Marshall, Mo. – The St. Catharine wrestling team was in action on Friday and Saturday when they traveled to Marshall, Mo. to compete in the prestigious Missouri Valley Invitational, a tournament that featured the top wrestling programs from the NAIA and NCAA Division-II levels.
“I was really pleased with the way the guys fought and battled back in the second day,” noted head coach Spencer Adams. “In the first day we had some tough draws against some of the top competition in the event.”
The Patriots were led by their duo who are ranked in their respective weight classes, BJ Carman (New Haven, Ky.) ranked 15th in 197 and Mario Bell (Dayton, Ohio) is currently ranked 16th at 285. Carman turned in a fifth place finish and Bell posted a fourth place finish.
Carman lost his opening match, but then he caught fire winning his next four matches before losing to the third ranked wrestler, Donavan Fouchy of Missouri Valley. He finished the tournament off with a victory over ninth ranked Andrew Mahone of Missouri Baptist. During his run of four straight victories, Carman posted victories over No. 12 and No. 11 ranked wrestlers in 197.
Bell made it to the semifinals with a pair of byes before falling to No. 11 Tyler Smith of Cumberland (Tenn.). He then moved to the consolation bracket where he made it to the third place match after posting a 5-4 decision victory. Bell took fourth place after he dropped his final match to third-ranked Dean Broghammer of Grand View.
Deaken McCoy (Galion, Ohio) joined Bell as the other Patriot to place at 285. McCoy, like Carman, lost his opening match, but bounced back in the consolation round. He defeated No. 14 Roger Moe of Williams Baptist (Ark.) and No. 10 Justin Smith of Missouri Valley en route to a sixth place finish.
In the 141 weight class, freshman Gage Branson (Cincinnati, Ohio), joined the other Patriots with a fifth place showing. Branson made it to the quarterfinals after pinning the fourth ranked wrestler, Matthew Miller of Indiana Tech. He dropped his next two matches, but finished on a high note with a fifth place finish.
Freshman, Andy Dobben (Barberton, Ohio) had a strong showing in 157 with a fourth place finish. Dobben didn’t get the start he was looking for to open the tournament, but got on a roll in the consolation round, where he reeled off six straight victories including a pin over No. 13 Matthew Behr of Missouri Baptist.
The final Patriot grappler to place was the lone senior on the squad, Shelby Floyd (Upton, Ky.). He received a bye then scored a 5-4 decision victory to move to the third round. Floyd fell in his third round match, but then made a move in the consolation round. He pinned seventh-ranked Orlando Nawade of Cumberland. He would fall in his next two matches, but he finished with an eight place finish.
“Overall I am very pleased with the effort the guys gave this weekend,” said Adams. “Even though we were the youngest team in the event we went toe-to-toe with some of the top talent in the NAIA and NCAA D-II levels.”
The Patriots as a team finished in seventh place with 96 team points. Even with their youth they finished ahead of the No. 7, No. 8, No. 12, No. 16 and No. 18 ranked teams in the NAIA.
Adams noted, “Even though I am satisfied with the showing at Missouri Valley, there is still room for improvement. The guys have been working hard and their getting better each and every time they take the mat.”