ended his senior year with a 49-1 record.

“Jacob and his senior season is just another example of how successful you can be in this sport if you’re willing to put the work in,” Olsson said. “Jacob and our other seniors, Josh and Jeremiah Kassing, all started wrestling as freshman and over the course of their high school careers they all became great wrestlers and state medalists. It just shows what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.”

The Kassing brothers capped a tremendous prep career as well. Jeremiah Kassing won three of his five matches at 126 pounds, finishing his senior year with a 38-12 record. Following a loss in the semifinal, he defeated Hannibal’s Korbin Howe by a 4-2 decision in the consolation semifinal. In the third-place match, Jeremiah Kassing was pinned in the second period.

“Coming into the tournament he was not ranked in the state standings,” Olsson said. “He was not expected to be a medalist. However, he didn’t let that stop him. In his first match at state he had to wrestle the number four ranked kid from Pacific who had beat him the previous season. He found himself down 5-2 after the first period, but he never quit wrestling and he ended up getting a second period pin that set him up for his state medalist run.”

Joshua Kassing capped his run at state with a 6-4 decision over Fort Zumwalt South’s Cameron Clark in the fifth-place match at 132 pounds. He had split his previous four matches at state. He ended the year with a 42-9 record.

“Last year at the state tournament, he made some questionable strategy decisions that ended up costing him a state medal,” Olsson said. “This year however he wrestled smart and in control every match. He had to wrestle the full 6 minutes every match and he made adjustments to his wrestling style to beat opponents that he had lost to earlier in the year and win some close but crucial matches.”

McCauley earned a fourth-place medal by fighting through a shoulder injury suffered the previous week in districts. Crediting athletic trainer Brent Holtgrewe, Olsson said McCauley spent the week receiving treatment in order to compete.

At state, McCauley (30-4) won three of his five matches at 113 pounds. He lost by medical forfeit in the third-place match.

“Every match he wrestled was not only a battle against his opponent, but also a mental battle dealing with that injury,” Olsson said. “Like a true warrior, he gutted it out match after match and by the end of the tournament his shoulder was shot.”

Zayden Teson became the first freshman in program history to medal at state. He split his six matches, ending the season with a 43-4 record at 106 pounds.

“He had high expectations for himself at the tournament and he suffered an upset loss early on,” Olsson said. “The tournament did not go as he had planned but he kept pushing through and instead of letting the losses break him, he continued to wrestle.”

For the rest of the Warriors competing at state, it was a learning experience. Making his second appearance at state, Lohrmann won two of his four matches at 138 pounds, while Max Teson (144), Johnson (165) and McPike (285) were eliminated after losing their first two bouts.

“Wrestling at state is a valuable experience that they can take into next season and they can learn and see what areas they really need to improve on,” Olsson said.

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